Photo by Amanda Gaude
By: Joe Lipovski
The Edmonton Valley Zoo is welcoming red pandas to the newly opened Urban Farm.
The red pandas will move into their new home in the Urban Farm, however their outdoor space is not ready for them to move in yet. Until then, the red pandas will remain in their temporary enclosure inside the Sato Centre. The Urban Farm is expected to be completed for early summer.
So far, only a handful of animals have been moved to the new Urban Farm. The zoo’s two Juliana pigs, Ophelia and Hamlet, are the stars of the show and are among the Urban Farm’s first tenants.
The new Urban Farm, made up of several indoor stalls for the petting zoo, allows the zoo to use the Urban Farm year–round. The Urban Farm will also include a new restaurant and concession. The farm is part of a $45 million construction project. The new facility is replacing the old barn yard, originally built in 1959. The old barn yarn was one of the many attractions in the zoo that was open seasonally.
With more indoor spaces, the Urban Zoo and restaurant will be open throughout the winter. The area was originally a concession stand, restaurant, educational space and a merrygo-round. Before the construction began, the area was open seasonally. There was also enclosures for the prairie dogs, who are currently in Calgary, and red pandas.
Now that the Urban Farm is open, the Valley Zoo Development Society is planning to begin the second phase of this massive construction project, it’s called Nature’s Wild Backyard. However, the City of Edmonton didn’t have enough money in the current budget for the zoo’s upcoming projects. As a result, many have been cancelled.
The Edmonton Valley Zoo and the Development Society have put phase two of Nature’s Wild backyard on hold until September 2019, until they find a way to pay the $39 million needed for the second phase.
The second phase on Nature’s Wild Backyard will be on the site of the old barn and the pond. This phase will change the layout of the zoo, occupying the space currently used by the last of the Storyland themed buildings. These remaining buildings were from the zoo’s opening and make up the original part on the Zoo built in 1959.
Until the remaining construction cost is acquired, the buildings from the old storyland theme, will have to stay. The pond and surrounding enclosures will be torn down in order to make way for the next phase of the zoo’s redevelopment.