Imagine a place, in the middle of a bustling city, where you can come face to face with a bison, otter or goat. Maymont is home to many native Virginia animals including mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and fish. Hundreds of animals, representing more than 100 species, reside within Maymont's grounds—at the Children's Farm, in the Wildlife Exhibits and in the Nature Center.
Maymont exhibits include many healthy, but non-releasable, wild animals. These animals are accepted only from licensed rehabilitators and agencies that expertly nurse orphaned or injured wildlife back to health. While most rehabilitated animals are released into the wild, some animals are deemed unable to survive without assistance and find refuge at Maymont, where they serve important roles as wildlife ambassadors in education programs and exhibits. All of Maymont's animals are well cared for by a team of professional zoologists.
While the majority of Maymont's visitors enjoy leisurely, self-guided experiences, a variety of staff-led educational programs, volunteer positions and "Adopt an Animal" donor opportunities are available for passionate animal-lovers.
The Children's Farm features domestic animals raised on Virginia farms. Here youngsters can touch and feed goats, sheep, chickens and even some rare breeds. The Farm offers all visitors insight into the farm-life experience and food production.
Venture down into the valley and discover native Virginia wildlife presented in an extensive, 40-acre wildlife park. Maymont's Wildlife Exhibits are carefully designed habitats that are home to a variety of species now or once native to Virginia—including bison, deer, foxes, bears, a bobcat and many types of birds.
Completed in 1999, this facility interprets the natural environment of the James River. A 20-foot waterfall cascades into the first of 13 giant, linked aquariums that are home to playful river otters, turtles and fish of all shapes and sizes. Interactive galleries complete this memorable river experience. Also housed in this building are the Visitor Center, souvenir sales and the Maymont Café.
Why are there Animals at Maymont?
In March 1926, just six months after Mrs. Dooley's death, Maymont was opened to an expectant public awed by the grandeur of the grounds and residence. Throughout the Great Depression and World War II, the estate provided a continuing source of pleasure and pride for the city. In the 1940s, a new facet of Maymont's use was proposed by a group of Richmonders, led by William B. Thalhimer, who formed a nonprofit foundation to establish live-animal exhibits on the grounds. The first series of outdoor animal exhibits was installed in 1958. In 1962, under the sponsorship of area garden clubs, a nature center was developed in the 1908 Stone Barn. The Children's Farm was completed in 1982. In 1999, Maymont unveiled the Robins Nature & Visitor Center, and in 2008, the Robert M. Freeman Bald Eagle Habitat & Raptor Valley opened to the public.
What To Do With An Injured Or Ophaned Animal
Because Maymont cannot take in animals from the general public (as we are kept busy providing care for the permanent residents in our collection), we recommend that you contact The Area Rehabbers Klub for important information about what to do if you find an orphaned or injured animal.
ARK, The Area Rehabbers Klub