A Northern Virginia zoo that’s had some hard times has been revamped and reopened.
The new Nova Wild in Reston features a self-drive safari and, from now until April 19, a nighttime light show called The Great Migration.
New owner Tara Campbell Lussier grew up near the zoo, which has been known in the past as Reston Zoo and Roer’s Zoofari.
“Coming here as a kid and then bringing my children — I have four children — when they were little, and then coming back here, which is something I never ever planned on. It definitely is like the Matt Damon movie ‘We Bought a Zoo.’”
Lussier said the zoo needed someone who is local; and her team, after buying the property at the end of 2022, has been working tirelessly to get it ready. She said, as the process unfolded, the driving force was “animals first.”
Watch video of WTOP’s Kyle Cooper on a self-drive safari.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link, and so I’m making sure that the right people are in place and the animals came first. That was first and foremost.”
Two giraffes died in a fire at the zoo two years ago under the previous owners. Lussier said they have new vets and an animal welfare expert on staff.
The zoo is also now accredited by the Zoological Association of America, and America Humane. Lussier said there are plans to renovate buildings and make the Zoo a safe and welcoming place for the community.
“We’re revitalizing this and we need to do it together.”
Lussier also said, down the road, the zoo will include “glamping,” a form of camping with boosted amenities, and will be bringing in animals never seen before at the Reston zoo.