Discovery Wildlife Park
~The Day I Met Bears~

Hey there! Recently I had the chance to visit Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail Alberta, and today I thought  I would share my experience with you.

bears discovery wildlife park

Not Your Ordinary Zoo

I was really excited to be able to go on this day trip and see some cool animals…including bears!

A Chance to Walk on the Wild Side…

I always like going to the zoo, I feel like it’s a great experience each time, even if you've been before. But I would say that Discovery Wildlife Park is a wonderful and unique twist on your regular zoo.  The day I visited Discovery Wildlife Park was an extra special one. I mean, it's not everyday that you get to see REAL LIFE BEARS and watch them do awesome tricks.

Discovery Wildlife Park, is a great place to visit if you are in Alberta or if you have company and you want to show them around. I went with some family and friends, and we had a very fun time.

Address of Discovery Wildlife Park:  5400 42 Ave.   INNISFAIL, AB   T4G 1P9

Excited :>

On a Saturday afternoon, we drove up to Discovery Wildlife Park, which is actually about 1.5 hours away from where I live. It was a beautiful and calm drive up to the park, and I even had a little nap on the way, so I was ready for the adventure.

As soon as we entered the park, we walked into a little gift shop where you can also buy your passes. The first animals we saw where the reptiles. There are a few rooms with small animals that you can check out before going to see the bears and bigger animals.

Snakes. Wait, What?

I clearly remember seeing the snakes. There were 2 massive snakes (can't quite remember what type they were) and it was pretty cool to see them sitting in their glass box….then one of the instructors actually asked if she could bring a snake out for us, and a few people in the room said yes.

Then I started to back away slowly…

I love the way snakes look but I was a tinsy bit apprehensive of it actually COMING OUT OF THE BOX and within a metre of my face. I walked out of the room for a little bit to gain composure, and then came back again ready to see the snakes.

This was quite a highlight in the end. Snakes are so unique and interesting. In the end I managed to go closer to the snake and stroke it for a while. You can imagine how thankful I was that it didn’t like lunge at me and try to snap off my head or something. The things we scare ourselves with in our heads! But anyway, as you would expect, the instructor gently promised me that it wouldn’t do anything sudden or dangerous and this put me at ease.

I felt the snakes gorgeous scaly skin and saw the impressive, confident way the instructor held the snake.

Gus Gus the Beaver and Racoons

gus gus discovery wildlife parkGus Gus The Beaver

We went outside to see some racoons and this was also enjoyable. I learnt that racoons are clever little creatures, but a bit like thieves because they are one of those animals that likes to empty out your garbage can and have a good look at what you've got inside.

The racoons were also quite cool to see and all the while I was trying to figure out what they were thinking as they scurried around the pen sticking their faces into gaps in the gate.

After this, we went back near the entrance to watch the beaver show, which was seeing Gus Gus the beaver eating vegetables, mostly carrots while some took pictures beside him. I don’t think I had ever seen a beaver up close before. But it was a good opportunity, particularly as beavers are the national animal of Canada. Gus Gus was quite cute, but the way the beaver walked around heavily also made me laugh a bit.

Then we met BEARS.

This part was especially awesome.  I mean, bears are totally the main attraction. The bears we saw as part of the bear show were Kodiak Bears and one black bear.

The Kodiak bear is also known as the Kodiak brown bear or the Alaskan grizzly bear and  It is by far the largest subspecies of brown bear and one of the two largest bears, the other being the polar bear.

The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most widely distributed bear species.

Brown Bear

The Big Bear Show!!

We waited for the Bear show at 4:00 and it did not disappoint. The Bear show was essentially the chance to see some awesome movie bears that have been trained and used for many commercials and in famous movies.

So we stood just outside the bear section for a while as some instructors told us some rules that are important for when we enter the bear area.  Rules such as absolutely no trying to feed the bears and no running in and around the area, as that could distract the bears.

The bears have been in a plethora of movies and ads including  Jungle Book, Anchorman, Pepsi, Kellogg's Corn Flakes, Polo Toothpaste, American Express and much more. The movie I recognized a bear from was Doctor Doolittle 2 ; we saw Betty the Bear who plays Eva in that movie.

So after a brief talk-through and rules,  we went inside and enjoyed seeing each of the bears  as a group, learning a bit about them, and learning some vital bear safety rules.

We learnt what to do in the case of a bear attack, and dealing with each kind of bear, as they have different characteristics.

Here are some of the key bear encounter tips that I picked up in Discovery Wildlife Park:

Avoid bears in the first place, by:

  • Travel in groups and during daylight whenever possible.
  • Keep your dog on a leash or leave it at home.
  • Regularly shout loudly or sing when traveling around in bear country or hiking for example.

If you encounter a bear:

  • STOP! STAY CALM. Your calm behaviour can reassure the bear. Screams or sudden movements may trigger an attack.
  • NEVER RUN - running may cause the bear to pursue you.
  • Pick up small children and stay in a group.
  • Back away slowly.

If a bear attacks you!

  • Play dead!
  • Lie on your stomach with your legs spread apart and your hands interlaced behind your neck to protect it.
  • Remain still until you are sure the bear has left the area.

We also had the chance to watch the bears do tricks like doing a 'scary bear face', pretending to cry, pretending to attack, playing dead, waving and smiling, and painting a picture.

Black Bear

At the end, we had a chance to take a picture with any bear of our choice.

We took a family picture, with one of the bears doing a scary bear face behind us. It was funny, and quite tempting to take a peek through our sides to see what the Bear was up to while we were taking our picture. But It was all good, the lady who owns the bears was  supervising the trick meanwhile, aha.

I like the picture we took, but it's unbelievable and one might easily think the bear in the background is fake, but it isn't!

We Saw Real Bears!

Seeing, learning about, and being so close to the bears was such my favourite thing to do at the Park. We've heard a lot of hype about bears, especially since moving to Canada, and it was wonderful to finally see them. I loved the bear show, it was not only entertaining, but also quite informative.

For the final part of our trip, we got to see lions, jaguars, tigers, a camel and ostrich (and other cute and fascinating animals).

Basically, we had a terrific time.

I definitely recommend visiting Discovery Wildlife Park. I hope to go again and perhaps try the 'behind the scenes' big cat tour, one day.

For a one of a kind, absolutely unique wildlife experience, check out what's offered at Discovery Wildlife Park, especially if you're in Alberta.

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