Despite their proximity and family connections, the two facilities are operated separately. Natural Bridge Zoo’s licenses were suspended in 2007, in part because two 400-pound Asiatic bears escaped after a keeper left a latch undone — and one crashed through the window of a nearby home. [The zoos that have put people and animals at risk]. Inspectors allege that animals went unfed and without water, were kept in the dark and in filth, and had serious injuries and wounds that were left untreated. When you want to settle in and find a place to stay, check out some of the hotels and other accommodations that Expedia offers in the area. is under investigation, has charges pending, or has paid hefty fines,” said Lisa Wathne, captive wildlife manager for the Humane Society of the United States. … This 180-acre property is comprised of a drive-thru safari, walk-thru village, gift shop and cafe. Over the past decade, more than 80 animals have died, been injured or become ill because of neglect at the zoos, and more than 200 others were kept in inhumane conditions, according to hundreds of pages of federal inspection reports, interviews with keepers and court documents. Sheva died soon after at just 10 months. Keepers treated the porcupine with medicinal fluids that were past their expiration date. Featuring on-site dining and free Wi-Fi access, Budget Inn Natural Bridge is located in Red Mills. The heads of the Oakland and Detroit zoos reviewed The Washington Post’s findings and said they were troubling. Mogensen’s daughter did not respond to requests for comment. “We host well over 100,000 people a year, and are proud to be a fixture of Fairfax County.”. On at least four occasions, animals have escaped from their pens at small Maryland and Virginia zoos over the past decade, sometimes wreaking havoc. At one point, Karl Mogensen’s daughter is seen holding the monkey by the tail, as it flails wildly and knocks things over. Virginia Safari Park is located in a welcoming area of Natural Bridge known for its array of dining options and interesting historical sites. The plea came too late. Plumstead said he had made mistakes in hiring staff to run the zoo. Animal welfare groups said the case highlights deficiencies with the regulatory system: Federal authorities are too slow to act, and penalties are too few and not severe enough to deter repeat offenses. Eric Mogensen is the CEO of Zoofari Parks, which owns and operates three amazing zoological parks in the eastern U.S. With a focus on conservation through education and animal welfare, Eric Mogensen has dedicated his life to the care of animals around the world. With over 200 major and minor improvements, the Gulf Breeze Zoo has transformed to provide the best possible habitats for the animals that live there. After attending Virginia Tech, he was hired as the Curator of Animals at Benson’s Animal Park in Hudson, NH. Under federal law, inspectors with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspect zoos, circuses, animal sanctuaries and other facilities that display animals to the public. In addition to the Reston Zoo, Eric Mogensen owns Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Va., about two hours from Reston, and his father, Karl, owns the neighboring Natural Bridge Zoo. Mogensen has dedicated his life to animal welfare. 90% off (7 days ago) Virginia Safari Park - Natural Bridge, VA - Groupon. A necropsy found plastic in her stomach and calluses from rib fractures. Gregory managed to herd the cats into an outdoor pen, a dangerous task. The family has consistently disputed the allegations. If inspectors uncover a problem, the zoo is given a warning and a certain time frame to comply. But as she was working, Diego opened the sliding door that separated them. Alabama Safari Park, a 350 acre safari park, is the most recent park built by Eric Mogensen and works to provide animals with as natural a habitat as possible for the 400 animals living there. “We were reading books and going on the Internet to try to figure out what to do.”. “We are not the prettiest zoo,” Candy said. Kids seem to enjoy the safari rides and the petting barn. Small zoos are a world away from such big-name institutions as the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Candy said his resources go into caring for animals that are abandoned. - See 1,533 traveler reviews, 1,858 candid photos, and great deals for Natural Bridge, VA, at Tripadvisor. “Most of the USDA citations were a direct result of employees who were then terminated after the fact,” Mogensen wrote. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post), Patrons Lauren Tangney, 21, left, Sarah Larkworthy feed parakeets at the Reston Zoo in Reston, Va. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post), A Burmese python on display at the Reston Zoo in Reston, Va. