Apparently, the average duration of a visit to the Greater Vancouver Zoo ranges from 1.5 to 3 hours. However, our experience defied this norm as we spent a fulfilling 7 hours immersing ourselves in the wonders of nature. With minimal breaks for lunch and restroom visits, the majority of our time was dedicated to relishing the beauty surrounding us.
Initially apprehensive due to negative reviews we had read when we first moved to Vancouver, we hadn’t visited the Greater Vancouver Zoo since immigrating here in 2008. Yet, to our surprise, we found no evidence of mistreatment, malnourished animals, or cramped habitats. Quite the opposite, the fair amount of spaces provided to each species even made us feel like – at times – in an African safari.
With complimentary tickets in hand, we embarked on our zoo adventure, vigilant for any signs of abuse or neglect. A momentary concern arose upon observing the Cariboos shedding their fur until we realized it was a natural occurrence, much like our pets at home. Similarly, the sight of an Eagle in the zoo initially puzzled us. How on earth would you keep and justify having eagles in a zoo? However, our understanding deepened upon learning that Meredith and Max, both injured and deemed non-releasable, were under the care of a wildlife rescue organization.
Throughout our entire day at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, we had the overwhelming impression that the animals were content, well-fed, and enjoyed a healthy rapport with the zoo staff. The wolves eagerly approached upon hearing the staff interact with guests, while the hippos responded enthusiastically when called by name. Witnessing the staff’s knowledge and genuine care for the animals further reinforced our positive experience.
I hesitate to spoil all the heartwarming stories behind each species residing at the zoo, but I must at least share a few, so that you feel compel to visit and support the zoo. The cougars for instance. Rockey was found as a cub underneath someone’s porch emaciated with frostbitten ears. He had been trying to survive on his own after losing his mum but he couldn’t cope. The Greater Vancouver Zoo Animal Health Team was able to nurse him back to full health and he is now sharing a cozy space with Rosie, also rescued after being hit by a car and sustained major head trauma. The three grizzly cubs, Huggy, Henry and Scout were orphaned after their mum was shot by hunters and if the Greater Vancouver Zoo didn’t or couldn’t take them on, they would have been euthanized. This would have been such a shame because those siblings are playful, full of life and won our hearts in just a couple of minutes.
I will stop right here so that you have a lot more to discover when you’ll go for a visit with your family. The Greater Vancouver Zoo’s mission to inspire ecological appreciation and conservation is worthy of support, and so I would really encourage you all to go. And when you do so, please read the signage, engage with the staff, who willingly shared their extensive knowledge with us and whose enthusiasm was infectious.
When we first moved to Vancouver, we lived in Kitsilano and one of my hobbies was to go to the Space Center. So much so that I had an annual membership and was popping by the center at least twice a month. Well, I can confidently say that after our experience at the Zoo, I would do the same if we were living closer to Aldergrove. Unfortunately, we are not close enough to justify such a commitment but I have a few options and one of them is to become a ZooParent or even better, a ZooExplorer 😉