THE EDMONTON VALLEY ZOO

INTIMATE. INSPIRING. NURTURING. NATURAL. COOL.

Nestled on the banks of the North Saskatchewan River, in the heart of the Edmonton River Valley, The Edmonton Valley Zoo is a place that fosters enduring bonds between animals and people; a place where learning is engaging and memorable; a place of research, education and conservation; and, above all, a place where a high quality of life for the animals is the top priority.

INTIMATE… Warm and welcoming, the Edmonton Valley Zoo truly is a special place where guests connect with the animals. These emotional connections inspire guests to care about the animals and the natural world.

INSPIRING… At the Edmonton Valley Zoo, every visit is rich with animal connections. From wolves to snowy owls, to Meerkats and armadillos, animals with their caregivers are regularly out and about meeting and engaging with guests. It’s in these delightful moments of getting close to wildlife that learning becomes accessible and stimulating. These intimate experiences inspire guests and create an emotional connection to the animals.

NURTURING… Guests of the zoo are enveloped by a thoughtfully cultivated nurturing environment. It starts with the animal caregivers – true stewards, they continually demonstrate their dedication to providing a high quality of life for the animals living at the zoo – and flows out to other staff, volunteers and guests.

NATURAL… Nestled in the City’s spectacular river valley, the zoo’s natural setting is the perfect place for guests to connect with nature and learn how to help conserve the planet for future generations.

COOL… Of course, not all the animals at the Edmonton Valley Zoo can roam the grounds. That’s why cool changes are underway at the zoo to better showcase animals in natural habitats. The new state-of-the-art facilities will allow guests to get closer to the animals, to observe clearly, and engage authentically. That’s cool.

HISTORY

Originally the “Edmonton Storyland Zoo”, the Edmonton Valley Zoo welcomed its first guests on July 1, 1959. Since that time, the zoo has continued to evolve and grow. In 2009, the City announced the current revitalization that is completely overhauling the zoo — redeveloping the former and beloved Storyland elements that had earned their places in the hearts of Edmontonians. While the Storyland Zoo was leading edge in 1959, times have changed and with the help of the Valley Zoo Development Society, the City of Edmonton is moving forward to transition the zoo into a facility of the 21st century with a strong focus on learning and conservation initiatives.

HOURS & ADMISSIONS

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is open 364 days a year, allowing guests to see everything from babies in the spring, to how the animals prepare for winter. The zoo is only closed one day a year, on December 25th. Once a year the Edmonton Valley Zoo hosts a free admission day. Hours change seasonally, so make sure to visit the Valley Zoo’s website for current hours before you go.

CURRENT HOURS

GENERAL ADMISSIONS

The Edmonton Valley Zoo offers day passes (child, youth, adult & senior rates), family passes, annual passes, group discounts, and bulk admissions. Children under the age of two can enter free of charge. For up to date admission information, please visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s Website.

ANNUAL PASSES

An annual zoo pass gives you unlimited admission to the Edmonton Valley Zoo during regular public hours for a full year, admission to our Get Closer: Animal Talks, and use of the miniature train and carousel rides. You’ll also receive free or discounted admission at participating zoos across Canada and the United States!

Not only is an annual pass a great investment but a portion of the proceeds goes directly to the Valley Zoo Development Society for use in the revitalization of the Edmonton Valley Zoo!

ONLINE TICKETING

MAP & DIRECTIONS

VZDS- Zoo Map

Click for a downloadable PDF Zoo Map.

 

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

PARKING

Parking at the Edmonton Valley Zoo is free of charge. There is a large parking lot immediately outside of the zoo entrance-way.

CONTACT THE ZOO

Edmonton Valley Zoo Logo
13315 Buena Vista Road (87th Avenue)
PO Box 2359
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2R7

T | 780-442-5311
E | attractions@edmonton.ca

 

VISIT THE ZOO WEBSITE

THE ZOO-TIQUE

Operated by The Edmonton Valley Zoo Development Society, the Zoo-tique is located in the beautiful Entry Plaza of the Edmonton Valley Zoo.

The Zoo-tique offers a wide variety of children’s toys both fun and educational, adult & children’s clothing and accessories, Edmonton Valley Zoo souvenirs, and a whole lot more! You can even buy paintings by Lucy the Elephant!

