After several years of planning and construction, the first element of Nature’s Wild Backyard at the Edmonton Valley Zoo is complete. The Urban Farm, a contemporary take on old MacDonald’s farm, has opened its barn doors.
The Urban Farm offers an immersive experience where humans and animals are surrounded by a common landscape; where boundaries are erased and zoo guests can better grasp the interconnectedness between themselves, the animals, and the environment; where you can explore the relationship between yourself and the other beings we share the planet with.
The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s role as a leader in the areas of conservation, environmental stewardship, and education is an important part of the Urban Farm experience. This open and airy modern-day farm showcases experiential learning and exhibitry at its best.
Here, guests of all ages can observe goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and a host of others in their open enclosures. Without the restriction of bars and plexiglass barriers, visitors can enjoy an intimate Get Closer experience watching the animals, listening to their grunts and bleats, and yes, smelling the hay and the scent of their feathers and hair.
Of course, you’ll want to spend time in the contact yard where visitors can give our Urban Farm critters a pat, maybe even groom a goat, or give a sweet Babydoll sheep a scratch. Drop by 364 days a year to watch the baby goats grow up or the lambs mature into sheep. Throughout the summer, be sure to check the incubation room to witness the chicks hatching.
Enjoy exhibits that explain farm life, demonstrations on how to make ice cream and card wool, and try your hand at milking a life-sized model cow. Did I mention the goats wander across the rooftop?
The Nature’s Wild Backyard design was honoured by the Canadian Architects’ Awards of Excellence in 2014, and the Urban Farm experience exemplifies why. There is a lot to do, see, and learn here.
The zoo staff – aka Urban Farmers – are always on hand to answer questions and make sure your experience is a memorable one.
Food producers such as Alberta dairy, beef, and poultry tell their stories in displays and talk about how the animals are raised and cared for. The Urban Farm will help you understand where your food comes from.
You will also learn about the importance of supporting Alberta farmers. Buying local is a sustainable approach to food production and supports conservation initiatives. All modern agriculture has an environmental impact, so one of the best ways people can reduce their carbon footprint is to buy local.
Learn how easy it is to buy locally, and how this important decision has far-reaching benefits. The on-site cafe and the Moo at the Zoo dairy bar support this mandate and source their food products locally.
Grab a friend and head down to the Urban Farm – our furry and feathered friends look forward to meeting you!