Our kids are nuts for animals. When they aren’t pretending to be them, they love any opportunity to hang out with furry, feathery, creepy-crawly, or slithery friends. We love visiting the Zoo and we’ve enjoyed many afternoons at the Aquarium, but sometimes we want a different animal experience. We’re talking farms, petting zoos, and other ways to get up close to animals in a safe and friendly environment. We love that these opportunities give our kiddos the chance to learn all about animals and what goes in to caring for them. If possible, they fall even more in love with animals each time we go on one of these outings!
Here are a whole bunch of places in Metro Vancouver where you and your family can visit with animals.
Visit a working farm
Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley are rife with working farms, lots of which love to have visitors! You can meet some dairy cows, feed chickens, and see baby goats kidding around. Your kids will see how animals contribute to a farm. They’ll learn where the milk comes from that they pour on their cereal in the morning. They may even learn about manure! Here are a few of our favourite farms to visit —
Maplewood Farm | maplewoodfarm.bc.ca
405 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver, open daily 10 am – 4 pm, Cost: adults $7.95; Children $4.80; Kids 18 months and under are free
Maan Farms Country Experience | maanfarms.com
790 McKenzie Road, Abbotsford, open daily (as of May 5th), 9 am – 6 pm, Cost: Kids 3+ $8.50, Parents $5, Kids 2 and under are free
EcoDairy | ecodairy.ca
1356 Sumas Way, Abbotsford, open Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm & Sundays 11 am – 5 pm, Cost: Adults $9; Students (13 – 18) $7; Children $5; kids 0 – 2 are free
Southlands Heritage Farm | southlandsfarm.ca
6767 Balaclava Street (at W 51st Ave), Vancouver, visiting hours 9 am – 5 pm daily
Visit a nursery or garden centre
A few of the nurseries and garden centres in Metro Vancouver also have animals you can visit with. Some places even let you feed them! Next time you are in need of some flowers, potting soil and a beautiful new hanging basket, bring the kiddos along and have fun hanging out with goats, chickens and other animals!
Port Kells Nursery | portkellsnurseries.com
18730 88th Avenue, Surrey, open Saturday – Wednesday 9 am – 6 pm & Thursday – Friday 9 am – 8 pm, Cost: Free, but bring some quarters for pellets to feed the chickens
Devan Greenhouses | devangh.ca
28904 Fraser Highway, Abbotsford, open in May Monday – Friday 9 am – 8:30 pm & Saturdays 9 am – 6 pm; June – October Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 6 pm; always closed Sundays, Cost: free, but bring some quarters for animal feed
Visit a petting zoo
This is the classic way to get up close with friendly animals, but beyond holding out for the fair, where can you pet some cute little goats and snuggle with soft bunnies? The Queen’s Park Petting Farm in New Westminster is one place to go, kids will get to learn about and have contact with a wide assortment of common farm animals. Another place to check out is the Petting Zoo at Gagan Farm Market. They have long eared bunnies, waddling ducks, honking geese, silly goats, loveable ponies, and lots of exotic birds!
Queens Park Petting Farm | newwestcity.ca
3rd Ave, New Westminster, Open daily from mid-May – September, 10 am – 5:30 pm, Cost: by donation
Gagan Farm Market & Petting Zoo | gaganfarmmarket.com
35826 S. Parallel Rd, Abbotsford, Open daily, 9 am – 7 pm, Cost: by donation (suggested $5 per vehicle)
Take a walk in a park
While you won’t be able to be as up close as the other options, taking a walk in a park close to home is a fabulous way to see local creatures, particularly of the feathered variety. Birds are out in abundance, especially time of year! If you’d like some guidance, try joining a local bird walk. Metro Vancouver Regional Parks operate several nature walks every month, as does the Stanley Park Ecology Society and the City of Surrey. You can also head to a bird sanctuary to see even more feathered friends. Here are a few you can visit —
George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary | reifelbirdsanctuary.com
5191 Robertson Rd, Delta, open daily 9 am – 4 pm, Cost: Adults $5; Children $3; kids under 2 are free
Great Blue Heron Natural Reserve | chilliwackblueheron.com
5200 Sumas Prairie Road, Chilliwack, open daily 10 am – 4 pm, cost: free
Bloedel Conservatory | vancouver.ca
4600 Cambie Street, Vancouver, open daily 10 am – 8 pm, cost: Adults $6.50; Youth (13 – 18) $4.35; Child (4 – 12) $3.15; kids 3 and under are free
Do you have a favourite spot to see animals in your neighbourhood? We’d love to know about it! Leave a comment below or drop us a line.
Yo, mama! Looking for more spring fun? We’ve got you covered:
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By: Michelle Hughes