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Edmonton Valley Zoo Review

Discussion in 'Canada' started by FWC, 10 Dec 2012.

  1. FWC

    FWC Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    27 Feb 2011
    Posts:
    125
    Location:
    Alberta
    I decided to heads out to my local zoo today and figured I would post a review.

    It was a chilly day out ,roughly -30 celcius. I arrived at the zoo soon after it opened ,around 10:00. The front gate was open and the ticket booths were empty. There was a small sign that said go to the back of the zoo to the administration building to pay (I don't think very many people pay in the winter...) As soon as you get into the zoo you are greated by a smallish silver wire aviary containing a single eurasian eagle owl. The aviary is un-exceptional with a few branches and an owl box. In the summer it houses Kookaburras.

    After crossing a dry pond ,you come to several exhibits known as Carnivore Alley(I think they still call it that) There are two chainlink cages containing a single serval and a small group of Coati. Neither could be seen. Immediately after there are three more chain link cages containing a swift fox pair ,an arctic wolf pair and a snow leopard pair. The wolf cage is rather flat ,with a few trees and a small rise of rocks with a den. The snow leopards are about the same ,but with a few climbing structures thrown in. The foxes are placed on a small grassy knoll ,however during the winter it looks like the foxes spend most of their time in their den.

    From here you can go one of three ways ,either to the zoos old entry were the arctic foxes are ,down into the "coldweather" part of the zoo ,or into the elephant house/saito center.

    The arctic fox exhibit is a bland yard with glass fences ,there is a cave in the middle with some cut branches around the cage. There are a pair of foxes within.

    The Elephant house is a smallish building with two yards (one small ,one large) Inside there is a main stall with heated floors ,tires ,logs ,and large tubes. There are two smaller stalls filled with sand. There is an elephant presentation at 11:00 ,being the only person at the presentation (and the whole zoo ,if we want to be specific) I got a very personal presentation. I got several very good photos of Lucy, the zoo's asian elephant. Next I headed into the Saito Center ,which branches into two buildings. I headed right first. You are lead into an open room with glass windows in one corners ,in there one can view Dart Frogs ,Mantellas ,Tomato Frogs ,Whites Tree Frogs ,African Clawed Frogs ,and Axolotls. The tanks are well decorated and the amphibians all look healthy. Following into a doorway ,you go into the main center. To your left is a medium sized "stall" type enclosure containing roughly 8 Red Necked Wallabys including two mothers with young ,a pair of Capybaras ,and a single Red Rumped Agouti. A similar stall type enclosure is much smaller and contains a pair of African Crested Porcupines. Both stall have outdoors acess to bare yards. These stall are to the left of the hallway. To the right are three glass fronted rooms ,about 13-15 feet in hight ,roughly 8 feet wide and roughly 13 feet long. These contain a scruffy looking pair of Ecleuctus Parrots ,a scruffy looking pair of Green Aracaris ,and a family of 5 small Rock Hyraxs the mother/father of the young animals on exhibit were either hiding or off display. The cages are rather bland ,the birds containing lots of branches with dead leaves not offering much to make the birds have to fly ,and the hyrax's having a few rocky ledges and wooden branches. At the end of the hallway in the same "island" as the birds and hyrax is a slightly larger (about 13-15' H x 10' W x 15' L) is a small family of five squirrel Monkeys. The cage has a number of branches and overall is not that horrible of an exhibit. To the left taking up the entire hallway is a room containing a pair of Lars Gibbons. There is a large fake tree ,along with lots of ropes and a few branches. This room is about 13-15' tall ,25' long and 12' wide. There is an outdoor exhibit attached that is quite nice ,if small ,roughly 25 feet in hight and about a 15 x 10 base ,with a large metal/bamboo structure in the middle. Back inside the center ,going down the hallway there is a smallish room with a smallish pool containing a pair of American White Pelicans. Beside them is a larger room roughly the same size as the gibbons containing a trio of Black Swans. There is a pool taking up most of the exhibit ,with a smallish area of cement for the birds to get out of the water. I rather rather saddened by the state of the birds ,in poor feather ,and one of the birds had a large lump on one foot ,and another had all of the webbing missing from one foot. From what ,I'm not sure. This is on the left of the hallway. To the right are rooms the same as on the other side containing Fennec Foxes ,a family of five Goeldi's Monkeys including a cute little baby just starting to venture away from mom, and a pair of Kookaburras. The Kooks and monkeys are much the same as the other two bird species housed in the rooms ,and the fennec room is rather bland with shavings ,a dog crate and some rocks. In the larger room is a pair of male spider monkeys. Along the last part of the hallway are several cages containing Leachianus Geckos ,Blue Tounged Skinks ,Emerald Tree boas and a few other species. All of the cages are rather un-impressive and smallish.

    Going back out to the left of the Saito Center ,is a large sunken in "classroom" that hosts birthday parties and school groups. To the left of this room is the nocturnal exhibit. It is rather small ,an almost complete circle roughly 8-10 feet wide ,13 feet tall and probably about 20 feet long if it was stretched out straight. There is a large fake tree ,a number of larger sturdy branches leading throughout the exhibit ,and a a few small trees with smaller branches and leaves included. This room contains a pair of Kinkajou ,a single Two Toed Sloth ,a single Prehensile Tailed Porcupine ,a pair of Three Banded Armadillo ,and numerus Jamaican Fruit Bats. I managed to see all five species present. All five species were house together which was nice to see ,and I was rather suprised to see how many bats they had ,a keeper was in the exhibit with the lights on at one point ,there were a solid 20+ bats ,not the five or six I was expecting !! This exhibit is newer ,and I am quite fond of it.

