The ‘Storyland Valley Zoo’ was leading edge in 1959. Times have changed. Today, the Edmonton Valley Zoo has gone from a 5-acre petting zoo featuring storybook characters to a 21st century centre of learning, research and conversation.
Much has changed since 1959 and prevailing attitudes towards zoo and exhibit design are no exception. The Edmonton Valley Zoo has re-calibrated its overall vision to align with these broader shifts in zoological culture and now aspires to be a global leader in conservation, education and environmental stewardship. As the primary focus of children’s activity within the Zoo, Nature’s Wild Backyard will be one of the primary enablers of the Zoo’s overall aspiration of positioning itself as a leader in these areas.
Click on the image above for a downloadable brochure detailing the phases of Nature’s Wild Backyard and what you can do to help!
NATURE’S WILD BACKYARD PHASE 2
PROJECT TIMELINE: 2023 to 2026 — Construction of the Above, Between and Under zones, and the Yard
BUDGET: $50 million
The design for Nature’s Wild Backyard is situated exactly at the intersection of environmental stewardship and a child’s thirst for knowledge and wonder. It will embrace interactive play and discovery, immersing kids in a unique environment in which they can intimately relate to the animals and environment that they are experiencing.
The zones of Nature’s Wild Backyard will allow our visitors to experience the world in the same manner as the animals that inhabit it: Above, Between, On, Under and Urban Farm.
With so many people’s gracious support, we raised more than $540,000 to finish the Conservation Carousel and construct a heated structure to operate year-round. A ride on the Conservation Carousel is by donation, raising funds for future conservation projects while educating children about the incredible animals they’re enjoying and surrounded by at the zoo. Thank you to everyone who supported the Conservation Carousel Project!
The Edmonton Valley Zoo children’s carousel is one of only two working 1959 Herschel Spillman Children’s carousels in operation, the other of which is in the Herschel museum! For years the carousel was in a state of overhaul/restoration. Included in the restoration was 20 all new carved zoo animals, 2 carved “chariots”, new hardwood decking, 52 new decorative panels, a new electrical system, new lighting, new sound and PA system and updated drive system all done by the Fort Edmonton Park volunteer carving group and their partners.
Allan Herschell formed his first company in 1872. He produced his first carousel in 1883. After a very productive life in the amusement ride business, he retired in 1911. He came out of retirement and formed the Allan Herschell Company with partners John Wendler and Ferdinand W. Fritchie in 1915. In the early 1920’s, he developed a merry-go-round that was on a smaller scale and built for children. Prior to this, the carousel or merry-go-round was considered an adult ride. The animals on the adult rides were hand carved of wood. The animals on this smaller machine were made of cast aluminum, two halves that were welded together. The decoration on the machine was very similar to the adult size rides. Mr. Herschell died in 1927.
THANK YOU TO OUR SEAT SPONSORS
Harper Rose Loughlin
Anna & Richard Fahrion
In Memory of Sharon Murray
Monica & Marvin Zeniuk
Misty and Tyler Totman – Encouraging Imagination & Creativity
Michael and Miyako Walker
The Melton Foundation
Proudly Sponsored in Honour of Zander
Members of the Lions Club of Castledowns 2015
In Loving Memory of Tim Clapson
JAHRice & Clan and Anna Gablenz
Proudly Sponsored by Kevin & Ellen
In Memory of Shauna Treichel
In Memory of Bill Hollands
Anna & Richard Fahrion
Great Horned Owl
Great Grey Owl
In Honour of Volunteers; Our City’s Life Blood (2017)
Proudly Sponsored By Rebecca & Trevor Flynn
In Honour of Dean Treichel
For All the Amazing Memories – The Melton Yohemas Family
Celebrating Jacob Alexander Waterhouse
In Honour of Our Grandchildren, Dave & Laurie Boadway
Proudly Sponsored By C & G Cameron in Honour of Our Beloved Lucy
Celebrating Peyton Sophia Waterhouse
“Laughing with Lilly” in Memory of Lillian Kostyniuk
Proudly Sponsored by Loughlin and Dubrule Families
Burrowing Owl Shield
RED PANDA EXHIBIT & VIP COURTYARD…The exhibit gives visitors a chance to get closer than ever to one of the Zoo’s most popular animals. The holding building offers privileged views into an on-exhibit winter den while also providing generous and more private quarters for the pandas.
