Since we needed a one night stay at the Four Points hotel in Kamloops, we thought that we'd take the opportunity to visit the BC Wildlife Park. Opened in 1966, the idea of the park was to become a tourist attraction that would help turn Kamloops into more than a one night stop for most people. I'm not sure how successful they've been in that goal (we still only spent one night), but what the park has been successful in doing is becoming a wonderful sanctuary for injured and orphaned wildlife.
There's all sorts of ways that animals end up here. Injured animals are brought here to work with rehab experts in an attempt to get them returned to the wild. Orphaned animals can find themselves here when humans bring them in, although the park stresses that unless you're 100% sure the animal is orphaned, the best plan is usually to leave the animal alone. There are also some captive breeding programs in place here, such as the burrowing owls, who have been bred and released into the wild for over 20 years from the park.
We really enjoyed getting a chance to see animals that, while native to the area we live in, are usually hard to get more than a glimpse of. My girls in particular were thrilled with the variety of animals to see, and they quickly discovered an important lesson about the animals they were observing. The stronger the caging, the more dangerous the animal. For example, this wolf had walls, but nothing too restrictive...
...While the black bears found themselves behind fairly tall steel cages.
The bison were given fairly free range in their area...
...but then again, so was the moose, despite the sign mentioning that when threatened moose have been known to charge people, cars, horses, and locomotives. I'm not going anywhere near an animal who charges a train.
The birds of course were fully caged, although most of them were there because of injury and unable to fly anymore...
...While the strongest cage (thank goodness) belonged to the two Grizzly bears that call the park home.
Surprisingly though, the Grizzlies weren't the most securely guarded animals on display. I'm not sure what he did to deserve such heavy lockdown, but I promise you this little guy wasn't going anywhere.
Of course, some of the animals didn't take a whole lot of securing. Sometimes a comfortable environment is all it takes to keep an animal from wandering, no matter how tight the containment.
We spent about a half day at the park, which was enough time to visit most of the animals. Admission in the summer months was $13.95 per adult and $9.95 per child. If you visit from September - April it's $3 cheaper (Children under 2 are free). There are animal encounters run throughout the day which are included with your admission. The park is over 100 acres, so it may seem a little large for youngsters, but it's very stroller friendly. There is also a miniature train that does a route throughout the park which only costs 50 cents per child and $1 per adult.
Just remember if you ride the train to not upset the moose. That guy's a little crazy when it comes to trains.
Written by Steve Pratt