Edmonton Valley Zoo prepares to welcome back visitors on Thursday
EDMONTON -- A Siberian tiger rolls in the grass and yawns while a pair of zebras nervously watch new faces walk past.
A few metres away, a newborn Takin gingerly walks towards its’ mother as next door a month old camel sniffs a video camera.
The Edmonton Valley Zoo is quickly coming back to life after being closed since early January. The zoo will open its doors to the public on Thursday.
On Tuesday, media were invited to meet the newborn animals and find out how the zoo will operate.
“The current health orders allow for outdoor areas at the zoo to be open,” Gary Dewar, the Edmonton Valley Zoo director, said.
“We will need to wait until Step 3 is advanced until we are allowed to offer indoor spaces at the zoo to our guests.”
While the news on Monday to postpone Step 3 was disappointing for the zoo, it is buoyed by the fact people and animals will be almost face to face again on Thursday.
“Now that spring has sprung, we are really excited that we have an experience that we know families are going to cherish,” Dewar added.
That includes the pair of Amur tigers, zebras, snow leopards, reindeer, Arctic wolves, a family of lynx, and a number of newborn lambs, camels, and Takins.
“The key thing is that people need to book in advance,” Dewar said.
“We have reduced our capacity so you will find that it won’t be congested. Alberta Health is very confident we are providing a safe experience.”
With their indoor enclosures not open, the zoo has decided to drop daily admission rates and now offers a $129-annual family pass.
“When you walk by the zebras there is a sense that, 'Bring 'em on,' we miss them terribly! That’s what I get but you will have to judge for yourself when you come to see if they welcome you,” Dewar said.