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Moncton's Magnetic Hill Zoo officially opens its doors for the 2024 season


Mild temperatures and rainy conditions didn’t dampen spirits at Moncton’s Magnetic Zoo on Sunday as families helped mark the start of the 2024 season with the first official day of Winter Openings.

“It’s amazing. Glad it’s open. We come here several times a year,” said Max Ferlatte who was at the zoo with his two-year-old and four-year-old.

“The seasons pass is definitely worth it because it’s very affordable. Just the events like Boo at the Zoo and the Christmas lights alone make it worth it with the season pass.”

Throughout the month of March the zoo is open on Sunday’s only as part of collaboration between the zoo and Friends of the Zoo, a non-profit volunteer organization.

“We have some special activities, we have a scavenger hunt for the kids, we have free hot chocolate and cookies, [and] a collective craft for the kids to do,” said Chantal Fortin-Daigle, the visitors and education coordinator at the zoo.

While not all of the animals are out and about just yet, there are several along a one-kilometre walk for people to enjoy from the Americas, Asian and Discovery section of the zoo.

It marks the start of the season and provides a glimpse of what’s to come throughout the year.

“Every single year we do celebrate a ‘year of the’ so this year we’re thinking of a year of the feather and scales so they’ll be lots of activities coming out and programs that we’re doing focusing on animals that have feathers and animals that have scales,” said Fortin-Daigle.

She says it’s an opportunity to really feature and highlight animals that people don’t know a lot about.

Adding that education is at the forefront of the zoo’s mission.

“The number one is the wellbeing of our animals, but more so the education that comes behind it whether its people visiting the zoo, reading the signs, following us on social media, coming to our zoo camps and learning about conservation action and how they can help, it’s very important for us,” she said.

While it’s early in the season, there’s already a lot of fun things planned to help draw people out this year.

Easter weekend will feature an egg hunt and mark the start of extended hours with the zoo being open every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

There’s also two events planned with Friends of the Zoo on the horizon.

“Our next event with our Friends of the Zoo will be Eco-fest which is May 25th-26th where we’re really going to focus on how people can help and be more ecological conscious,” said Fortin-Daigle.

“Following that we’re going to have fun-paloza in June and that one there is more for the kids to come out, jump on the jumpy castles and we’re going to have a magician this year.”

Additionally, the zoo is opening up summer camp registration on March 13.

“We have more than double the capacity of our kid campers than last year, so more people will be able to attend and have fun, so March 13th at 10 a.m. registration opens on our website.”

The Magnetic Hill Zoo moves to full hours on May 18 until the end of October.

“Last year was our record-breaking year, so it’s going to be hard to beat, but it’s definitely a goal that we have in hand and we hope that we’ll be able to achieve it,” said Fortin-Daigle.

“We had just over 200,000 people who came through the zoo last year and this year we’re hoping it’s going to be more.”

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