Mill Mountain Zoo Celebrates 70th Anniversary With Community Zoobilee

ROANOKE, Va. – You can spend your Saturday hanging out with wild animals at the Mill Mountain Zoo to help them celebrate their 70th birthday.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 9, the zoo will host a giant birthday party to celebrate.

There will be a bouncy castle and carnival games all day at the zoo, and everyone who comes to the celebration can enjoy a free piece of birthday cake at the Bali Bistro.

A magician will perform and Delicia’s gourmet ice cream will also sell its sweets. The first 150 people through the door will receive a pass for a free ice cream sample.

Niki Voudren, executive director of Mill Mountain Zoo, said she was thrilled to celebrate this milestone and continue the zoo’s mission to help animals and provide them with the best care.

“Platinum Zoobilee is our 70th anniversary celebration as a beautiful, iconic mountaintop zoo,” Voudren said. “It’s a very kid-friendly event. We’ll have ice cream, free birthday cake, games, all kinds of crafts, and lots of fun, chatting with the caretakers. All the fun things you expect at a kids event.

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If you’re looking for a more “adult” way to celebrate this big anniversary, Mill Mountain Zoo will host Zoo Doo: An Evening with Local Food Vendors, Wine and Unique Surprises.

These celebrations also come with some improvements to the zoo.

Over the past few months, zoo staff have painted all the buildings to match their new color and branding. They soften the color palette to blend in more.

Staff are also preparing to renovate the Reptile and Python House, which is expected to be completed in the fall.

Also in the fall, Mill Mountain Zoo is launching a new play area in partnership with Carillion Children’s Hospital, to be called Carillion Children’s Curiosity Corner.

Emily Moore, an education associate, said everyone at the zoo is happy with the changes to come.

“We’re a small zoo, so it’s really nice to see all these things that we’ve wanted for so long to start falling into place,” Moore said. “It’s really exciting because we all love the zoo so much and we want to see this progress happen.”

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Not only that, but the zoo also completes a fun new addition, Zoo Choo!

Zoo Choo! has been painted, the engine installed and the brakes and hydraulics replaced, but zoo staff said they still have work to do on the tracks and tunnel.

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Sam D. Gomez