Winter is over, the flowers are blooming, and it’s finally starting to heat up! Ushered in alongside this beautiful spring weather comes the annual hunt for outdoor activities. One of the locations on our list of places to visit this year was the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Langley, BC.
This was our family’s first trip to the Zoo. Having heard a few unfavorable reviews tossed about by lower mainland families, we pulled into the zoo parking lot completely unsure of what to expect. Thankfully these rumors seem to be overly exaggerated and in actuality, are the very thing that make up so much of the zoo’s charm.
Since the zoo is a bit older, it doesn’t have the huge concrete and glass enclosures that some of the other newly-built zoos boast of. But this simplicity is actually one of the most refreshing parts of the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Surrounded by leafy foliage and well maintained grounds, you feel as if you’re walking through a giant conservation park rather than just another animal exhibit.
The zoo covers a large expanse of ground which means huge animal enclosures and lots of wide walking paths for visitors. The enclosures are so large in fact, that you may have difficulty spotting some of the animals. Thankfully, most of the animals seem to enjoy the extra attention and hang out along the edges of the fence for a photo-op or two.
Although we went on a day fairly early in the peak season, we were amazed by how open and spacious the Zoo is. If you have little ones, be sure to bring a stroller along (the entire zoo is stroller / wheelchair friendly) as there’s quite a bit of ground to cover. Many families also spent a portion of the day pedaling around on rented quad cycles or hopped on the train for a loop around the grounds.
Admission Cost: I felt that at $25 per adult (kids 2 and under are free) the cost of admission for our family was very reasonable. Keep in mind that there are a few additional costs: parking is an extra $6 for the day, and if you’d like to ride the miniature train, reservations are $5 per person.
Like all family activities, admission increases slightly during the peak season (April 1 – September 30). If you’re hoping to save a couple dollars, visit during the off season, but keep in mind there may not be as many educational talks/programs available.
If you’re planning on visiting more frequently, check out a zoo membership as they come with some great perks for activities around the city. (And vice-versa with other memberships: our Aquarium membership gave us an additional 20% off zoo admission.)
Besides the animals themselves, there’s also several talks and feedings that take place throughout the day. Alistair was fascinated by the birds swooping around in the Birds of Prey Show and us adults enjoyed watching the Lion Feeding. (Alistair on the other hand wasn’t overly impressed with the lions, he thought they were puppies…)
We spent the day at the Zoo with some family friends of ours, and after walking around for a couple hours, the little ones were ready for a snack break. The Zoo’s “Safari Grill” has the standard grill-style food at your expected zoo prices. The covered picnic area is conveniently located right next to an animal themed playground that has been purposefully designed for kids of all ages.
Ali spent the majority of our visit enraptured with the train that runs along the inside of the Zoo. Every time it looped around, we’d stop and wave at all the visitors and add our own “toot toots” alongside the train’s. At the end of the visit, our family friends lovingly bought Ali this adorable little toy train from the gift shop. The perfect ending to a delightful day!
All in all, we found this to be an enjoyable outing for the whole family – a great option for a sunny, dry day. It’s definitely on our list of repeat activities!
*All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own! Go check out the Zoo for yourself and see what you think!*