That is an interesting question. So many people come to Virginia Beach to pet the dolphins and turtles and other marine life, that we sometimes forget that we have so many other options for our visitors.
There is a large Zoo locally in our sister city, Norfolk. It is quite popular with the locals and kids, however there really aren't any petting or riding exhibits in the zoo.
South of the oceanfront in Virginia Beach is an area locally known as "Strawbridge Area". It is on the way to Sandbridge, which is a popular beach home rental area of Virginia Beach. In Strawbridge there are several horse farms and a few of them allow riding, but they are mostly private for adults or lessons for kids.
The best place to go and see, pet and ride animals locally in Virginia Beach is Hunt Club Farm in Strawbridge.
Hunt Club Farm operates year-round and is a favorit with locals. They have a petting zoo with goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits and more! They have a goat area where goats are free to climb ramps and eat food that visitors send to them on pulleys. Hay rides, souvenirs and much more make Hunt Club Farm a great place to take your kids if you want to explore what Virginia Beach has to offer away from the oceanfront!