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With new management, the Natural Bridge Zoo will open with new additions and animals



Natural Bridge, Virginia – The 2024 season got off to a delayed start on Saturday, but the Natural Bridge Zoo is back open under new ownership.

“Normally we’d be opening back up in March, but of course now we’re almost into June,” said owner Gretchen Mogensen.

Along with her brothers, Mogesen, a zookeeper and the founder’s daughter, will take over as co-owners. The zoo is going to undergo certain alterations as a result of the new ownership.

“We’re going to be downsizing on the number of animals and the variety of animals, there will be a smaller variety. It doesn’t mean that it won’t be changing as we move forward, but we’re going to be focusing more on doing interaction with the public with small animals,” said Mogensen.

After the Virginia Attorney General’s Office looked into claims of animal abuse against the zoo and its owners, they are eager for a new beginning.

“It was a very dramatic and traumatic experience for not only the people involved, but for a lot of the animals involved. We are greatly humbled and trying to move forward as best that we can,” said Mogensen on the past few months.

A total rebranding has been contemplated by Mogensen and her brothers.

“As we are changing over and it is new owners, because it’s been the same owner since 1972, we also are going to be possibly changing the name of the park,” said Mogensen. “We’re not 100% decided on what it’s going to be yet, but we are open to suggestions!” she added.

Staff and animals are returning to some degree of routine after the reopening.

“The animals like seeing the people. It’s more normal for them,” explained Mogensen. “They see kids running around, they see people talking to them. So it’s also interaction, it’s enrichment for them as well.”

The return of one of the zoo’s most beloved attractions made visitors thrilled.

“We love the zoo,” said Jessica Wade, sitting with her daughter Kaylee. “I just had a flashback from three years ago of her here. So I wanted to bring her again today and oddly enough, it was just opening today . . . I like the way we’re able to get access to the animals and feed them and pet them,” she added.


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