CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. — The “Miracle of Christmas,” a live nativity pageant at the Metro Richmond Zoo, has come to be one of Richmond’s favorite traditions. The pageant celebrates the birth of Jesus, through a live re-enactment of the Christmas story featuring zoo animals.
This year, the zoo is celebrating the 17th anniversary of the pageant and the birth of several new zoo animals that helped grace this year’s nativity.
“We get thousands of people every night,” zoo owner Jim Andelin said.
Andelin and his family have been putting on the “Miracle of Christmas” for more than a decade, thanks to a partnership with several neighboring churches and community members, who volunteer their time to help with concessions, parking, and choir performances.
Andelin said crowds enjoy getting a glimpse of a time past, when the story of Christmas was first told in the town of Bethlehem.
“This is not a commercial event,” Andelin said. “This is all free, it’s just a gift that we want to share with the community.”
This pageant is performed three times a night for three nights.
“We love to come here,” attendee Debbie Spivey said. “It’s a tradition for our family.”
This year, with the birth of several new baby goats and lambs at the zoo, children found one more reason to watch in amazement.
“My favorite part was when they brought out baby Jesus and the baby goats,” exclaimed Mason Power.
The Andelin family said they hoped this tradition would continue for years to come.