The Zoo-tique stocks products from local suppliers that are environmentally friendly, such as frog-friendly products from frogfriendly.ca

During your next visit to the Edmonton Valley Zoo, be sure to stop in and say hi!

 

ZOO STORE HOURS

 

SUMMER

Mother’s Day thru Thanksgiving Open Daily from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

WINTER

Thanksgiving thru Mother’s Day Open Daily from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. *

*Closed on Christmas Day

“When people leave the zoo, they will remember the animals: how they smell, how they play, how they eat, how they breathe and how they sound. They will remember getting close enough to look deep into the eyes of lemurs or seals and sea lions or otters, wolves and owls. And they will care.”

Denise Prefontaine

Director, Edmonton Valley Zoo

THE FOUR CORNERSTONES

The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s vision is to be a special place that inspires love and learning of animals and nature. This vision is being accomplished through the four cornerstones: stewardship, conservation, education, and engagement. Toggle through the cornerstones below to see why these values are important, and what strategies are being used to implement them into daily life at the zoo.

Download a copy of the Cornerstones.

STEWARDSHIP

True stewards, the staff of the Edmonton Valley Zoo provide the highest quality care at home, as well as strong support for conservation efforts worldwide. The living, breathing, individual animals of the Edmonton Valley Zoo are the soul of the facility. More than 350 animals live at the zoo. Caregivers work together to support the nutritional, medical, and behavioural needs of each animal. The staff at the zoo also work with international organizations on ethical and strategic conservation projects, either actively raising animals in species survival programs or raising money and awareness to support initiatives in other parts of the world.

STRATEGIES

ANIMAL CARE… To ensure the animals receive the best possible care from highly skilled caregivers, the Edmonton Valley Zoo team focuses on continuous learning and employing best practices in veterinary medicine, nutrition, enrichment’s, and habitat design.

The Valley Zoo Development Society contributed $150,000 to a new veterinary hospital that opened in 2010. It includes a surgery, laboratory, quarantine area, and space for animals needing longer-term care. The new facility, along with advanced medical equipment, will allow the zoo’s veterinarian, animal health technologists, and other staff to more effectively and efficiently care for the animals.

The zoo has also implemented the Zoo Information Management System – an international electronic records database – to enhance local care, protect population health and support international conservation efforts. Currently, plans are underway to establish an Animal Care Committee that will pull together expertise from various sources to strengthen the focus on animal enrichment, nutritional standards, and behavioural training.

CONSERVATION… The Edmonton Valley Zoo participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) to help ensure the survival of species that are threatened or endangered in the wild. Currently, the zoo is engaged in the SSP with five species: Grevy’s Zebra, Amur Tiger, Goeldi’s Monkey, Snow Leopard, and Red Panda. Over the next three years, the zoo will pursue additional SSP opportunities. Through the Makira Conservation Fund, the zoo provides monetary support to Snow Leopard Trust, Red Panda Network, Amphibian Ark, Lambas for Lemurs and the Masoala-Makira Forest initiative.

The zoo also supports the International Elephant Foundation and the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Amphibian Rescue Program. The Edmonton Valley Zoo will continue to support conservation initiatives by strengthening the promotion of these important programs with zoo visitors, assigning responsibility for conservation programs to a key staff member and establishing clear conservation targets.

CONSERVATION

The Edmonton Valley Zoo team is passionate about working to preserve the natural world and promoting environmental responsibility. That’s why a priority of the current zoo renewal is to recreate natural habitats for the animals that live at the zoo. Along with providing an improved quality of life for the animals, guests will be better able to appreciate the natural world, and hopefully take away the need to make changes in their own lives to help conservation efforts. Recreating natural habitats at the zoo is the priority, but the work doesn’t stop there. The zoo models green strategies in all it does to promote environmental responsibility and reduce its own environmental footprint.

STRATEGIES

HABITATE CONSTRUCTION… Arctic Shores recreates an Arctic shoreline within the zoo and is home to seals, sea lions, Arctic fox, and ground squirrels. Guests can explore natural Arctic land formations like pingos, and the exhibit design allows visitors to feel like they are immersed with the seals and sea lions in an ocean setting. The Wander, a magnificent central trail system, showcases interpretive displays of plants and animals native to the river valley.
Coming soon, Nature’s Wild Backyard is the place where our youngest guests will have the opportunity to interact and bond with animals. Focused on learning through play, the area will allow guests to come face to face with animals such as prairie dogs, frogs, turtles and squirrel monkeys in natural habitats.

