Calling all wildlife fans looking for a family adventure! Join us at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, just a forty-minute drive to Aldergrove. Arriving at the gates just shy of closing, the anticipation and excitement builds. Smack in the middle of the zoo is a large park-like setting next to a pond complete with gazebos, fire pits and even port-o-lets. Nothing compares to the thrill of pitching a tent under the stars kitty-corner to a Siberian Tiger, a couple of playful baboons and a stealth jaguar. Just knowing the lions, tigers and bears are in close proximity ups the adventure ante plenty.
After setting up camp, getting settled and meeting our camping neighbors we head off on a private exploration. Zoo grounds cover a large area so you will get your fill of fresh air, nature and exercise. Note to parents: DO bring bikes or scooters for the kids if possible. The trails are paved. Although you can rent a quad cycle onsite, children old enough to pedal or push themselves solo have a hoot enjoying free reign of the park.
The night of our sleepover was just a few days before the full moon. The zoo staff set an 8pm curfew for dusk walks. Our family decided to try to make it over to the grizzly bear area before dark. We didn’t quite make it but we did catch the moose, bison, and elk along the North American walk. I released my Mamma bear and insisted we stick to the rules and make curfew. So off we trotted back to our site for the night.
The GV Zoo kindly provides each family or group with firewood and a fire pit but you do need to bring your own dinner or cook out. How campy and fun is that? Bring a guitar, marshmallows and your favourite camping accessories including a flashlight. There is something spooky about having to exit your tent in the middle of the night with no flashlight knowing there are animals all around you.
We awake to a delicious breakfast provided by the zoo and then set off an adventure-packed day. From giraffe feedings to train rides, reptile talks and lion feedings, we couldn’t have asked for a more exciting autumn day. Spending a day or a night at the zoo is an epic way to play outdoors, to embrace nature and wildlife with kids or just your inner child.
Admission and Hours:
Child 3-15: $17
Train: $5 per person
April 1 – September 30 9am to 7pm
October 1 – March 31 9am to 4pm
For more information visit www.gvzoo.com