Innisfail Wildlife Park braves the season against rising costs
Discovery Wildlife Park co-owner Doug Bos says despite worries about the economy, campground cabins are nearly booked for the season
INNISFAIL – Discovery Wildlife Park officially opened on May 1 and owners are hoping for another good year despite dramatically rising fuel prices and inflation.
“We just hope that with the economy and gas prices and everything that people still come out,” park co-owner Doug Bos said, conceding it could have a negative impact this season following a good year in 2021.
“Anyone who isn’t would be a fool. I won’t be able to tell you until the end of the season,” he said. “We had a good year last season. Inflation wasn’t close to what it is now and the weather was much more in our favour, and we didn’t have the competition.
“With each community having their fairs and rodeos and festivals and whatever else can normally happen, there will be a lot more alternatives for people to do.”
Even still, Bos said there’s plenty to offer guests in 2022.
He said the park added baby wolves and a young yak, and the one-year-old cubs caused a stir on social media.
He also points out that the park’s campground, which is only open during the zoo’s regular season from May to September, has new cabins this year, bringing the total to 17.
“They’re going like a house on fire, so anyone who wants a cabin better jump on the bandwagon because almost every weekend is booked from now until the end of August,” Bos said, who was busy during an interview in May. On the 13th, set up and prepare the new toilets in the campground.
“If someone wants a cabin this summer, they don’t have to spend a lot of money on fuel, so it’s a lot cheaper to rent a cabin.”
In the meantime, Bos is already preparing for his first exhibition Light the Night which will run from November to January.
He has already invested around $100,000 for the new winter event at Discovery Wildlife Park, which will extend the zoo’s season by five to seven months. The investment includes the purchase of fixtures and decorations, as well as newly created buildings for storage.
The drive-in Christmas light display is set to be featured along a one-mile route inside the park. Park owners believe it will attract at least 3,000 vehicles and up to 10,000 people, many of them from out of town.
The goal is to create a Christmas holiday attraction that will be as popular as other similar attractions at the Calgary Zoo, Saskatoon Tree Farm Park and Zoo and the Airdrie Festival of Lights.
“We also expect Light the Night to attract more visitors who haven’t been to Innisfail or our park before, which should also help raise awareness of what we have to offer in the summer,” said Bos in a letter. on the agenda for Innisfail Town Council for May 9th. “We hope this will increase our summer income here at the park and in the local community as well.”
The letter requested a letter of support from city council to be submitted to Travel Alberta as part of an application for funding for the Light the Night initiative.
Council unanimously accepted the request.