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post). COUPON (7 days ago) Virginia Safari Park, Savings and Zoo Park Description for 2020 Virginia Safari Park is a drive-thru zoo located in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Here animals can be fed with your own hands or with the help of a feeding stick. In addition to the Reston Zoo, Eric Mogensen owns Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Va., about two hours from Reston, and his father, Karl, owns the neighboring Natural Bridge Zoo. The state briefly shut down the zoo this spring. It offers visitors the best experience in the city and around the park. The inspections followed an undercover investigation by the Humane Society. They allow all customers to purchase tickets, visit, observe, and enjoy the animals without encountering anyone but the one person taking admissions. Cheyenne is one of five big cats living in the enclosure. The zoo agreed to provide animals with the most basic of care: adequate food, water and shelter. The Mogensens are the area’s largest operator of small zoos, responsible for the care of hundreds of animals. Virginia Safari Park Coupons & Codes for 2020. A federal inspector, who was looking on, later reported that children had reached through the bars and petted the young tigers. Mogensen’s parks are currently visited by over 500,000 guests annually, allowing him to provide grants and funding to conservation projects, work with partnered charities and animal welfare associations, and give back to the community itself. CEO/Corporate Director at Virginia Safari Park Natural Bridge, Virginia 19 connections. An inspector faulted Gregory and the zoo, saying that she had failed to secure the door but that an experienced keeper should have been supervising the new hire as required by law. Before the acquisition in 2009, the Gulf Breeze Zoo, then known as Zoo Northwest Florida, had been hit by an economic downturn and faced the damages of Hurricane Ivan, resulting in a permanent closure. The care provided to Sheva and other animals was poor, the zoo’s owner, Ed Plumstead, acknowledged in a documentary. “Investigations often take years to wend their way through the legal process, and in the meantime, licenses are automatically renewed every year as long as the licensee sends in a renewal fee — even if the facility . A zoo volunteer later disputed that the children had contact with the tigers, and Candy told a judge that the inspector had misinterpreted what he said, that he meant closer interaction with the tigers, not touching them. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post), Zebra and Canada geese graze at the Reston Zoo in Reston, Va. (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post), Bears pace in their cage at Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Md. We went to the Virginia Safari Park at Natural Bridge for Mothers Day 2017. The tiger had ready access to human medications and a trash can in the home, was fed the wrong diet and received inadequate veterinary care, reports show. Or purchase a subscription for unlimited access to real news you can count on. Alleged violations were documented by inspectors with the U.S. Agriculture Department as recently as this summer. Virginia Safari Park is the original safari park built by Mogensen. The federal complaint alleges that keepers placed an African crested porcupine, native to a warm climate, outside as the temperature plummeted to 8 degrees one day in January 2014. Virginia Safari Park also features walk-through exhibits, including Tiger Territory, Penguin Plunge, the Australian Walk-About, Giraffe Feeding Overlook, free-flight bird aviary, and more. The ensuing encounter, in January 2009, was one of a series of incidents that allegedly put workers and visitors at local zoos in harm’s way or created potentially dangerous situations. The testimony helped secure Meghan Mogensen’s conviction for animal cruelty, and a federal administrative complaint filed by the USDA this summer alleges that it was just one of a constellation of problems at small zoos run by the family. Deborah Gregory had only recently started working at Catoctin Zoo in Frederick County, Md., when she was tasked with cleaning the dens of Diego and Evita, the zoo’s jaguars. That zoo is owned and operated by Karl Mogensen, whose son, Eric, owns the Virginia Safari Park. Mogensen is committed to conservation and works to champion the wildlife concerns of today. It said APHIS was “not aggressively” pursuing violators in the eastern half of the United States. “But our main goal is to rescue animals.”, Reporter covering courts, policing and technology, Bones discovered on a Pacific island belong to Amelia Earhart, a new forensic analysis claims, Rare ‘double planet’ conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter to land on winter solstice, ‘Transformational’: MacKenzie Scott’s gifts to HBCUs, other colleges surpass $800 million, How frigid air contributed to record snowfall with Northeast storm, Hogan issues order requiring negative coronavirus test or self-quarantine after out-of-state travel, Cheyenne, a Siberian tiger, romps in an old swimming pool at Tri-State Zoological Park in Cumberland, Md. Inspectors check whether zoos are complying with the Animal Welfare Act, which provides minimal standards for the care of animals. Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, who owns Myrtle Beach Safari, ... owner of Wilson’s Wild Animal Park in Winchester, Virginia. Rood said in an interview that keepers with little or no relevant experience were asked to care for sick animals — and even manage births. There are 97 inspectors for about 7,500 facilities across the country, according to APHIS. Our drive-through wildlife parks, located in VA (Virginia Safari Park) and ALA (Alabama Safari Park), are much different. Virginia Safari Park is the original safari park built by Mogensen. Rood said she leapt into a nearby dumpster and ripped open a trash bag. He did not respond to requests for comments. Federal laws have been enacted and zoo inspectors employed to curb such neglect, but the citations issued to Plumpton Park Zoo, in Rising Sun, carried no immediate penalties and were largely ignored, a volunteer said in e-mails sent to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Mogensen is the CEO of Zoofari Parks, which consists of the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida, Virginia Safari Park, and the Alabama Safari Park. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post), A duck cools off in a portable pool at Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Md. Some tigers are kept in old swimming pools. Address: 229 Safari Ln, Natural Bridge, VA 24578 Phone: (540) 291-3205 The 180-acre park is home to more than 1,000 exotic animals from six … The Animal Care Unit (AC) “has expanded the range of tools it uses to promote compliance with the [Animal Welfare Act] — including collaborative efforts with regulated entities,” Ed Curtlett, director of public affairs wrote in an e-mail. Bhagavan “Doc” Antle, the owner of Myrtle Beach Safari, who appears on the show, is accused of trafficking lion cubs between Virginia and South Carolina. Unfortunately, with the recent legal issues and press coverage surrounding the Natural Bridge Zoo we have found it necessary to post this clarification. Parmesan had been drowned. “It’s not surprising at all,” Kagan said. Virginia Safari Park, Natural Bridge: Hours, Address, Virginia Safari Park Reviews: 4.5/5 The new owners did not respond to requests for comment. The figure rebounded to 91 in 2013, fell to 53 in 2014 and climbed back to 111 through the first half of 2015. Virginia Safari Park is just 4 minutes’ drive from the motel. In addition, federal inspectors also have found 12 broken or poorly constructed enclosures for lions, tigers and other dangerous animals; some have gone unrepaired for years. Eric Mogensen’s professional experience working with animals started when he was just a child, working to help care for the animals on the family-run zoo he grew up on. Natural Bridge Zoo is owned by Karl Mogensen, while Virginia Safari Park is owned by Eric Mogensen. On top of conservation efforts and partnerships, Eric Mogensen incorporates giving back to the community. Mogensen’s parks have provided grant funding to: These conservation programs work to support rhinoceros and elephant anti-poaching units and improve the genetic pool of species in order to boost population numbers, rebuild forests, food sources and nests for animals seeking territory, and provide funding for organizations to rescue and rehabilitate animals in their natural environment, among many other programs. The park is located just outside of Lexington, on a gorgeous 180-acre farm where the animals can roam free. Two years earlier, the complaint alleges, the zoo waited about two weeks to get veterinary treatment for a spider monkey suffering from frostbite, despite lesions covering Jethro’s hands and feet. It features the Safari drive-thru where visitors can just drive their cars and observe free roaming animals. Lion Country Safari is a drive-through safari park and walk-through amusement park located on over 600 acres in Loxahatchee (near West Palm Beach), in Palm Beach County, Florida.Founded in 1967, it claims to be the first 'cageless zoo' in the United States.. Between Sheva’s death and the complaint’s resolution, the zoo was sold and violations were found under the new owners. The audit found the number of suspected violators referred for enforcement in the region dropped from 209 in 2002 to 82 in 2004. Inspectors played Karl Mogensen a video, shot by the Humane Society investigator, that shows keepers jabbing a De Brazza’s monkey with sticks and joking, as they transfer it between cages, according to an inspector’s report. Mogensen is also a long time supporter of the United States Marine Corps charity, Toys for Tots, which collects and distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. It features a 3-mile road where you can feed and see exotic animals free roaming and up close, without barriers. Every year, over 200 coats are donated, and to date, over 3,000 coats have been provided to local children in need. