So West Virginia is not known for its large selection of Zoos or animal parks. But with our family spending so much time at home with the Coronavirus it was nice to spend a morning at the West Virginia family-owned and operated Hovatters Wild Animal Zoo. Every time we go I can’t help thinking about the movie “We Bought a Zoo”. This morning’s trip was well worth the entry fee and we all came home feeling happy. A day spent with animals that well cared for is alway a day well spent.
Hovatter is an ever-growing and evolving collection of animals and displays. Over the course of their 28 years in operation, they have been home to several different collections of animals. So every time we visit we have seen something different and the cages and habitats are always improving. On this trip, we were able to see several different baby animals. Although I didn’t get to take many photos of them we still enjoyed watching them. This spring we got to see baby monkeys, baby wort hogs, and baby birds.
The highlight of every trip is feeding and petting some of the safe animals in the collection. My personal favorite is feeding the Giraffes and the Parakeets. As you can see from the above photo the Giraffes are friendly and gentle. This mother Giraffe and her baby, who is at least 11 feet tall, spend their day greeting visitors and eating all the carrot sticks you can give them.
The newest attraction that we visited was the Parakeet aviary. I absolutely fell in love with this enclosure. Since we were some of the very first people to arrive the birds were hungry. 80 little birds wanted to feed, swarming us when we produced popsicle sticks covered in bird seed. If you have any fear of birds I would not suggest this experience as we had birds everywhere. As you can see Paige my granddaughter ended up with a Parakeet in her hair.
We spent a great deal of time watching the birds and hand-feeding them. This for me was worth the entry price but I am guessing the birds get full of seed by afternoon and you dont have the same experience as we did early on a visitor day.
We also were able to pet donkeys, burros an Emu and two steers. Here is one of the sweetist cows I have ever been around. I think this is a Guernsey steer( but not sure) the other one in the photo is a white donkey both loved getting our attention.
The kids enjoyed seeing all of the wonderful animals that were on display the even had Bears and lions that you could see well and live peacocks struting around the property. They were able to feed camels and monkeys through special tubes built into their enclosers and a large Emu who liked to peck at your hand with its beak.
The staff is nice and the animals all seemed happy, healthy, and well-fed. I am sure that some of these animals, including the large cats, are rescued from other Zoos or carnivals. Some are old and some very young but they all were refreshing to see and feed. I really enjoyed hearing a lion roar and the monkeys playing and swinging in their cages.
A couple hours later we let the kids hit the gift shop. It looks like they enjoyed the day too. With toys in hand, we left the park and all of the sweet animals for a late lunch and headed home knowing that we would be back again one day.
For a family day, I can’t say enough lovely things about Hovatters Wildlife Zoo. It’s a small treasure of wild animals off the beatten path in Kingwood, WV. for more information about the zoo you can find them here Hovatters Wildlife Zoo.
Being outside with the kids was so refreshing while the state was still just reopening and the thought of doing much was limited. I hope if you are in the area you look them up and spend a day petting, feeding, and sharing with all of these wonderful animals.
Here is a gallery of some of the animal we met at the Zoo: