The professional handlers at Reptilepartywny know no birthday is complete without a bite of cake, a round of games, and a quick hug from a boa constrictor. Packing exotic creatures such as snakes, tortoises, and chinchillas, they arrive at celebrations ready to let kids discover the wonders of the animal kingdom. Add-ons such as safari hats, bubble machines, and cotton candy enhance events, helping kids pretend that they’re jungle explorers or attendees at the first rave held along the Amazon. In addition to their signature menagerie, the party planners also maximize fun with attractions such as stuffed-animal creation, balloon animals, bounce houses, and costumed characters.
Environmental preservation, rehabilitation, and education abound at Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, a sanctuary harboring more than 80 nonreleasable animals from around the globe, a number of which have made on-screen appearances with the likes of Rachael Ray and Conan O’Brien. In its 25th year, the nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization hosts more than 2,500 educational programs and numerous events showcasing its panoply of raptors, wildcats, and barn owls, that, since 1994, have blossomed thanks to Hawk Creek’s barn-owl-breeding project. Hands-on activities place visitors face-to-face with the facility’s feathered residents—including a bald eagle—and an onsite gift shop brims with ornithological souvenirs and signed headshots of Big Bird.
The third-oldest zoo in the United States, the Buffalo Zoo was originally founded in 1875 as a deer park in the northwest corner of Delaware Park. Since then, it has grown into a 23.5-acre home for diverse species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish, all under the care of the Zoological Society of Buffalo, an organization dedicated to advancing the conservation of the world’s exotic, endangered, and ordinary animals. Within its habitats, creatures ranging from Asian elephants to poison arrow frogs serve as ambassadors from far-off kingdoms, and at the Delta Sonic Heritage Farm’s 1800s-era barn, a collection of berkshire pigs, southdown sheep, and other farm animals represents the fauna that once commonly lived along the Erie Canal. To carry out its educational mission, the zoo regularly hosts programs such as behind-the-scenes workshops and Zoo Snooze, in which kids can stay over for the night and wake up alongside the lions roaring angrily at their rooster alarm clocks.
Safari Niagara provides a home for more than 750 exotic and domestic animals. The park?s conservationists lead educational presentations on threatened species and aim to shape children into the world?s future caretakers through up-close interactions with the park?s most social residents. Alpacas, river otters, grey wolves, and falcons are among the many animals that prowl the 110-acre facility, which also hosts an amphitheater where guests can watch musicians shimmy and shake in their natural habitat.
Hidden Valley Animal Adventure's 60 acres are home to more than 30 species of animals—including zebras, wildebeest, and emu—who freely roam and peacefully coexist among the park's rolling plains and lush forests. Here, the park’s safaris leisurely tour through more than two miles of trails that cut through the non-African badlands. Guests hop aboard trolleys, soaking in the scenery as knowledgeable guides broaden their zoological horizons and impart facts about the park. Upon meeting a slew of animals along the path, guests outstretch feed-filled hands to nourish passing llama, camels, and hungry groundskeepers. During winter months, horse-drawn carriages gracefully escort guests through snow-covered paths behind strapping belgian draft steeds.
Located on Hidden Valley's expansive grounds, The Lodge accommodates guests with rustic hotel rooms, and its woodsy event space hosts banquets, weddings, and special events. After daylong romps through animal habitats, guests can partake in locally grown foodstuffs and libations at the Trailside Grill & Bar, sating thirsts worked up while trying to outspit a llama.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 2?4 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Recommended Age Group: All ages
Pro Tip: If you're visiting Monday?Friday between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., you will need to get a temporary parking pass.
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Public Gardens
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
Humber Arboretum staff work very closely with Humber College's Public Security to ensure that your visit is as enjoyable as possible. If anything unexpected happens, notify staff members located at the Centre for Urban Ecology, and we will work as quickly as possible to help you out in any way we can.
What?s your favorite part of your job?
My favourite part of my job is interacting with the children that visit the Humber Arboretum for outdoor education, nature camp, or just to explore this amazing urban green space.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
One thing that makes the Humber Arboretum so unique is the fact that it has 5 different ecosytems within a 10-minute walk from the Centre for Urban Ecology (Toronto's first LEED Gold certified building) located in the public garden area. Whether it's the forest, ponds, river, meadow, or our newly constructed wetlands, the 6 kilometers of hiking trails throughout the Humber Arboretum will lead you through many different natural areas for you to explore.