Reason #59 of '101 Reasons Why I Heart Edmonton'

Edmonton Valley Zoo

By Emil Tiedemann

I struggled with No.59 on this list, I have to admit. Not that I necessarily have anything against the Valley Zoo - an institution here in Edmonton since 1959 - but I’ve been wary of the whole zoo industry in general for years. 

However, the Valley Zoo in particular was a part of my childhood, and a part of growing up for countless locals for decades now. It’s a place where parents can take their young children for the day to teach them about other species from around the world and from throughout our own homeland. 

Lucy the Elephant (photo by Jerry Cordeiro).

I remember taking field trips in elementary school to the Valley Zoo and being fascinated with the various types of reptiles, birds, wild cats, and of course, Lucy the Elephant, who has become somewhat of the poster child for those who are against elephants in Canadian zoos. Even American game show host Bob Barker has visited the Zoo to speak out against Lucy’s northern residence, and there is an entire group dedicated to having Lucy removed and taken away to an animal sanctuary, called Save Lucy.

Despite what some zoos around the world have come to represent and despite the negative attention Lucy has spurred for many years now, I believe that the Valley Zoo is a place where children and even adults can discover and learn, and where we can walk amongst some of the most majestic creatures known to man. It will always have a special place for myself and many other Edmontonians, although I would still rather live in a world where zoos simply didn't exist. #yegzoo

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