Sure, we’ve got plenty of wild animals roaming around in our backyards and parks, if you count crafty raccoons, dare-devil squirrels, and super speedy hummingbirds as “wild”. And of course, you could go out about an hours drive any direction from Kitsilano to look for deer, eagles, and even bears. What’s more convenient and fun though is visiting one of these great menageries in and around Vancouver.

They are not just fun for families; try taking your date to one of them too! In addition, springtime is perfect for viewing wildlife, as the weather is mild, the tourist crowds are still manageable, and little ducklings, eaglets, and cubs are being welcomed into the world.

1. Southlands Farm

This little working farm is probably the closest to our Kitsilano neighbourhood in terms of travelling time as it is located in the Dunbar-Southlands area, just a short 15min drive south. Here you’ll find roaming chickens, some sheep, a pig, bees, and lots of horses. There’s a little market stand as well, and the popular pony rides are usually available around noon for about $10/child. Admission is by donation and street parking is easy and free.

2. Vancouver Aquarium

Most of us are familiar with this aquarium and have seen it go through many changes over the years. It’s bigger than ever, busier than ever, but still has it’s charming ocean creatures including beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, penguins, and many many fish. There’s also a tropical zone with parrots, monkeys, reptiles, and insects. Admission fees. Parking can be challenging and expensive so consider other options like transit or biking in.

3. Maplewood Farm

Operated by the North Vancouver Parks Department, this well organized and tidy farm is hugely popular with school-aged kids. You’ll find horses, sheep, goats, cows, pigs, donkeys, rabbits, ducks, birds, and lots of unique-looking chickens running around. The rabbits will eat your fresh veggies and the birds will eat seeds that you can buy at the farm. Plus there’s a cow milking demo every day at 1:15pm. Admission fees. Parking is free and onsite.

4. Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife

At our famous Grouse Mountain is a 5 acre mountaintop habitat that is home to two Grizzly Bears, and a 3 acre wolf habitat at the base of the mountain. The bears were rescued orphans but have been at Grouse for years now and visitors can participate in their morning feedings as well as enjoy their own breakfast. There’s also a raptor program and summer bee hive tours. Admission. Paid parking is available.

5. George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary

This is a 740 acre protected area in Delta consisting of marshes, wetlands, and dykes, and includes walking trails, lookouts, bird blinds, and a little shop. Come here if you are a bird enthusiast as their are over 250 species of birds recorded at this sanctuary. In spring it’s a great time to see sandpipers, eagles, cormorants, and ospreys, along with resident ducks, geese, cranes, blackbirds, owls, and hummingbirds. Admission. Free parking.

6. Greater Vancouver Zoo

Way out east in Aldergrove is this sprawling park where you can spend an entire morning or afternoon walking around and getting to know some of the exotic and local wildlife. Expect to see lions, cheetahs, tigers, wolves, bison, capybaras, camels, giraffes, elk, zebra, hippos, monkeys, reptiles, and many birds. Don’t miss the daily safari mini-train, lion & tiger feedings, and the cool Radical Raptors presentation. There’s also a gift shop, restaurant, playground, and picnic area. Admission. Paid parking.

Last modified: January 27, 2017

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