SHUBENACADIE – Winter is an exciting time for visitors and staff, as well as animals, at the Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park.
Sue Penney, education co-ordinator with the park, said visitors have been taking full advantage of the snow that’s fallen so far this year.
“We have 30 pairs of snowshoes that we lend out for free,” said Penney, adding visitors can go on guided tours through the park. “We have three different sizes so the entire family can try it out. We had them last year too, but we didn’t have much snow for people to use them.
“It’s been fun and there has been some response to that,” she said.
While many people shy away from the winter weather, the park continues to host a number of activities.
This Saturday will see the park host a public night tour.
“People can bring a flashlight and get all bundled up to take a tour of the trail through the park. Most of our animals are nocturnal and they’re fairly active at night. If we have a lot of snow, they really stand out against the white,” she said.
The park will also host a wildlife photography class with Peter Spence and Helen Knockwood on Feb. 23.
One of the biggest advantages of visiting the park in the winter, said Penney, is seeing the animals in their winter fur.
“The cougars, bobcats and lynx are at their most beautiful fur stage. They’re full, but they aren’t raggedy yet, and they’re very active,” she said.
“And we still have some peacocks around with their feathers fluffed out.”
She said she’s seen different species of deer continuously running along the fence this winter as well.
“You see the unexpected,” she said, noting a red-tail hawk had flown into the white-tail hawk’s pen.
“It’s about getting out and enjoying nature,” she said.
With leashed pets not permitted on the grounds at the park, there is a wetland trail behind the park where many people go for some physical activity.
“It’s great, because people can walk their dogs there on a leash. I think a lot of people come here in the winter to walk along that trail.”
The park is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in the winter. Admission is $8 per family, $2.75 per adult, $1.50 for youth between six and 17, and free for those under age five.
Those hoping to use the snowshoes should call 758-2040 beforehand to make sure there is enough snow.