Banff Zoo

It is time for a little history lesson.The town of Banff once had a Zoo, it was built by the Banff Museum in 1905 on the grounds behind in what is now Central Park, and it included a large aviary for birds. It was at its peak around 1914 when it contained 50 mammals and 36 birds. Although the zoo was gradually re-housing some of its animals at other zoos in the 1920s, in 1937 the National Park administration decided that a zoo was not a desirable feature. Certainly the local animals could be seen more appropriately in the wild, and the spectacle of any animals and birds being maintained in captivity in a national park was inconsistent and disconcerting. The zoo closed at the end of the 1937 season and all remaining animals were either liberated or sent to other zoos. The cages, ponds, and dens were dismantled and in 1939 the area became a picnic site and playground for day visitors. Forty-six animals were donated to the Calgary Zoo including wolves, lynx, coyotes, a racoon, Canada geese, a black bear, a cinnamon bear and a female polar bear.


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