MODELING ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY… The zoo’s green team is responsible for reviewing the zoo’s practices and procedures. This includes energy use, eco-procurement, waste reduction, atmospheric protection, water conservation, low-impact landscaping, green building practices and ecological stewardship. The goal is to reduce the zoo’s impact on the environment and model appropriate behaviours to guests of the facility. By modelling environmental responsibility, and engaging and educating visitors, the green team hopes to encourage individuals to make changes in their own lives to benefit our planet.

BUILDING AN ECO-FRIENDLY FACILITY… Consistent with Edmonton’s vision to build sustainable infrastructure, construction projects at the zoo will be models of environmental responsibility. The new Arctic Shores exhibit will capture and reuse storm water run-off and feature a green roof to reduce the volume of run-off. Pool water will be filtered naturally by plant materials in working wetlands and reused landscape plantings will be drought tolerant and dark sky compliant exterior lighting will be used. All new buildings at the zoo will take advantage of natural light and air ventilation and incorporate features that harness green technologies to leave a smaller ecological footprint on the natural systems and wild places that the zoo is working so hard to conserve.

EDUCATION

Encouraging and inspiring learning through engaging and memorable events and activities! Thousands of Edmonton region students attend zoo school each year. Oversubscribed, the school educates young people about animals, their habitats and the challenges to their survival. The zoo also provides structured public programming for all ages through day camps and specialty programs. Staff are broadening the scope and reach of this educational programming in the state-of-the-art education centre that opened in 2012. The zoo also supports research through education partnerships and conservation program participation.

STRATEGIES

EDUCATION… The Edmonton Valley Zoo intends to continue with current educational programming but broaden its offerings to attract new audiences of all ages – improving opportunities for the public to interact directly with animals. Plans are also underway to develop internet tools and programs to increase the reach of the zoo and better retain engaged audiences.

RESEARCH… The zoo has been involved peripherally in research activities over the years. With the development of improved facilities and retention of a staff veterinarian, the zoo is poised to take on a greater role in the research community. This starts with developing a formal research protocol that will include the assessment, merit review and impacts to the collection. Once the protocol is in place, staff will actively pursue additional research opportunities through the existing partnership agreement with the University of Alberta and pursue new opportunities with other post-secondary institutions. The development of post-secondary practicum student involvement opportunities is also underway.

ENGAGEMENT

At the Edmonton Valley Zoo, we recognize that for learning to be engaging and memorable, it should be FUN! And when you visit a zoo the fun centres on animal experiences and learning through play and activities. That’s why recent and future construction is underway to make animal experiences more rich and rewarding. Children can appreciate the scale of a whale as they play on a full-size whale skeleton replica; they can observe ground squirrels and then imitate these animals in an interactive play burrow. Visitors can walk through a unique Arctic landform – the pingo – where they can discover the cold heart of the pingo’s ice core. The new trail system features atmospheric play – an interactive feature that interprets rain systems, and allows visitors to cool off on a hot day. These experiences and others will keep younger visitors engaged as they learn about the world around them.

STRATEGIES

EXHIBITS… The fun begins even before visitors walk through the entry! Guests are greeted by frolicking North American river otters. From there, visitors are invited to follow The Wander trail system that features trout ponds and water play areas, along with spots to picnic. At the new zoo, there are also opportunities to role play as a veterinarian or zoo keeper and, of course, interact with a wide variety of animals!

STAFF… Everyone at the zoo approaches their work with enthusiasm and a desire to create memories for all who visit. The zoo will continue to cultivate a culture focused on providing memorable and engaging experiences. The zoo will also develop a customer satisfaction and evaluation process to continuously improve the visitor experience.

WHY ZOOS MATTER

Unlike movies, television, books or the internet, zoos provide people with opportunities to engage with animals – we see them breathe, look them in the eye, smell them, and sometimes even reach out to touch their fur, feathers or leathery skin. Zoos allow for intimate animal and people interactions that showcase the majesty of wildlife and teach people to care about the natural world around them. Once a zoo can establish this connection between people and nature, it is better able to promote further education, deeper research, and the need to support conservation efforts at home and around the world.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo has ambitious plans to become a catalyst for shaping thinking and changing attitudes about animals and the environment within Edmonton, the province of Alberta and globally.