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post), A bear in its cage at Plumpton Park Zoo in Rising Sun, Md. See and feed over 1,200 free roaming animals out of your car window on a 180-acre preserve. 90% off Offer Details: groupon virginia safari park: 6 Coupons and 33 Deals. He died hours later. At Tri-State Zoological Park in Cumberland, Md., enclosures for lions and tigers were so poorly constructed that an inspector concluded in 2006 that the “animals could easily enter the visitor area at this time.” The problem persisted for five years. Documents also report safety lapses — including decrepit cages and animal escapes — that placed workers and visitors at risk. The phone number is located on the park… All three zoos have been cited by federal regulators and criticized by animal welfare groups in recent years and past decades. Hahn said the zoo had given Gregory adequate preparation for the job. Visit Site; V irginia's largest, and only drive-thru zoo! This program uses park profits to buy new coats for at-risk kids in the area to ensure no child goes without one in the winter. Due to strong efforts from the previous owner and Mogensen, the animals were able to stay comfortably in their own homes until it was officially purchased, renovated and rebranded to great success. An administrative law judge found in 2013 that Tri-State had failed to operate safely when a tour guide led a group right up to the enclosures of three tigers and a lion. Reston Zoo has 30 acres of attractions, typical of small zoos in the area. Despite their proximity and family connections, the … “AC has found that these tools are effective means of ensuring sustained, long-term compliance with the AWA.”. Owner Eric Mogensen and his daughter, Meghan, were charged with multiple violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Ashley Rood testified in a Fairfax County courtroom that she grew increasingly horrified as she realized what had befallen the Reston Zoo’s injured wallaby in 2012. Catoctin reached a settlement with federal authorities, agreeing to pay a $12,000 fine, but did not have to admit fault in the attack. After watching the video, Karl Mogensen told the inspector that the handling of the monkey seemed “primitive” and “unprofessional,” according to inspection reports. More recent figures provided by APHIS show that the number dropped to 32 in 2012. Bhagavan Antle, a wildlife park owner who was featured in the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness” has been indicted on … Since its acquisition, this 50-acre zoo, soon to encompass 85 acres, in Florida has also undergone massive renovations, both immediately after its rescue and more recently. Join to Connect. It is a 180-acre drive-through safari park that is home to over 1,000 animals. Her bright orange coat became infested with fleas and her bones brittle from anemia. At the Natural Bridge Zoo, run by Mogensen’s father, Karl, the main mission is to nurture exotic species. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as your… Those are among a host of problems identified at six small zoos in Maryland and Virginia that are popular destinations for Washington-area families. It cares for over 1,000 animals from 6 continents. For more information, you can contact the park directly. . Theme Parks and Zoos Virginia Safari Park Address 229 Safari Lane PO Box 147 Natural Bridge, VA 24578; Phone 540-291-3205; City Natural Bridge Locality Rockbridge. The zoos that have put people and animals at risk. These renovations were completed with the welfare and care of the over 900 animals of many different species as the highest priority. But this past spring, federal inspectors found more than 40 animals in need of veterinary care, including camels with weeping lesions and a llama with a mass under its jaw. A Corporate Conservation Coordinator currently works to oversee the myriad conservation programs they help fund. It was a great time, I loved feeding the animals. The Natural Bridge Zoo in western Virginia is billed as a sanctuary, but on recent visits, federal inspectors found more than 40 animals in need of veterinary care and questioned staff about a video that shows employees jabbing a monkey with sticks. The federal inspector stopped the tour and asked to speak with the zoo’s owner. Children were allowed to get dangerously close to — or touch — tigers on two occasions. It is now June and she is still living in a residence.”