Calgary Zoo: Day Visit and Illuminasia

Diana Chan November 5, 2015 Calgary, travel


The Calgary Zoo has been around for 80 years and is right in the heart of Calgary. The animal exhibits are organized by geographic regions in large, natural habitats. These regions include the Canadian Wilds, Destination Africa, Penguin Plunge, South America and Eurasia.

We came during high season and the admission was $24.95 per adult. Our car GPS somehow took us to their south entrance instead. We parked outside in their lot for $8. In total, M and I spent about 1.5 hours here.

Penguin Plunge


The newest and best exhibit at the zoo is the Penguin Plunge, which opened in 2012. It’s home to four species of penguins. While visitors watch the playful birds, they also learn about the impact of climate change on wildlife and what they can do about it at home. They have 4 types of penguins here – Gentoo Penguin, Humbolt Penguin, King Penguin, and Rockhopper Penguin.


The exhibit is quite large and its so awesome to see the zip through the water lightning fast. I was fortunate to grab this picture of this Gentoo Penguin.

The Prehistoric Park


The Prehistoric Park at the Calgary Zoo includes 15 model dinosaurs, replicas of an inland sea and volcanic mountain, and more than 100 species of living plants.


The area isn’t too impressive when you compare it to the Royal Tyrell Dinosaur Museum about 1.5 hours away from Calgary.

The Canadian Wilds


More than 20 acres of the zoo is dedicated to showcasing Canadian wildlife in their own natural habitat.


The Rocky Mountain Goat is super chill and he was just posing for a picture.


You can get up and close to the bears in their enclosures.


There’s a few other bears too that are smaller and lighter colours.


Inside the bird area, you will find the snowy owls hanging out.



There are more birds hiding and you’ll also see a bunch of dead mice around.


I thought this was a groundhog but this is a black-tailed prarie dog.


Crossing over to the other side, of the zoo, you will find Destination Africa, Eurasia, Conservatory, and Rainforest areas. While we were here, there was a lot of construction so some exhibits were closed.


We saw this peacock walking around freely.


We even saw some other birds just chilling on the ground.


There is a cool area with Chilean Flamingos, they are pretty neat.

The ENMAX Conservatory


The old zoo conservatory was once one of the oldest and most inefficient buildings on zoo grounds. As a LEED building, solar tubes and panels help warm the building while cisterns capture rainfall for the plethora of plant life inside.


There are a lot of plant inside. It won’t take too long to walk around their 2 area, but you should check out their butterflies.



Illuminasia ran at the Calgary Zoo nightly from September 17 – November 1, 2015. It has since ended but it was a nice change to get visitors in the park during the evenings. This was a Lantern & Garden Festival Presented by Sinopec Canada. There are 183 animal lanterns, with the additional bamboo and other décor pieces the total number of lanterns is 366 in the entire park.


Tiger lanterns during the day.

Tiger lanterns during the evening.


I liked coming in the day since the lanterns are more seamless, plus an awesome draw of the zoo are the animals. The lanterns was an extra touch.


Of all the animal lanterns, the pandas were the ones that seemed more human-like.


Tree and butterfly lantern.


I love this area with the two big birds, flowers and the bridge in the background. Pretty nice view.

1300 Zoo Rd NE, Calgary, AB


About The Author

Diana started Foodology in 2010 because she just eats out everyday! She started a food blog to share her love of food with the world! She lives in Vancouver, BC and adores the diversity of food around her. She will go crazy for churros and lattes.

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