Highlights: VIP Courtyard
ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES IN THE URBAN FARM (COMPLETED SPRING 2019!) … The goal of the Urban Farm is to personally engage guests in the world of a working farm. For the majority of urban children, a visit to our zoo will be the only time they will ever have an experience on a farm. The Farm includes indoor and outdoor spaces for cows, sheep, turkeys, chicken, ponies, pigs, goats, guinea pigs, rabbits and a barn cat. Outdoors, a contact yard provides the opportunity for guests to interact personally with a variety of species.
Highlights: Straw bale stacking; Food choice challenge; Garden to grow food for our animals
THANK YOU to OUR NATURE’S WILD BACKYARD PHASE 1 DONORS
Gregg Community Enhancement Foundation/ Gregg Distributors Sunshine Fund
Alberta beef Producers
CO-OP Community Spaces
The Avery Linton Legacy Foundation
City of Edmonton
Alberta Chicken Producers
Civic Service Union 52 Benevolent Society
Kinsmen Club Of Edmonton
The Malliner Charitable Foundation
ENTRY & WANDER – COMPLETE!
PROJECT STAGE: Completed
BUDGET: $34 million
The arrival experience to the Edmonton Valley Zoo has changed dramatically with the construction of the new Entry. The Entry Plaza provides easy and direct access to all of the zoo’s exhibit precincts.
Included in the plaza is a new Education Centre, which includes interpretive classrooms and multi-purpose spaces. The Entry Plaza also contains all the guest services: information, washrooms, ticket purchase windows, café, Zoo Store, administrative offices, and the new otter exhibit.
In line with Edmonton’s vision to build smarter and with sustainable principles in mind, the zoo’s building takes advantage of natural light and air ventilation. Its features celebrate and harness green technologies that leave a small ecological footprint on the natural systems and wild places that the zoo is working so hard to conserve.
The Wander is the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s new central corridor that houses and interprets the plants and small animals of Alberta’s North Saskatchewan River Valley while providing opportunities for pubic education, shelter, transportation, and relaxation. The Wander serves as the main public pathway to new exhibit areas such as the recently completed Arctic Shores exhibit. There is also be a new river otter habitat in the entry plaza.
There is a water feature that allows children to interact with glacial melt-water, and play features along the river’s path.
The Wander will help to shape the future zoo. As it moves from the great heights of the Rocky Mountains, falling swiftly from stone-filled mountain streams and pools, through wetlands and cobbled rivulets, to the gentle meanders of the Aspen Parkland’s and prairies of Alberta, this trail will be framed by the imposing story of Alberta’s natural history and the flora, fauna that have come to live in and shape this region.
The Wander provides ample room for guests to unhurriedly stroll through great mixed species native landscapes, enjoy engaging sculpture and art, picnic in the shade of large groves of Aspen trees, and observe free-range live animals. Each thematic area will be differentiated not only by the plantings and the interaction with water but also through the use of interpretive elements.
ARCTIC SHORES – COMPLETE!
PROJECT STAGE: Completion
BUDGET: $16.7 million, including $7 million from the Government of Alberta
Home of the Harbor Seals, Northern Fur Seals, Arctic Foxes, and Ground Squirrels! Arctic Shores is the first installment of Polar Extremes and replicates an Arctic shoreline.
Located in the open area west of the Zoo’s entrance, Arctic Shores allows guests to get closer to animals and nature. The learning experience includes a pingo for exploration (a unique arctic land formation) and a whale bone play structure for climbing. The new indoor/outdoor pool is a marvel for the seals and our visitors alike.
Arctic Shores is also home to the arctic foxes and ground squirrels.
As part of a commitment to the environment, Arctic Shores includes many sustainable features – ones that will meet the Zoo’s needs while protecting the environment and leaving an affordable legacy. Some of these features include:
- Green roof to minimize storm-water runoff
- Capturing stormwater and treating it on site using streams and a salt water marsh
- Treating the water in the seal pool on site with a combination of mechanical equipment and natural wetlands so it can be reused in the animals aquatic home
- Drought tolerant landscaping
- Dark sky compliant exterior lighting
- Use of reclaimed wood in building construction
For more information, please visit The Edmonton Valley Zoo.
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!