Traveling the two Virginias: Fort Chiswell Animal Park - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Traveling the two Virginias: Fort Chiswell Animal Park

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The animals at Fort Chiswell Animal Park are eager to greet you, which may have a little something to do with that tasty treat in your hand.

The animals here are defiantly not shy and it's that kind of interaction that makes this zoo different than most.  Here the animals roam freely throughout 45 acres.

Heidi Crosky, an official at Fort Chiswell Animal Park said, "We have about two miles of road, and you have a tour guide on each bus, they tell you about the animals throughout the ride and then they stop so you can feed them. We have very social animals! We've removed the glass from the windows, so they come right up and stick their heads in the windows so you can feed them. It's about 45 minutes of hands on interaction"

The animal park opened in 2004, touring with just a tractor and a trailer. Now three buses are used to get visitors up close and personal with the wildlife.  When the bus tour ends, there is also a petting zoo.  That will be the main attraction during a new free event called "Christmas at the Zoo."  "This is the first year we've ever done this, and we are going to do a free petting zoo, we are going to have free hot beverages and ten percent off at the gift shop," adds Crosky.

Heidi estimates that the zoo saw about 20,000 visitors this year.

"We've had a wonderful season we really appreciate everyone coming out and supporting the animals this year, and so this is just our way of saying thank you."

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