The zoo in Reston, formerly known as the Reston Zoo and Roer’s Zoofari, will reopen under new management this month as NOVA Wild. To celebrate the grand opening, NOVA Wild partnered with Lumagica to host the Great Migration Light Show, a display of over display of 800,000 LED lights spread throughout the zoo.
Starting February 17, visitors can tour the 10 unique light displays, representing wildlife migrations from around the world. The drive-thru safari will open Saturday, February 11.
The new owner of the zoo, Tara Campbell-Lussier, is a real estate agent and an entrepreneur who grew up in Reston.
“I grew up in this town, and we all visited the Reston Zoo when we were kids,” Campbell Lussier said. “I’m excited to give local families the chance to experience wildlife firsthand, and we’re modernizing the property to create an optimal experience, both for our visitors and the animals that live here.”
Under previous ownership, the zoo came under scrutiny for mistreatment of the animals. In 2017, Meghan Mogensen, the former director of what was then the Reston Zoo, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in connection to the drowning of an injured wallaby. The zoo then changed hands and was rebranded as Roer’s Zoofari. In 2021, two giraffes were killed in a barn fire at Roer’s, prompting a petition calling for the zoo to close.
The new owners have “prioritized animal welfare, education, and conservation,” according to a news release from NOVA Wild. The zoo is now accredited by the Zoological Association of America and American Humane. The staff will “provide animals with enrichment opportunities that keep them healthy, active, and engaged,” the release said.
In addition to being able to tour the grounds by foot or the drive-thru safari, the zoo expects to offer talks with zookeepers and opportunities for visitors to feed the animals.
The light show will be open 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays from February 17 to April 9, plus every day from April 3 to 7 for spring break.
Tickets for the light show cost $24 for general admission for children 3 to 12 and general admission for everyone else is $35. Parking will cost $10. The zoo also offers packages for families.
Feature image courtesy NOVA Wild
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