Stanley is my first camel ride. Ok, he’s not a horse, but he does have hooves and a saddle.
Stanley is a laid back dude who spends his days walking in circles guided by a handler at the Granby Zoo in Granby, Quebec (about a one hour drive from Montreal). For an extra $4, visitors can climb aboard and get up close and personal with this fuzzy rocky animal – for about 3 minutes. It’s no journey across the Gobi Desert, but it’s a great photo-op and does give me “I rode a camel” bragging rights.
This is one of the few animals here you’ll get within gripping distance of – others remain at a comfortable, yet visible distance because the Granby Zoo is one of the most beautiful and easy to negotiate zoos of its kind. The design balances both the educational mandate of the facility, housing the animals in as natural enclosures as possible, and the entertainment demands of families looking to actually see the animals (some very close behind glass like the new snow leopard exhibition).
Easily walkable along circular paths that link themed areas: Africa, South Pacific, South America and Asia. Africa is particularly impressive because the view of the elephants through leaves of trees is the next best thing to a safari and you can view hippos at eye level through the glass wall of their pool.
A recently addition is Oceanian World that adds creatures of the sea to the zoo’s collection. The aquariums are filled with sharks, seahorse, and tropical fish including Nemo and friends, and there’s a touch pool of sting ray and other Great Barrier Reef residents.
Like the camel ride, the multi-media show that follows the journey of Kaila, a sea turtle, from New Zealand to Australia (think more contemporary art experience than nature documentary) costs extra, but it’s something you can’t experience anywhere else.
Well, maybe not like the camel ride. You can ride a camel in Egypt and a lot of Middle Eastern countries, but it’s a lot more involved and a lot less comfortable. This one was the country fair pony-ride of camel experiences. (Read about other zoo adventures here).