. Staying Near Virginia Safari Park Each park works with multiple conservation projects in order to provide better education for the guests, as well as protection and care for animals in both captivity and the wild. Problems persist at roadside zoos, in part, because oversight and enforcement are often lacking. A safari park, sometimes known as a wildlife park, is a zoo-like commercial drive-in tourist attraction where visitors can drive their own vehicles or ride in vehicles provided by the facility to observe freely roaming animals.. A safari park is larger than a zoo and smaller than a game reserve.For example, African Lion Safari in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is 750 acres (3.0 km 2). Virginia Safari Park: so fun! Minor problems were reported at four more zoos. Mogensen is a proud member of several zoological associations, including: Dyer Island Conservation Trust, Penguin Conservation, University of West Florida’s Biology Department, Member Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1983, Professional Member in Zoological Association of America (ZAA), Member of Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA). One grabbed a fire extinguisher and blasted Diego to drive him away. The animal had to be euthanized. Diarrhea, lameness and eye conditions in other animals allegedly were not treated properly, according to the complaint. In 2009, USA Travel Guide named Lion Country the 3rd best zoo in the nation. The transformation continues as the Zoo plans for future expansion. Richard Hahn, the zoo’s owner, said the mauling was a result of human error. In recent years, the number of penalties issued by federal authorities to small zoos in the eastern half of the United States has remained at a level previously deemed too low by government auditors. Working out of the Virginia Safari Park, Mogensen has started the Coats for Kids program, which has now been operational for 18 years. Hotels near Virginia Safari Park, Natural Bridge on Tripadvisor: Find 10,412 traveller reviews, 4,382 candid photos, and prices for 74 hotels near Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, VA. In a statement, Karl Mogensen said he had corrected every problem identified by inspectors. Inside, she told a judge, she discovered the wallaby’s body, dripping with water. Gregory was rushed to the hospital with bite injuries to her face and torso. And when enforcement was pursued, it often came years after the violations. To date, he has spent over 50 years mastering animal care and nurturing conservation programs to help at-risk species around the world. Growing up on a family-operated zoo sparked his love and passion for animals, and has been the impetus to invest in the creation, acquisition, and expansion of several safari parks and zoos throughout the United States. Telephone messages left with both men by The Associated Press were not immediately returned. The Tri-State Zoological Park in Western Maryland advertises itself as a great stop for kids, but an inspector reported that some children had reached through a cage to pet tigers while a guide stood nearby. Wagon rides can be availed here which will take you to safari village nearby. She said some animals suffered and died as a result. Sheva’s “size is part of what scares me,” the volunteer wrote. The two European brown bears were born at the zoo. The VIRGINIA SAFARI PARK, a 180-acre drive-through zoo located in Natural Bridge, VA, is NOT associated with the Natural Bridge Zoo, which is also located in Natural Bridge. A complaint filed against the zoo over the tiger’s treatment and other issues was not settled until August, five years later. He spent many years cultivating his extensive experience with the transportation and management of exotic animals, such as zebras, tapirs, white rhinos, hippos, gorillas, and orangutans. Lion & Safari Park is 'n bewaringsgebied vir leeus, jagluiperds, hiënas, wildehonde en verskeie bokke. Report this profile; Experience. Someone wishing to open a small zoo needs only fill out a brief application with the USDA, demonstrate knowledge of animals and undergo an inspection — no formal training required. Hours later, Mr. Quills collapsed, but the zoo did not send him to a veterinarian. He also wrote that the zoo has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars upgrading the facilities. CODES (2 days ago) Virginia Safari Park, Savings and Zoo Park Description for 2020 Virginia Safari Park is a drive-thru zoo located in Natural Bridge, Virginia. 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