Vancouver Game Farm: 1970–95
In the late 1960s, businessman Pat Hines purchased 120 acres (49 ha) in Aldergrove, British Columbia to construct a game farm. At first, Hines registered the business as the World Wide Game Farm Ltd., but on August 20, 1970, the site was opened to the public as the Vancouver Game Farm. The first animal to arrive was a llama named “Dennis”, who came from Mount Vernon, Washington. Soon after, animals of every size and description began to fill the newly constructed paddocks. Hines operated the game farm with his wife, Ann, other family members, and their employees. Their daughter Eleanor and her husband, Hugh Oakes, eventually took over management of the facility until 1991, when it was sold.
Greater Vancouver Zoological Centre: 1995–99
Under new ownership, the game farm underwent many changes, including a new name. In 1995, it was renamed the Greater Vancouver Zoological Centre, since it is part of the Greater Vancouver area rather than being a part of Vancouver. Improvements included the construction of new animal enclosures, miniature train rides, a picnic park with covered gazebos and barbecues, expanded landscaping, a remodeled entrance, more parking spaces, interpretive and educational programs and activities. In 1998, the North American Wilds exhibit opened, providing a narrative safari bus ride for visitors through one area where carnivores like black bears, coyotes, and Vancouver Island wolves live together; and travel into another habitat where grazers like the Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer, and North American plains bison roamed. But after four years, there were more changes.
Greater Vancouver Zoo: 1999–present
In 1999, the facility went through another ownership change and was eventually renamed the much simpler Greater Vancouver Zoo. During this period, the zoo (as with most other zoos and aquariums these days) focused more towards conservation and to building up its educational programs.
In 2000, the Greater Vancouver Zoo joined the Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Program. At the time, the frog was the only species to receive an “emergency listing” as an endangered species in Canada. The zoo is currently still involved with this program, releasing frogs into the wild after they are weighed, measured, and tagged. Furthermore, many animals have been rescued over the years and eventually released back into the wild, but some animals like “Shadow”, a grizzly bear, could not be returned because she had been abandoned as a young cub and was not able to learn the skills needed to survive in the wild. In addition, the majority of the zoo’s reptiles, exotic birds, various cat species, and many others were taken in for numerous reasons, such as being rescued from the illegal pet trade or after being abandoned as pets.
New educational programs were introduced by the zoo. In 2005, the “Radical Raptor Birds of Prey” show was created, in which eagles, owls, hawks, and falcons performed free flying presentations at the zoo’s amphitheatre. Since then, the zoo has introduced a one-week summer camp program for children ages 10–14 to handle and learn about the many birds of prey species since 2007. In 2006, the zoo opened its indoor “Animalasium – Educational Training Centre” to teach the public about conservation and education for animals and their environments. In addition, the centre will also be used for various other functions, such as birthday parties, group sessions and guest speaker events. Furthermore, the zoo offers educational walking tours for school groups that is based on a B.C. Ministry of Education curriculum.
The new owners also completed building new enclosures for the grizzly bear, the Arctic wolf, the camels, the mountain sheep, and the hippopotamus, while making improvements to the giraffe enclosure. On August 23, 2008, the zoo introduced a pair of muskox to their new 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m2) enclosure, which with the Arctic wolf, Arctic fox, reindeer, and emperor, and snow goose enclosures,
SO MUCH TO SEE AND DO
Capilano Suspension Bridge crosses to towering evergreens, cedar-scented rainforest air and Treetops Adventure, 7 suspended footbridges offering views 110 feet above the forest floor. The new Cliffwalk follows a granite precipice along Capilano River with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms and only 16 anchor points in the cliff supporting the structure!
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
Treetops Adventure is one the most popular experiences at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and the first venue of its kind in North America. It offers a squirrel’s eye view of a thriving coastal forest.
Guests, and squirrels, can enjoy an even higher perspective of the West Coast rainforest at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Treetops Adventure, a series of seven suspension bridges attached to eight 30 ton, 250 year old Douglas-firs. Built in 2004, the innovative and award-winning Treetops Adventure was designed to accommodate the continuous growth of the trees. The viewing platforms are attached to an innovative tree collar system that is adjustable and moveable and has no nails or bolts penetrating into the Douglas-firs. It is unlike any canopy walk in the world.
Visitors are able to venture from one magnificent Douglas-fir tree to another on a series of elevated suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 110 feet (33.5m) above the forest floor. Guided nature tours and the Kids’ Rainforest Explorer Program are some of the Vancouver activities that enhance this unique rainforest encounter. Recognized for extraordinary innovation with national and provincial tourism and engineering awards, a walk on Treetops Adventure has emerged as one of Vancouver’s quintessential activities.
Visitors looking for unique Vancouver activities and seeking adventure without danger love Treetops Adventure. It offers guests yet another exceptional experience, enhancing Capilano Suspension Bridge Park’s reputation as one of Vancouver’s top attractions.
The Vancouver Aquarium (officially the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre) is a public aquarium located in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. In addition to being a major tourist attraction for Vancouver, the aquarium is a centre for marine research, conservation and marine animal rehabilitation.
The Vancouver Aquarium was one of the first facilities to incorporate professional naturalists into the galleries to interpret animal behaviours. Prior to this, at the London Zoo Fish House, naturalists James S. Bowerbank, Ray Lankester, David W. Mitchell and Philip H. Gosse (the creator of the word aquarium) had regularly held “open house” events, but the Vancouver Aquarium was the first to employ educational naturalists on a full-time basis. Aquarium research projects extend worldwide, and include marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation.
On August 9, 2010 Prime Minister Stephen Harper and B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell announced capital funding of up to $15 million. The province would donate $10 million in funding over the next three years to help pay for a planned expansion of the 54-year-old facility, Premier Gordon Campbell said. Harper added that Ottawa would hand over up to $5 million to the aquarium for infrastructure upgrades. The aquarium, however, remains a nonprofit organization. The property is owned by the City of Vancouver and rented to the Aquarium for $40,000 a year since 1991 (prior to which it was $1 per year).
In October 2009 the Vancouver Aquarium was designated as a Coastal America Learning Center by the US Environmental Protection Agency. As the first Learning Center in Canada, this designation is intended to strengthen the Canadian/U.S. partnership for protecting and restoring shared ocean resources.