 

OUR ROLE

The Valley Zoo Development Society’s mission is to raise funds and promote awareness to ensure the continued development of the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Each year the Society contributes money it raises to the Edmonton Valley Zoo for continual improvement projects. The Society also donates money to various charities including the Elephant Foundation and Snow Leopard Trust. Recently, the Society committed to raising money towards construction of the new family area at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, Nature’s Wild Backyard.

 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

The “Ways to Give” menu located throughout our website, is full of wonderful ways you can help the Valley Zoo Development Society raise funds and promote awareness to ensure the continued development of Edmonton’s beloved Valley Zoo. Whether you attend or sponsor one of our fun annual events, Adopt An Animal or an Exhibit through our amazing adoption program, host a fundraiser, become a donor, volunteer of your time, or simply bring your family and friends down to the zoo, you are helping make Edmonton, the province of Alberta, and the World a better place. We sincerely thank you for your generosity.

“If we don’t do something for conservation and preservation, and teach people the one word that I call LOVE… you are not going to conserve something. Where do we teach love? We teach it in zoological parks.”

Jack Hanna

Director Emeritus, Columbus Zoo Host, Jack Hanna’s into the Wild

ZOO ANIMALS

The Edmonton Valley Zoo is home to over 350 animals, whose species hail from many different climates and habitats. Located at the bottom of this page, and and on our animals wall, are photo carousels featuring the many wonderful species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and birds that call the zoo home. If you’d like to meet everyone in person, visit the Edmonton Valley Zoo today!

 

THE EVOLVING COLLECTION

Over time, the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s collection shifts and changes as the goals of the zoo and the Zoological community evolve. Decisions must be based on what is best for the individual animals and the species.

The zoo’s collection decisions are based on these criteria:
1. Can they meet the habitat and the care requirements of the animals?
2. Do they have the staff expertise to care for the species?
3. Does acquiring the species enhance learning opportunities?
4. Does acquiring the species support conservation needs or initiatives?
5. Are the animals available from other facilities?

 

WHO LIVES AT THE ZOO, AND WHY?

Collection decisions based on the best interests of animals The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s Animal Collection Plan is an evolving document that is regularly updated. And while the zoo makes plans to shift and adjust its animal collection based on the collection criteria – eliminating certain species from the plan and adding others – the actual process must be managed carefully and ethically. The recent decision to phase out elephants from the zoo collection is an example of this delicate process.

In the 2005 Master Plan, Appendix 6.3 detailed five options for the future of elephants at the zoo. These options ranged from maintaining an elephant herd to not having elephants at the zoo.

Following the release of the Master Plan, zoo staff embarked on a lengthy and thoughtful consultation and decision process. At the time, the zoo was home to two elephants, Samantha, and Lucy. It was determined that elephants will not be part of the Edmonton Valley Zoo animal collection in the long-term. With this decision in mind, Samantha, the zoo’s African elephant, was moved to become part of a breeding herd at the North Carolina Zoo. While she will not return to Edmonton, the decision was made to send her on a “loan” to ensure that the zoo retains the ability to influence any decisions made regarding Samantha’s welfare.

Lucy came to the Edmonton Valley Zoo in 1977 as a two-year-old orphan. Lucy is a calm, well-adjusted animal with some manageable health conditions, including a respiratory condition for which treatment is ongoing. It is this same condition that now precludes any thought of placing Lucy in a stressful situation, such as transporting her and/or placing her with unfamiliar caregivers in an unfamiliar environment. To do so would be life threatening. While the long-term goal is not to have elephants, the current priority is Lucy’s health and overall well-being, and the Edmonton Valley Zoo will continue to be fully responsible for her.

The process undertaken to decide the future of elephants at the Edmonton Valley Zoo highlights the care that must be taken with collection planning. Zoos are stewards of living, breathing individual animals, and the staff is committed to the best interests of these individuals – even if the species will not continue to be part of the collection in future years.

HELP BUILD OUR ZOO!

It is through today’s zoos that future generations will come to a greater understanding of the human impact on the natural world and be motivated to preserve it and reverse the damage already done. Every donation, big or small, helps us revitalize our beloved Edmonton Valley Zoo! Thank you for caring for the animals, our children's future and the planet!

DONATE!