See exotic animals and even dinosaurs as you wander through botanic gardens and re-creations of diverse habitats ranging from Africa to South America.
Catch the C-Train from downtown to the Calgary Zoo and gardens located on St. George’s Island and the banks of the Bow River. Here you’ll find creatures large and small, and even prehistoric! If you’re visiting the zoo on Sunday, kick off your visit with a safari brunch in the Destination Africa area.
Start your zoo exploration at the Penguin Plunge, in the chilly Antarctic area. Meet four types of penguin: the Humboldt, gentoo, rockhopper and king. On this side of the water you’ll also find the dinosaur park, where you can get close to life-sized replicas of dozens of dinosaur species lurking in prehistoric foliage. Nearby in the Canadian Wilds habitat you will encounter local species of bear, moose, buffalo, puma, otter, marmot and many more creatures that are difficult to spot in the wild.
Take the footbridge over to St. George’s Island, where the creatures of Eurasia, South America and Africa await. Keep your eyes peeled for the red river hogs in the African Savannah as they often have cute piglets. The Calgary Zoo has also had success with gorilla breeding programs.
Be sure to visit the Amur tigers in the Eurasian habitat, where you’ll also see snow leopards, Japanese snow monkeys and red pandas. In the South American habitat, the marmosets and other monkeys steal the show.
As you walk through the different habitats of the zoo, keep an eye out for the changes in flora. One of the most striking features of the zoo is its botanical garden. The Dorothy Harvie Gardens has almost 6 acres (2.4 hectares) of native plants. The conservatory here houses many species of birds and invertebrates, and has four themed sections: the tropical garden, arid garden, rainforest and butterfly garden.
Calgary Zoo is located in Bridgeland, a few minutes’ drive east of downtown. There are two on-site parking lots, which charge a daily fee. The zoo is open daily, except for Christmas Day, and has an admission fee.