Animals at Discovery Wildlife Park are waiting the return of visitors in the spring. (Photo contributed)

Animals at Discovery Wildlife Park are waiting the return of visitors in the spring. (Photo contributed)

Central alberta wildlife park thankful for local support

Discovery Wildlife Park expects to reopen May 1

Innisfail’s Discovery Wildlife Park says animal care remains its top priority and the efforts of central Albertans to “support local” during the pandemic has made that possible.

“We’ve been very, very fortunate that the level of care we’re providing has not decreased in the slightest. We’re not willing to sacrifice the care of the animals. Care of the animals is first and foremost,” said zookeeper Serena Bos.

“We’re not going to not get hay in. We’re not going to not have the vet do the care they require.”

She said their 19-year-old tiger has arthritis and requires expensive, daily arthritis medication, so that’s what she gets.

Large zoos across Canada have likewise been impacted by the pandemic, but Discovery is smaller with fewer buildings to heat and maintain so overhead costs are lower, she said.

Last year Discovery was restricted to vehicle traffic in May and June and the animals noticed the difference.

“A lot of them could not understand why those people weren’t getting out of the vehicles to come talk to them. They do truly enjoy having the public around. When we were able to open for foot traffic on July I, it was so fun watching the animals watching the people. All the animals just lit up.”

“It’s kind of a win-win. The animals benefit, and visitors can also enjoy the animals.”

She said the park will reopen May 1 one way or the other.

“We do have reason to believe we’ll be able to reopen for foot traffic, not a drive thru. But if the pandemic takes a turn and that’s not possible, we will make accommodations so we can still open and be safe.”


‘I’ve been pushed to my absolute breaking point;’ Canadian zoos struggle to survive

Zoos await proof COVID-19 spread to tiger

Safe, recycled playground equipment is being installed around the 90-acre park young visitors, she said.

“They don’t have to be near other people. People can come out and can feel safe even though we’re in a pandemic. It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to still be able to actually get outside, do something fun with their families and get to experience wildlife.”

She said in addition to buying season memberships and staying at the park’s campground, people can support the park by donating freezer burnt meat they plan to throw away, refundable bottles and cans, or by making monetary donations.

“It means the world to us. Without people supporting us, we can’t do what we do.”

— with files from The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Animals at Discovery Wildlife Park are waiting the return of visitors in the spring. (Photo contributed)

Animals at Discovery Wildlife Park are waiting the return of visitors in the spring. (Photo contributed)

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Traffic will be delayed on 40th Avenue and 19th Street until the end of February. (Advocate file photo).
Traffic delays expected downtown this weekend

Red Deer drivers will be delayed in the downtown area of the… Continue reading

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read