new urban farm

Juliana piglets Hamlet and Ophelia, photo by Jill Footz

Who knew pigs loved popcorn?

Juliana piglets Hamlet and Ophelia, residents of the the Edmonton Valley Zoo’s new Urban Farm, certainly do – and they got their share of their favourite treat during a sneak peek of the Zoo’s spectacular new space. Kids were delighted to have the chance to drop popcorn pieces into the piglets’ new home – and Hamlet and Ophelia were clearly pleased to choose popcorn over the forlorn mushrooms left behind in their dinner plates, their least favourite veggie, according to zookeepers.

new urban farm

The Valley Zoo’s New Urban Farm, photo by Jill Footz

The pigs will, no doubt, get plenty more popcorn this weekend, as the new Urban Farm is set to open on Saturday, March 23 ,2019. Visitors to the Zoo will certainly recognize the construction zone occupying a good chunk of the zoo property, running North from Lucy’s elephant house North. Now the fences are coming down.

new urban farm

The new Urban Farm, photo by Jill Footz

The new Urban Farm is part of phase one of the Zoo’s “Nature’s Wild Backyard” redevelopment plan. (Completing phase one will be a new home for the Red Pandas, expected to open in a few weeks.) It will allow a collection of farm animals to call the zoo home year round, replacing the previous outdoor Urban Farm, which could only operate on a seasonal basis.

new urban farm

Nice to meet ewe! Photo by Jill Footz

Aside from Hamlet and Ophelia, the new facility is home to a trio of rabbits, a mother sheep and her two lambs, two ponies, a collection of birds (chickens, roosters, two peahens and three guinea fowl, plus an adorable group of recently hatched chicks), and a large cat named Sebastian, who proved almost as popular as the piglets. The enclosures are spacious and new, and many of them connect to external spaces that will allow the animals to roam in and out.

new urban farm

Urban Farm Contact Yard, photo by Jill Footz

The connecting outdoor space also features a common space known as the Urban Farm Contact Yard, otherwise known as the petting zoo, where people can get up close and personal with the animals. Another unique feature is a special rooftop patio that will be home to the goats. It includes a grassy area for eating, as well as bridges that will allow the goats to supervise outdoor action from all around the yard.

new urban farm

Sebastian the barn cat, photo by Jill Footz

Cows will be added to the exhibit – both the real and mechanical variety. The fake cattle will offer visitors a chance to try their hand at milking, a hands-on exhibit being sponsored by Alberta Milk. The goal of the entire space is to give visitors not only the chance to interact with domestic animals, but to gain new appreciation for where our food comes from.

new urban farm

photo by Jill Footz

At the very least, your kids can bond with pigs on popcorn vs. veggies!

New Urban Farm at the Edmonton Valley Zoo:

When: Opens Saturday, March 23, 2019
Time: 10 am to 4 pm
Where: Edmonton Valley Zoo, 13315 Buena Vista Road, Edmonton