The Mill Mountain Zoo is a zoo located atop Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia.Originally opening in 1952, the zoo was operated by the City of Roanoke for its first 24 years. In 1976, the city turned its operation over to the Roanoke Jaycees.The Jaycees operated the zoo until 1988 when its operation was handed over to the non-profit Blue Ridge Zoological Society (BRZS). The BRZS today still serves as the operator and fund-raising mechanism for the zoo and its operations.The zoo has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1995.
Additions since 2008:
Attractions and notable animals:
- New Holding/Quarantine Building (houses new animals and the aviary birds during the winter-not accessible to the public.
- New Animal Clinic-not accessible to the public.
- Red Wolf Exhibit.
- Eurasian Black Vulture Exhibit.
- Black Tufted Marmoset Exhibit (Burmese Pythons were moved into the Reptile House).
- Canadian Lynx Exhibit (where Red Tailed Hawks were).
- Interactive Aviary.
- Reptile House.
The following are some of the more notable animals to be housed at the zoo:
- Frump Frump - Was an African elephant donated to the zoo from a passing circus in 1970. Although she would die just a few months after being placed in the zoo, a record 107,000 visitors passed through the zoo, with many making the trip specifically to see her.
- Ruby - Was a Siberian tiger. She was donated to the zoo by law enforcement officers, who found her being kept illegally as a pet in Danville, Virginia. Ruby was at the zoo from November 1988 until her death on December 10, 2006.
- Oops - is a Japanese macaque who escaped her cage in July 2006. Her escape was covered nationwide in news stories before she was recaptured a week later
- Zoo Choo - Opening with the zoo's opening in 1952, it originally consisted of a gas-powered Model G-16 miniature train engine, two passenger cars and an observation car.The train would operate continuously at the zoo except between 1994–1996 and 2002. In 2007, it was relocated to the Virginia Museum Of Transportation.The zoo replaced the engine with another G-16 miniature train engine in August 2008.
The zoo is host to 85 animals and 35 different species, including two species on the endangered list, the Red Panda, and Snow Leopard.It is constantly undergoing new changes with a variety of species being added including the opening of an interactive aviary in 2008 and a reptile house in 2009.