    Leaving the bats and heading down the right of the hallway behind the classroom is the reptile room. In here are a number of smallish bland cages containing Blue Beauty Ratsnakes ,an Iguana ,Red Footed Tortoises ,and a Childrens Python.

    Heading out of the Saito Center ,I followed a path down which leads to several large open paddocks. The first contains a head of big horned sheep ,a single ram ,several ewes ,and a couple of lambs. The paddock is large and built on a shallow hill. There is also a nice looking rock pile. Not a stellar enclosure ,but far better then many others at the zoo. The next three are all rather similar ,large ,open ,and slightly hilly ,containing Guanaco (off exhibit) ,a group of 6 Sichuan Takin ,and a pair of West Caucasian Tur.

    Backtracking a ways past the tankin and an empty bird of prey demo field ,I entered the bird of prey section. There are several aviaries here. The first is a smallish one with a couple of pairs of burrowing owls. Beside them is a large (15' T x 13' W x 20' L) flight with a pair of Eurasian Eagle Owls. I'm assuming they produced the bird at the front of the zoo. In a couple of other small aviaries are a Snowy Owl pair ,a Barred Owl Pair ,a lone Pergrine Falcon ,and two empty cages that house barn owls in the summer.

    Travelling down the path out of birds of prey I headed over to the zoos newest exhibit ,Arctic Shores. A visually pleasing place ,it is not quite finished as of yet. Heading into the "heart" of it is a large headed building with vast windows looking in. Inside is a large deep pool containing 4 Northern Fur Seals and a pair of Harbor Seals. They had access to a magnificent outdoors exhibit ,a very large heater saltwater pool at least 13 feet deep ,but they opted to stay inside instead.

    Heading out of Arctic Shores I passed the zoos Amur Tigers. The pair were both out and very active ,playing with each other and chasing anyone who ran/drove past their exhibit.

    I then headed to the "older" section of the zoo ,which does contain a few newer exhibits as well. I first passed a snowy wooden fenced dentation in the earth that houses the zoos river otters. Both brothers were out and abouts (I can't recall if it was three siblings or two off the top of my head) Right near them is the Red Panada habitat ,despit being one of the zoo's "newer" buildings ,it is still rather smallish. They have had decent breeding success with them though ,so I guess you can't complain about that. Across from the Panadas was an exhibit placed on a steep hill housing 2 alpacas. They're at least 15 years old now ,and I would not be suprised if they are even older. They have been at the zoo for as long as I can remeber ,and I'm sure before then as well.

    Near these two is the zoo's new Lemur exhibit ,the Makira Outpost. The lemurs were all inside ,however there is a large open section and a smaller(relative to the other one) enclosed outdoor cage as well. There was a pair of Ruffed Lemurs ,4 Red Fronted Lemurs and several Ring-tails. There was also a pair of Sulcata Tortoises in with the Red Fronted's. The encolsures ,while not the grandest in the world ,are quite nice and offer the lemurs a fair amount of climbing space.

    Right beside the the lemurs is a medium sized cage that used to use the zoos gibbons during the summer. Now it hold the zoo's Kea pair during the spring summer and fall. It currently houses a female bald eagle with an amputated wing named liberty. I really wanted to see those darn Keas. I talked to one of the keepers but no beans for being able to see them in their off exhibit winter housing.

    Past that is a smallish childrens zoo that had some sheep in it. In the summer there are also ducks ,chickens ,goats ,skunks ,rats ,quail ,doves ,and usually a few other small things.

    Near the petting zoo the "Round House". There is a largeish circular enclosure of about 13 feet in diameter and 10 feet in hight that usually houses burmese pythons. There were some skunks in there at present.

    After that there are two empty enclosures that usually house Emus and Mini Horses ,and then your back at the zoo's front gate.

    Of course ,roughly half of the zoo's space is fenced off for the new front entrance and exhibits being built ,however I still managed to use the whole day ,being the last visitor out of the zoo at four pm (I only counted 8 people the whole day ,including myself)

    Over all ,although they still have lots to work out ,the Edmonton Valley Zoo is a fine place to spend the day ,and with the new exhibits popping up I'm sure it can only get better. As well ,I found going on a frosty winter day kept the zoo free of people ,which gives time to talk to keepers and explore/photograph with zero disruptions.

    I shall be uploading pictures into the galley shortly.
     
  2. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    1 Dec 2007
    Posts:
    6,490
    Location:
    Abbotsford, B.C., Canada
    Great review, and I visited and reviewed this zoo myself in August. Edmonton, my place of birth, has tremendously cold weather in the winter and for about 8 months of the year many animals are locked indoors to save them from the frigid outdoor temperature. Of course there has been a lot of publicity about Lucy the Asian elephant, but several other species (notably the gibbons and lemurs) are confined indoors in tiny exhibits for the vast bulk of their lives. On a side note, the city of Edmonton has a population of one million and yet one of the lowest attended zoos in all of North America in relation to the number of inhabitants in the metropolitan area. At least the excellent Arctic Shores is a step in the right direction!