Hovatter’s Zoo kicks off 28th season after pandemic delays opening


KINGWOOD, WV (WBOY) — Hovatter’s Zoo has officially opened for its 28th season after a two-month delay due to the coronavius. Zoo owner, Bryan Hovatter kicked off the new season with new facilities and hands-on attractions.

“We’ve changed a lot of stuff this year, all winter long we’ve worked on upgrades,” explained Hovatter. “New monkey exhibits, new monkey buildings, we’ve opened up a whole new part of the zoo, river otters, warthogs, a new camel display.” 

With more than 40 different species of animals, Hovatter’s has something for everyone, and more than 80% of exhibits are interactive.

“It’s good for the kids, even the adults, adults have more fun than the kids, its mostly hands on,” said Hovatter.

Like most small businesses, Hovatter’s was forced to delay this year’s season due to COVID-19. Annually, the zoo opens in April but this year owner Bryan Hovatter said they couldn’t open their doors until the day after Memorial Day, resulting in a lot of missed revenue needed to provide for the animals.

“Our key goal is to get through winter and get enough money to make it through the winter and with the virus knocking us out of two months we lost all of our school field trips and that’s a big plus for us to get started on and it just wasn’t there this year,” stated Hovatter.

People who visit the zoo this year will see a lot of new and adorable faces as many animals have recently given birth or are due in the coming months. Zella the giraffe, one of Hovatter’s most famous gentle giants is set to give birth in November.

“Just about every monkey pin you look at there’s babies on almost all the monkey moms, lots of goats, lots of llamas and baby camels here,” said Hovatter.

To help offset the two months of revenue that was missed, Hovatter’s changed its hours this year. The zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. and is located at 291 Wagner Lane in Kingwood.

More information about the zoo can be found on the West Virginia Zoo’s website.

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