I am a big offender for spending the winter months in hibernation. I hate the cold, and while I am always up for a new adventure, mixing my lack of coordination with ice and snow has always seemed like a recipe for disaster. I haven’t even been to the Oval yet…
This winter, I have made the conscious decision to be more active. Winter can be long in NS, and I refuse to spend another season watching Xena re-runs on Netflix. Over the holidays, I read a news article on ways to stay active in NS over the winter. There were quite a few suggestions, but the one that stood out most for me was snowshoeing at Shubenacadie Wildlife Park (@ShubenacadieSam, wildlifepark.novascotia.ca).
I used to go to Shubie wildlife park as a child, but I had no idea that you can stop in during the winter months. As it turns out, the winter is one of the best times to visit the animal residents of the wildlife park. In winter, you have the opportunity to see them in their winter coats.
We were happy to hear that Charlie was able to accompany us for snowshoeing. Dogs aren’t allowed in the wildlife area (for obvious reasons) but they do have a sheltered area during the summer months where you can leave your dog in their kennel.
It was a perfect day for snowshoeing. There were a few centimetres of snow already down, and a light snowfall in the air. It was the picture of a winter wonderland. Sue, our guide, took us along a woodsy path, telling us a bit about the animals in the area. We were also given a sheet of animal tracks so we could have a bit of a treasure hunt during our walk. We didn’t see many during our hike, but we did see a few birds’ nests.
Neither @DrewMooreNS or I had tried snowshoeing before. Whether it was the surroundings, Sue’s expert guidance, or the occasional run-in with Shubie’s deer residents, by the time we left we had plans to purchase our own. We thought it was a perfect winter’s day – a bit of physical activity, a bit of sight-seeing, and some quality family time. As a bonus, Charlie slept like a rock that night.
Shubie Wildlife Park will be holding more free snowshoeing this Saturday from 11am-1pm. For this trip, dogs on-leash will be welcome as a trial run! There are plans to offer free snowshoeing during winter weekends but make sure you phone in advance to make sure it is available that day. Their tours are best suited for those 7+ and they can accommodate up to 30 people each trip.
The wildlife park itself will be open weekends during the winter months. Come say hello to more than 80 species, most native to Canada. Admission ranges from $1.75 – $8 and is free for children under 5. You can also take in a night tour of the wildlife park. Walk the paths after dark with a knowledgeable guide and hear about the unique characteristics of the animal residents. You need to book a night tour in advance by calling (902) 758-5316. It is $100 for a group, or $6 per person, whichever is greater.
And we couldn’t talk about Shubie Wildlife Park without mentioning its most famous resident, Shubenacadie Sam. On February 2nd, Groundhog Day and World Wetlands Day, Sam will make an appearance at 8 am and let onlookers know how much more winter we can expect. This is a free event filled with snowshoeing, crafts, facepainting and groundhog games. Everything gets underway at 7 am and wraps up at 1 pm. The park animal viewing area will be open from 8:15 am to 3:00 pm and free to all visitors.
Shubenacadie Wildlife Park
149 Creighton Road
Select Saturdays and Sundays during the winter months. Call in advance.
Adults (18+): $3.25
Kids 5 and under are free. Snowshoeing only is also free.
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