Giraffes, Elephants & A Water Park…..Oh My!

5 Aug

I am joining in the Summer of Awesome fun that was started by Lynn at Diary of a Turtlehead.  My friend Sara at My Points of View joined in and I decided to jump on board as well!

My lovely husband has been talking about us going to the Granby Zoo for years. Long before we ever had a cute little toddler running around our house.  My husband grew up in the Eastern Townships and went to the Granby Zoo numerous times as a child but that was over 20 years ago!  So we decided this was the summer that we would make our first trip, one of many to come!  We were invited by Granby Zoo to attend for the day as their guest.

We loaded the car up and left Ottawa around 8 on a Thursday morning (don’t leave earlier than this on a weekday if heading to the other side of Montreal. One word….TRAFFIC!)  The cooler was packed with our lunch for the day and snacks for the drive.  The drive is extremely reasonable for families within the Ottawa area.

We arrived at the Granby Zoo an hour after it opened, and thankfully the parking lot was not yet full.  This meaning that the zoo was not going to be packed.  Many families had the same thought as us to hit the zoo during the week, but not an overwhelming amount, and there were some large buses with day campers.

Immediately upon approaching the ticket kiosks there are bathrooms, with several stalls.  This is very much appreciated, especially for us on longer drives who may not want to wait until after purchasing tickets to find a washroom.  When you gotta go….you gotta go!  Our tickets were waiting for us at Base de Camp so we were able to bypass the ticket kiosks right outside the main entrance but there were no long line ups and there was plenty of staff to ensure everyone was served in a timely manner.

The first thing we did after entering the zoo was visit the new South Pacific Pavillion.  There are rays you can touch up close and personal.

My favourite was definitely the fish tank that was a tribute to Dory & Nemo 🙂

The pavillion was definitely a great addition to the zoo, especially with the brand new show Kaila.  This fantastic multi media show was created by Moment Factory, a company who has also worked on Cirque de Soleil in Montreal and Celine Dion’s Vegas shows!  More to come on Kaila in an upcoming blog post!  See a sneak peak here.

Our busy toddler definitely enjoyed the petting zoo where he got to get up close and personal with pigs and goats.  For 25 cents you can purchase animal food but be warned that those silly goats will most likely have the food taken out of the machine before it even gets to your hand.  I tried to give them a gentle nudge out of the way but they are determined and very friendly 🙂

We sat down for a quick bite to eat with the sandwiches we had packed on a nearby bench.  There are numerous benches and picnic tables throughout the zoo.  The next time we go I will definetely be waiting to eat our lunch in the Africa section where you can get up close and personal to the giraffes, elephants and zebras.  With beatiful thatched roof huts for shade while enjoying your yummy lunch the view is gorgeous!  When we hit this part of the zoo it was around 1:30 and there was hardly anybody there.  Would have been a great time for a later lunch.

Africa was most defintely my favourite section of the zoo with large pieces of land for the giraffes, elephants, zebras and many other animals could room freely in the “savannah”.

Oceania allowed us to discover Australia with kangaroos and wallabies jumped, moved and rested as zoo goers walked along a path all within the same open area.  According to their website sometimes these Wallabies will even come up to visitors so you can give them a pet (please do not feed them or approach them off the path….this is their home!) but they seemed very happy to play with their friends in the longer grass not too far away as we observed.

Tigers & leopards can be found in the zoos Asia section, along with shaded picnic tables and a fun play area for kids to slide, run off some energy and laugh with their friends.  This is a great place to stop either for lunch or a mid visit stop and snack. Take a break, sit and relax, while the kids continue in the fun.  We took a few large water bottles frozen that we enjoyed throughout the day as they melted and we could cool off as well as all of our snacks and lunch.  We did enjoy a shared ice cream cone with babe.  There are various options for food for those who do not want to pack their lunch.  Please note that glass containers are not allowed within the waterpark area.

We ended off the day by taking all of our things back to the car (just a short walk from the main entrance) and got our things that we wanted to take to the water park.  Yes, there is a water park!  This is definitely an addition to the zoo since hubby went as a kid 😉 The Amazoo Yoplait Water Park was a great place to cool off and was quite busy as everybody else had the same idea as us to top off their day with a visit here.  On our next visit (yes, we are already planning to go back!) if it’s a warm day we will be doing the waterpark first and the zoo after as it seems others do the opposite.

We ran into a small issue while at the waterpark that cut our visit short. You see I was wearing my Bravado Nursing tank. A top I  wear quite often while swimming, as it makes a cute tankini and is still breastfeeding friendly.  However we were unaware that cotton is not allowed in the water at the Granby Zoo waterpark. I had worn the top at several other facilities over the past year and as a lifeguard have never had a problem with patrons wearing cotton in the pool.  This was not properly explained or written in the rules upon entering.  We were only made aware of this right before getting on the lazy river, after standing in a line up!  I was not overly happy with the lifeguards explanation, as he stood there with his cotton shirt on.  Anyways a rule is rule and I definitely respect that.  I understand that rules are in place to keep everyone safe and that each facility is able to develop their own rules and regulations.  Safety of all patrons is extremely important while in such a large area and I know first hand the diffculties that can be brought forward when trying to balance water chemicals and levels with the sun and the number of people in the water changing the equation of keeping everything well balanced.  I was disappointed that this was not properly written for visitors to understand the rule (it just states you must be wearing tight fitting bathing suit, doesn’t state certain type of material) so I clarified the situation with somebody within the communication department. I was extremely happy with the quick response that was given and am happy to report that the website now contains easy to understand and very clear rules and was told that the signs at the main entrance and before entering the water park will be changed.  This small snag did not impact our experience as it was the end of the day and we were all getting tired and I am glad we will know for next time 🙂

All in all we cannot wait to go back for another visit and are thinking of maybe heading there in early September to enjoy a Fall visit!  It will definitely be part of our summer visits to Nana & Poppa Coaches.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Granby Zoo, just a short distance away from Ottawa & Montreal I highly recommend that you try to head that way with the family this summer or next.  Even if you are in Toronto it would make a great few day short vacation!  Take a day or two to enjoy Montreal, visit Granby Zoo, spend some time in the Eastern Townships and enjoy the scenary.  Cottage rentals are quite popular in this area of Quebec.

If you have been to the Granby Zoo before I would love to hear what your favourite parts where, any info you found useful and would like to share for our next visit and more!

In the meantime you can follow Granby Zoo on twitter @zoodegranby  and find them on facebook where they post lots of fun info and upload videos of what is happening at the zoo. Check out their youtube channel and catch up on great videos of what is happening at the zoo.  This baby giraffe is super cute in this video from April.

I would like to thank Granby Zoo for providing my family with entrance tickets for our visit.  All opinions in this blog post are 100% mine and no money compensation was received in exchange for this review

4 Responses to “Giraffes, Elephants & A Water Park…..Oh My!”

  1. Megan August 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    I suggest you make your visit during the winter! Most of the animals are still visible and are even more active during this season. You even get the chance to visit some of the more chilly animals, like the giraffes, in their inside quarters. It’s a unique opportunity!

    • namastemommy August 9, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

      ooh good to know Megan, thanks! Will def. have to make a winter time visit then!

  2. Alicia August 10, 2011 at 12:26 am #

    Wow, what a great review. We are hoping to visit this zoo this year too as part of our Summer of Awesome. Thanks for sharing!


  1. Top 5 Places to Visit- Montreal | - December 10, 2011

    […] and a wonderful water park be sure to pack a lunch and plan to stay for the full day!!  We spent a great fun filled day at Granby Zoo this summer and will be back next […]

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