Experience the Calgary Zoo
During your visit to Calgary, take the kids to the Calgary Zoo. It is open from 9am to 5pm each day, 364 days each year and hosts about 800 animals from around the world. Already Canada’s most visited zoo, they expects to host 1.5 million visitors over the next year.
Why? Because the Giant Pandas have arrived!
That’s right, after many years of planning, and $100 million in upgrades, the Calgary Zoo will open the doors to its new state-of- the-art Panda Passage on May 7, 2018.
Bringing the pandas to Calgary was part of an international agreement signed in 2012 between China and Canada. The panda habitat, located at the heart of the zoo, promises to be one of the best animal facilities of its kind in the world.
“Not only is Panda Passage the most unique animal habitat we’ve ever created, but we have also renovated every corner of the zoo,” says Dr. Clément Lanthier, President and CEO of the Calgary Zoo. “We expect a 25% increase in the number of visitors in the first year of the pandas’ five-year stay we needed to make necessary changes to very specific areas of the park in create an amazing experience for our guests.”
The opening of Pandas Passage culminates four years of major projects across the zoo. Beyond the Great Wall is an exciting habitat for Japanese snow monkeys, Amur tigers, and takin will draw together species from Eastern China, Korea and Japan.
The Shadow of the Himalayas sees a complete redevelopment of the west end of the island, creating a new and vibrant five-year home for giant pandas and permanent homes for other animals from Asia including, Przewalski’s horses, Bactrian camels, snow leopards and red pandas!
When you see the zoo’s irresistibly cute red pandas, chances are they’ll be up in the trees. They eat, climb, walk and play in the branches, rarely venturing down to ground level. This tree-house lifestyle is made possible with their semi-retractable claws and acrobatic skills. They even sleep in the trees using their bushy tails as pillows and blankets for extra warmth.
Another of the key projects was the opening of an $8 million Land of Lemurs habitat in 2017 which added 1.3 acres on the east end of zoo island. Other important changes include upgraded and new food concessions, suspension bridge, new wayfinding system, widened pathways, an expanded parking lot with fully automated parking payment system and new play features in Canadian Wilds and the Prehistoric Park.
The landscaping within the Prehistoric Park was designed to recreate an environment reminiscent of the Mesozoic Era from 225 to 65 million years ago. Dinosaurs lived towards the end of that era, in what is now Alberta. That’s right, when you visit the Calgary Zoo, you should expect to see dinosaurs!
The iconic ‘Dinny the Dinosaur’ started welcoming visitors to the Prehistoric Park in the 1930s. Since 1987, this dino has been officially classified as an Alberta Historical Resource.
Dinny is a 118-ton replica of a brontosaurus. It was one of 56 dinosaur sculptures that were initially installed in the park. Fossils found in Southern Alberta inspired these models and it is rumoured that the artist added several mystery contents to Dinny’s stomach to add to its bulk.
Dinny’s Green, located at the heart of the zoo, will bring him out of retirement. A food services and a new children’s play area, as well as the replacement of the suspension bridge from the North Shore, makes this an exciting gathering place.
Please note that the Prehistoric Park at the Calgary Zoo is only open from March 23 – October 31. For more information, call (403) 232-9300. calgaryzoo.com