|Construction Start Date||2017|
(Valley Zoo Development Society to raise part of the cost)
Interactive play and education area
Nature's Wild Backyard will renew the original 1959 Storyland Zoo, creating an immersive child-focused experience. The project will build on the success of the recently completed Arctic Shores and Entry and Wander projects – the first phases of the 2005 Council-approved Edmonton Valley Zoo Master Plan.
Nature's Wild Backyard will continue to establish the Zoo as a leader in its field, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to animal welfare, education, conservation and environmental stewardship. The renewal of the original 1959 area will ensure the zoo continues to meet zoo standards and requirements which are always evolving and improving. This revitalization project will feature landscape-based experiences connected to the ecology and lives of animals including: lemurs, gibbons, farm animals, meerkats, foxes, and various other smaller appropriately themed animals. Habitats will be naturalized, educational areas that provide more opportunity for the public to interact with and Get Closer to a wide variety of animals.
Nature's Wild Backyard will be comprised of four zones, where visitors can explore how animals make their homes under, on, between and above the surface. Each area will be layered with play and educational activities. In the"Under" Zone, visitors will experience a gradual descent underground, offering eye to eye views with prairie dogs, burrowing owls, red foxes, and naked mole rats. The "Between" Zone celebrates the unique adaptations of animals that live both on land and in water including capybaras, agoutis, beavers and waterfowl. The Between Zone features split level viewing, an oversized Brazil nut puzzle challenge and giant lily pads for visitors to hop their way along the water's edge. The "On" Zone will showcase wild animals that demonstrate a range of strategies for locomotion on the ground including wallabies, emus, and fallow deer. The On Zone will also feature an Urban Farm that provides a renewed home for the zoo's popular existing Urban Farm exhibit. The "Above" Zone will transport visitors into the spectacular tree canopy so they can explore the world of species that fly, leap and climb including lemurs, red pandas, gibbons, and exotic birds. The Backyard will also renew and upgrade guest amenities that have reached the end of their lifespan such as washrooms, concession and carousel.
Nature's Wild Backyard has been divided into two phases of construction. Phase I is currently fully funded. It is anticipated that this will include the “under” and “on” zones; however the final inclusions for phase I will be determined after design is complete. Phase II will include the remaining elements and is anticipated to start following completion of the Phase I.
This project will be partially funded through the efforts of the Valley Zoo Development Society.