Depressing and Horrified have given an unrecognizable review for a terrific zoo. For the record, I am well acquainted with the zoo and the family that runs it (though I am in no way financially associated or related). It is a for profit venture because that is what allows them to run it consistent with their mission and values (for example, they otherwise would not be permitted to include their children in operations as a learning experience). It IS intended to be educational and conservationally-minded operation, contrary to the mind-reading below that indicated otherwise. No, they have not brought in a wide variety of foreign and invasive floral species to house the animals. In a zoo this intimately sized, that is not even possible. On that note, there is a reason AZA accreditation is achieved only less than 10% of zoos: it is steeped in near insurmountable bureaucracy and ultimately hugely expensive. Also, there are possible values conflicts, such as introducing non-native fauna (though I do not know Richmond Metro Zoo's stand on this particular issue)and non-professionals' contact with the animals (there is a definite value conflict here).
I have spent after hours at the zoo many times and can attest that the animals are well exercised and well socialized. Every person who is part of the zoo knows every animal by name (try that at your distended, touristy, tax-payer subsidized zoos). Every animal habitat that I have seen includes shelter at least equivalent to what would be provided in that animal's natural habitat. Also, some steps taken at national zoos such as steeping the monkey island pond have been side-stepped with more natural measures, that don't leave the pond artificially crystal clear, but do keep the habitat healthy. Some of the shelter is underground or otherwise not obvious to avoid interfering with the patrons' experience.
This is NOT the uncaring, money-grubbing enterprise is has been smeared as by other reviewers. For that matter, it costs less than our local zoo and (at least previously) a cup of feed is included with children's admission.
This zoo tops all others that I have experienced for a close-up intimate experience that will leave children interested in learning about the others creatures we share this planet with, an essential step in creating conservation awareness.
Or you can attend a zoo that sucks government dollars to keep your admission artificially low, so you can walk in an an environment designed for city-sophisticates rather than the animals and the children the experience is most meant for.