Saskatoon's Zoo continues to grow, thanks to the involvement, committment and donations from so many individuals and organizations. More contributions equal more animals, more exhibits, new projects and great learning opportunities and experiences for all of us.
Did you know that Grizzly Bear cubs climb trees, but their parents very seldom do?
Did you know that the Swift Fox is extremely sensitive to wind and will leave its den (except to hunt) on only the calmest days?
Built in 2009, the Affinity Learning Centre received over 111,000 people between the months of April and October, 2010, alone, then close to 20,000 extra in the winter months following. Its stated goal through its varied programming is to educate both school-age and adult visitors in the areas of conservation and general animal and zoo-based knowledge. Its highly-popular Zoo School, developed by the Zoo Society, is a good example of this. In 2010 The Saskatoon Zoo received, for the Affinity Learning Centre, the Eleanore Oakes Award for significant project achievement from the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The Saskatoon Zoo Foundation and Affinity Credit Union are understandably proud of the part they have played in this very successful endeavour.
The Kinsmen Bear Exhibit is one of the most popular destinations at the Zoo. Our two young Grizzly Bears, Koda and Mistaya were rescued from the wild after the loss of their mothers, then transferred here from the Edmonton Valley Zoo and Parks Canada. The Saskatoon Zoo Foundation raised $275,000 through sponsorship and contributions to redevelop the old lions area into a new all-season home for the two bears which opened in 2008. The Saskatoon Zoo and Zoo Foundation wish to thank the Saskatoon Kinsmen Club, the Ministry of Environment- Green Initiatives Fund, the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture & Sport through their Building Communities Fund, the City of Saskatoon, Edwards Edwards McEwen Architects, Cameco, Supreme Steel and Catterall & Wright Consulting Engineers for their generosity.
Each year more than 40,000 children visit the Zoo and Park. The Animal-Themed Accessible Park Playground is a one-of-a-kind structure developed to accommodate all children, those with disabilities included. It is wheel-chair accessible and comprised of eighteen elements thematically hand-in-hand with the mammals, insects and birds of the Zoo. The Saskatoon Zoo Foundation with the generous help of the Ronald McDonald House Charities and McDonalds Restaurants of Saskatoon raised a quarter of a million dollars to fund this exciting project.
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On average the Saskatoon Zoo receives 110,000 visitors a year and the central focus of many of those attendees is The PotashCorp Ark Visiting Animal Exhibit, a project that allows visitors to see, on a rotating basis, exotic animals not seen before at the Saskatoon Zoo. Phase I, completed in 2004 saw a 3500 square foot enclose constructed that was to house Snow Leopards from 2004-2005 and a pair of Bengal Tigers from 2006-2007. Subsequently, 2008 was to witness the birth of the wildly popular duo of Bengal Tiger cubs at the Saskatoon Zoo that caused attendance to climb by almost 30,000. Currently, the Ark is hosting a pair of Lions in the facility.
Adjacent to Phase I is Phase II of the Ark project, providing an additional 7000 square feet of exterior exhibit space, viewing area, landscaping and holding area which will the facility to exhibit predator/ prey relationships, exhibit larger animals by opening the common gates between both exterior enclosures or have the capability for two new displays.