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Assiniboine Park Zoo is a zoo that was established in 1904 at the West end of Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Zoological Society of Manitoba was formed in 1956 to provide the vision and funding for the zoo.

Assiniboine Park Zoo
Assiniboine Park Zoo 1210.jpg
Assiniboine Park Zoo entrance
Date opened1904[1]
Location2595 Roblin Boulevard
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3P 2N7
Coordinates49°52′09″N 97°13′50″W / 49.86917°N 97.23056°W / 49.86917; -97.23056Coordinates: 49°52′09″N 97°13′50″W / 49.86917°N 97.23056°W / 49.86917; -97.23056

Assiniboine Park Zoo is accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA).



Bear enclosure at the Assiniboine Park Zoo

The City of Winnipeg Parks Board purchased some native animals including deer, bison, and elk to start the zoo in 1904. In 1908, the bear enclosure was built, and by 1909, the zoo had 116 animals of 19 species.[1]

In 1916, the zoo budget was $8,000 ($1,800 for food, $4,200 for labor, and $1,158 for new construction). By 1998, the animal collection had increased to include 77 different mammal species (390 animals), 151 different birds (700 specimens), and 14 reptiles (34 specimens), with the total collection including about 1,193 individuals of 271 species, and the zoo budget was $2,497,173 ($161,800 for food and supplies, and $1,952,707 for labor).[1]

Polar Bear at the Zoo

The zoo got its first lion, a female, in 1935, and its first polar bear, a wild orphaned cub named Carmicheal, in 1939. Carmicheal got a partner in 1940—a female named Clementine.[1]

The Zoological Society of Manitoba was formed in 1956 to provide the vision and funding for the zoo. In 1957, the zoo helped develop "Aunt Sally's Farm", a children's petting zoo, and in 1959 the zoo was officially named Assiniboine Park Zoo.[1]

In the 1960s, the gibbon/monkey house was built, another orphan polar bear cub arrived at the zoo, and a snow leopard was added to the zoo. The Polar bear enclosure was renovated in 1967, adding an upper story, and two more orphaned cubs arrived. Then in 1968 and 1969, the Tropical House, Native Animal Exhibit, and a new south gate were added.[1]

In the 1980s, the Zoological Society of Manitoba, which had not been active for a while, began to provide money for new signage, exhibits, and infrastructure. The main entrance was reconstructed to include a new Gift Store operated by the Society of, and the Carousel Restaurant was renovated.

Winnie-the-Bear statue, unveiled in 1992

The Kinsman Discovery Centre opened in 1990, and a statue honoring Winnipeg the Bear (the bear that was made famous as Winnie-the-Pooh) was unveiled in 1992. A special Australian exhibit featuring koalas from the San Diego Zoo was created in 1993, and this enclosure has been used for Matchie's tree kangaroos since the koalas left.

New enclosures for the camels, yaks, and zebras, as well as the "Camel Oasis" Interpretive Playground, opened in the northwest end of the zoo in 1995. This was also the first year for "Lights of the Wild," featuring animal light sculptures presented by the Zoo and the Society for 3 weeks in the winter.

The first "Boo at the Zoo" Halloween event was held in 1996. In 1997, the "Saturn Playground" was constructed and the main restaurant facilities were renovated. The Saturn Shuttle and Kiosk information booth projects were established in 1998, as well as an upgrade to the electrical infrastructure of the Zoo.

In 2000, the Society and the Zoo started work on a new Master Plan Development Proposal (the first since 1960) for the Zoo. Initial proposals were for the redesign of the existing Polar Bear enclosure, but this eventually grew into a much larger Master Plan Development project.

In 2001 a grant from the DeFehr foundation funded the renovation of the unused Bison Restaurant Kiosk into the Palliser Interpretive Center, the headquarters for ICE Camp. An alliance with the University of Manitoba Summer Camps initiates "Mini U Zoo," where campers spend one week at the University and one week at the Zoo. The zoo master plan is unveiled to the public.

In 2004, as part of venture with the University of Manitoba Architecture Department, substantial improvements were made to the Education Centre.

In 2008 the Assiniboine Park Conservancy is created to develop, govern, and manage Assiniboine Park including the Zoo.

In June 2009, the Assiniboine Park Conservancy unveils a comprehensive $200 million redevelopment plan for Assiniboine Park & Zoo that will be completed over 10 years.

In April 2009, the first new exhibit as part of the Assiniboine Park Zoo's redevelopment plans, Toucan Ridge, is opened. The exhibit features animal, bird, and plant life of the new world tropics of Central and South America. Toucan Ridge is located in what used to be known as the Tropical House.

In June 2009, the Shirley Richardson Butterfly Garden seasonal exhibit opens.

In June 2010, the Pavilion of Lions is opened. A pair of African Lions becomes the exhibits first residents.

In January 2012, the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre is opened.

In April 2012, the Assiniboine Park Zoo becomes the only facility in North America that is home to a pair of Asiatic lions. The Asiatic Lions replace the African Lions in the Pavilion of Lions exhibit.

In May 2013, the Australian Walkabout seasonal exhibit opens to the public. The exhibit features kangaroos and emus in an expansive outdoor enclosure where visitors can enter and walk around with the animals.

In July 2014, the Journey to Churchill Northern Species exhibit opens. The exhibit features expansive new polar bear, Arctic fox, wolf, musk ox, caribou, snowy owl, and seal habitats. As well as interactive interpretive components, a short film experience inside a 360-degree theatre, and incredible underwater viewing tunnels for polar bears and seals.

In September 2014, the Assiniboine Park Zoo becomes one of only five Canadian zoos to be accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Exhibits and facilitiesEdit

Journey to ChurchillEdit

The Zoo's newest permanent area, Journey to Churchill is an exhibit representing various habitats of northern Manitoba. Churchill is home to what may be the "world's best" polar bear enclosure.

Toucan RidgeEdit

The Zoo's South American exhibit

International Polar Bear Conservation CentreEdit

Kinsmen Discovery CentreEdit

the Zoo's 2nd biggest indoor exhibit with fish snakes reptiles etc.

Polar PlaygroundEdit

Shirley Richardson Butterfly GardenEdit


North American Plains and Boreal ForestEdit

Farm Yard BarnEdit

McFeetors Heavy Horse CentreEdit


Boo at the Zoo was started in 1996 as a Halloween event. In the first year, 40,000 people attended over a ten-day period. By its 10th anniversary in 2006, when the Pumpkin Patch Maze, Area 54 and Boo Alley were added to the attractions, the event was attended by 57,400 visitors. 'Boo at the Zoo' is no longer being offered.

Lights of the Wild, featuring animal light sculptures presented by the Zoo and the Society, was first opened in 1996 for 3 weeks in the winter. It was discontinued in 2000 and the lights were all sold to Portage Island of Lights.


The zoo hosts summer day camps for children of all ages.[3]

Guided School and Group Tours.[4]


Species Survival Programs.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Zoo History". Zoological Society of Manitoba. Archived from the original on 16 February 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Accredited Members". CAZA-AZAC. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Zoo Day Camps". Zoological Society of Manitoba. Archived from the original on 2 October 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Guided School and Group Tours". Zoological Society of Manitoba. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Species Survival Programs". Zoological Society of Manitoba. Archived from the original on 26 November 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2014.

External linksEdit