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A Visit to the Calgary Zoo

You don’t have to be a kid to love a visit to the Calgary Zoo. Ranked as one of the best zoos in North America, it’s also got the distinction of being the most visited zoo in Canada.

There’s a reason for that.

"A little boy in the Calgary Zoo"

A little boy in the Calgary Zoo

For one, the Calgary Zoo is very conveniently located. You can drive to it – and it’s only about seven minutes away from downtown. It’s also easily accessible via public transit. Just take the C-train to the zoo stop.

The Calgary Zoo is a very walkable zoo. And if you have little ones, then there’s the option to rent a wagon. For those challenged by walking, there are wheel chairs available too.

And now for the good stuff.

There are loads of displays with over 1,000 animals across over 300 acres of land. Included are botanical gardens, a prehistoric park and then areas grouped by geography like Africa and Eurasia. My favourite is the Canadian Wilds, mainly because I love watching the mountain sheep scamper up the cliffs and I can’t help but marvel at the size of the muskox. The Penguin Plunge is another very popular exhibit.

"Children watching the sea otters"

Children watching the sea otters

If you’re hungry, you’ll be pleased at what’s available; there are numerous food vendors, as well as the Kiamba and Penguin Plunge Café. Newly opened is the Grazers Restaurant. If you’re in Calgary on a Sunday, don’t miss the Safari Brunch held in the heart of Destination Africa.

On a more serious note, the Calgary Zoo is home to the Centre for Conservation Research. Ranked as one of the top five zoos in the world alongside New York, Frankfurt, London and San Diego, by Nature – a science journal, the zoo is at the forefront of the following examples:

  • Research on the last remaining black-tailed prairie dogs in Canada.
  • They’re part of the recovery team that brought black-footed ferrets back to Canada.
  • They have received international acclaim for their work in monitoring the recovery of swift foxes.
  • Research on improvements in ways to reintroduce the endangered burrowing owl in Canada is ongoing.
"There are gorillas at the Calgary Zoo"

There are gorillas at the Calgary Zoo

It’s not only local Calgarians who love going to the zoo. Roughly 50% of visitors are from outside of Calgary. It’s the sort of place where memories are made. From weddings, to Christmas light displays, to summer BBQ’s and catered meetings, you sure don’t have to be a kid to have a memorable experience.

Open every day of the year except on Christmas and on the day of the Zoogala (September 5th this year), there really is something for everyone. The zoo opens at 9 am and the grounds close at 6 pm.

Have you been to the Calgary Zoo?

Leigh McAdam


Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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