Goodness my gibbons, it’s a great time to visit Assiniboine Park Zoo.
This summer marks the official in-person return of Zoo Chats, while there’s always so much to be had amongst the Park’s award-winning grounds including encounters with Amur tigers, snow leopards, monkeys, everything with antlers, and of course, those massive, swimming-overhead polar bears.
One glance at the Zoo’s current programming you’ll see how caring is at the forefront. Whether its transferring burrowing owls to the wild locally (so tiny, so cute!), or providing veterinarian care in the field for polar bears and seals (as seen here on Season 2 of Arctic Vets), Assiniboine Park Zoo’s services are far-reaching. With such dedication to animal species, you can be guaranteed that a visit will be both educational and inspirational for your family.
Plus, as you’ll read below, there’s so much more in store, including the return of the Zoo's biggest family members and the exclusive chance to go behind-the-scenes at this world-class facility.
Zoo Chats return!
If you thought Chatty Wednesdays looked like fun, wait until you experience Zoo Chats! Occurring each weekend, with new talks happening every 30 minutes starting at 10 a.m. across the zoo, this is the best way to learn about your favourite species up close from the Zoo’s animal care professionals.
They restarted this past May long weekend, which was all about endangered species, with Zoo Chats focusing on those aforementioned leopards, tigers and gibbons, along with a number of interesting species. The focus here is all about conservation, while highlighting incredible organizations like the Snow Leopard Trust.
Zoo Chats will continue daily throughout the summer (May 21 to September 5; detailed schedule here), where the spotlight will shine on fun species like Bactrian camels (those saucy even-toed ungulates from Asia’s rocky deserts), squirrel monkeys (one of the world’s most vocal monkeys, with upwards of 30 types of calls!), and Patagonian maras (perhaps the zestiest of all large rodents…. Just don’t tell Castor canadensis we said this).
The Chats are free to attend with admission, so just use the schedule above when you arrive.
Dinosaurs roaring back this summer!
Starting on June 1, the Zoo’s forest trail will once again be home to life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, with everything from sauropods that will have you looking to the skies, to a T-Rex and a freaky pterosaur that just might make you want to run and hide.
Dinosaurs UnCovered will feature 17 life-sized species from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous period—feathers and all! Plus, indoors just outside the trails, you can see museum-quality fossils and artifacts, along with fascinating displays.
Get the full scoop here.
As well, exclusive behind-the-scenes zoo tours are once again on offer, albeit in a limited capacity. We went on one last year, and as you can read and watch here, it was incredible. This summer's experiences cover tiger or snow leopard enrichment, harbour seal training, and of course, polar bears! Book online here.
While you’re at the Park
Be sure to make time to explore the Gardens at The Leaf. Everything is just starting to get green again, while by mid-summer these spectacular thematic gardens will be in full bloom, with surely plenty of events to mark its second growing season.
Assiniboine Park is of course massive, so it’s easy to spend a day here. To do so, you’ll need to fuel up. Within the Zoo, Tundra Grill provides a simple burgers-and-fries sort of menu, all while affording you sweeping views of the polar bears as they roam the grass within the huge Journey to Churchill exhibit. Should it be hot, you’ll find plenty of icy and sweet treats throughout the Zoo grounds too.
In the park itself, the Park Café has you covered for breakfast through lunch, with dishes often featuring ingredients grown right at the Gardens at The Leaf.
Assiniboine Park Zoo is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For rates and more info go here.