Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bowmanville Zoo: A great fall outing!

I badly needed to update my photos of Bowmanville Zoo so last weekend, I decided to do something very daring... I took three teens to the small zoo, with a friend of mine. (Actually, it wasn't that daring. One of them had expressed the desire to visit a zoo to take animal shots.)

It is worth describing Bowmanville Zoo at this time of the year since it will be open daily throughout September and on weekends until Thanksgiving Weekend (including Thanksgiving Monday).

Perfect stroll in the fall
We all loved it! After an incredibly hot summer, the cooler sun of September was more than welcome and the animals were quite lively.

The site is filled with mature trees so it is always nice to stroll around this zoo. (We saw many three-generation families enjoying the premises.) They provide shadow in the summer and the colours are gorgeous in the fall.

What makes it even better is the catwalk Bowmanville Zoo has added over a little forest near the Animatheatre. It is an upraised boardwalk allowing us to look at two wolves and one lion down below (not in the same pen). Weather allowing, after the shows in the Amphitheatre, people can tour the enclosed pens under the catwalk in a bus dressed up as a vintage trolley while a zoo keeper interacts with the animals.

Something fishy!
September is the perfect time to watch salmon swim up the river in the north side of the zoo. We could see (and hear) them from the catwalk. They're quite big and strong!

Close-up opportunities
One of the reasons it is a great place for young photographers is that we can buy $2 bags of biscuits to feed the animals. They look yummy, in their greasy brown paper bags. (Watch out for your little ones, they probably will be tempted to eat some!)

As soon as the animals see people approaching the fences, they greedily run towards the visitors. (Even at the end of the season, they still haven't tired of the treats.) All the animals seemed healthy and fit so I'm assuming the biscuits sort of "go through" (if you know what I mean).

The parrots located near the entrance are very colourful and fun to watch. Since they can't fly, there was no need to put them in a cage, which makes them more interesting to photograph.

Animals, activities and extras
The zoo hosts around 300 animals including: elephant, lions, tapir, all kinds of horned animals, emus, camels, parrots and monkeys.

Activities offered daily during the summer, are still on on the weekends during the fall, such as the shows in the Animatheatre (look for the show schedule at the entrance). They last longer in the summer but we could still enjoy a half-hour performance involving a lemur, a miniature horse and a humongous Asian elephant.

There's a carrousel and two other little kiddie rides in the Funland by the entrance (staff members operate them one at a time). In the summer, kids can enjoy a large splash pad conveniently equipped with a line of benches for the parents and enjoy more animal encounters.

All these activities are included with the admission. You can pay $6 extra for a ride on the elephant or on a camel near the camel enclosure.

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• Their end-of-the-season admission fees don't show on their website. It is now $17/adults and $12/children (tax included).
• Go to their website to print a coupon for a free kid admission with a paying adult.
• There's a Wimpy's Diner less than one km west of Bowmanville Zoo at 219 King Street East in Bowmanville.
• To get to the zoo, take exit 432 off Hwy 401to Liberty Street, then turn right on King East. The zoo will be on your left.

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