My husband and I went to the zoo when we were in VA for the first time (military) and it was just sad, to be honest. The elephants seemed to be emaciated, there were not too many animals, the feel of it all was just "eh", all in all it just was sad. We were back in VA early/mid last year and went to the zoo many time with our daughters and have a great time every time! The animals looked happy and healthy, the whole feel of the zoo was happy. Very different than it was 7-8 years ago. I don't know what happened, if there are new managers or what, but it is so much better now.
I will say, the only reason that I didn't give it a 5 star was because there was a lot of construction going on with new exhibits and such as of last year. I am anxious to go back and see what they were working on and doing.