Wild Times Archive

Honk, Moo, Baaa!

Honk, Moo, Baaa!
Have you Heard?


The Urban Farm is a new exhibit which allows city slickers to experience a modern day farm setting. All the sights, sounds, and smells of old MacDonald’s farm are right here, in the heart of the River Valley, ready for you to enjoy. If you have never been on a farm, head down for a visit that will have you grinning from ear-to-ear. We promise a Get Closer opportunity with our animals that will delight, surprise and engage even the most seasoned farmer or rancher.

New animals will be introduced periodically, so don’t be surprised if you show up one day and see a turkey or perhaps a new species of pig or goat. Look out for the Chantecler chicks, they arrive in May! Be prepared for an overload of cuteness when the babies arrive. Pick up an annual membership to the zoo and visit often to watch our Urban Farm family grow.


Our farmyard gang includes: 

Speckle Park cows

Boer cross Toggenburg goats

Juliana pigs

Shetland and babydoll sheep

Araucana chickens

Flemish giant rabbits

Miniature horses

Peahens (female peacocks)

Guinea hens

Enjoy the thrill of a hands-on experience with animals in the contact yard. Here, you will have a chance to meet various animals, give them a gentle pat, take their photos, and even groom them. Did you know that goats love to be brushed?


Try your hand at milking a cow! There are two life-sized cow models with udders full of water. One cow will demonstrate a milking machine while the other model is there for you to milk. Go ahead and give it a try, see if you have the magic touch.


Check out the incubation room where you can watch eggs hatch and fuzzy little chicks emerge. Baby chicks will hatch frequently throughout the summer!


Be sure to watch the honey bees busy at work, there are several hives to observe.

Urban farmer zoo staff will be on hand to answer questions and interpreters will stop by to demonstrate how to make ice cream, churn butter, or card sheep’s wool. You may even find yourself playing a round of Urban Farm Jeopardy!


Take a moment to look at the Alberta poultry, dairy, and beef displays to learn about our local food production industries.

The Urban Farm is for everyone! All ages will appreciate the sights and sounds of our beautiful animals. There is so much to see and touch, and plenty of opportunities to learn about farming in Alberta.

The building will be open year-round, so you can visit your barnyard pals 364 days of the year. This is a great way to watch baby animals mature, and you can observe your favourite animals to learn about their unique behaviours.


The rooftop of the Urban Farm is designed to allow the goats to roam. So if you hear bleating, look up to the sky, and you will see our goats wandering about.


The on-site cafe (opening soon!) will serve delicious food and if you feel like ice cream, head to The Dairy Bar.

Make the Most Out of your Visit

The Contact Yard is one of the first places visitors head to when they arrive at the Urban Farm. Here you can experience animals in a unique, Get Closer way. For many, this will be the first time they will have stood beside a goat or a cow, or pet a chicken.

Even though our Urban Farm zoo family is very used to human contact, we want to help you and your children have a wonderful experience filled with happy memories!

Contact Yard Etiquette
  • Enter the Contact Yard slowly with a calm and gentle demeanour
  • Use a soft, low voice when talking to the animals
  • If you stand still many animals will come to you
  • Always approach an animal slowly but if they walk away, let them go
  • Walk toward the animal’s side rather than directly toward its face
  • Enter with empty hands – leave water bottles, backpacks, bags, and toys at the entrance
  • Never feed human food to the animals

At the Urban Farm we always respect the animals wishes. If they choose to walk away rather than be patted, we let them go and do not pursue them. This is their home and we always want them to feel safe and comfortable. The animals in the contact yard are rotated throughout the day so everybody gets time with the visitors as well as rest breaks from the activity.

All of our animals are fed properly prepared diets to maintain their optimum weight and body composition. Lean animals are healthy animals. Even a modest weight gain can add extra pressure on their feet and joints, and can have a negative impact on their heart and other organs.

Urban Farmers will be nearby at all times to answer questions or help make an introduction to one of our furry or feathered residents. They also feed, clean, and offer the animals enrichments such as vegetable popsicles – chickens, goats and sheep just love their popsicles!

Did You Know?

Goats are highly curious animals and will eat just about anything. Please leave your purses, backpacks, toys, and snacks behind.All animals – domesticated or wild – prefer calm, low voices, and slow, unhurried movements. Even the most gentle animal can react poorly to erratic movements, such as waving arms, or loud noises and yelling. Please be respectful of the animals’ environment!

Goats are highly curious animals and will eat just about anything. Please leave your purses, backpacks, toys, and snacks behind.All animals – domesticated or wild – prefer calm, low voices, and slow, unhurried movements. Even the most gentle animal can react poorly to erratic movements, such as waving arms, or loud noises and yelling. Please be respectful of the animals’ environment!

Urban Farm Overview

After several years of planning and construction, the first element of Nature’s Wild Backyard at the Edmonton Valley Zoo is complete. The Urban Farm, a contemporary take on old MacDonald’s farm, has opened its barn doors.

The Urban Farm offers an immersive experience where humans and animals are surrounded by a common landscape; where boundaries are erased and zoo guests can better grasp the interconnectedness between themselves, the animals, and the environment; where you can explore the relationship between yourself and the other beings we share the planet with.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo’s role as a leader in the areas of conservation, environmental stewardship, and education is an important part of the Urban Farm experience. This open and airy modern-day farm showcases experiential learning and exhibitry at its best.

Here, guests of all ages can observe goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, and a host of others in their open enclosures. Without the restriction of bars and plexiglass barriers, visitors can enjoy an intimate Get Closer experience watching the animals, listening to their grunts and bleats, and yes, smelling the hay and the scent of their feathers and hair.

Of course, you’ll want to spend time in the contact yard where visitors can give our Urban Farm critters a pat, maybe even groom a goat, or give a sweet Babydoll sheep a scratch. Drop by 364 days a year to watch the baby goats grow up or the lambs mature into sheep. Throughout the summer, be sure to check the incubation room to witness the chicks hatching.

Enjoy exhibits that explain farm life, demonstrations on how to make ice cream and card wool, and try your hand at milking a life-sized model cow. Did I mention the goats wander across the rooftop?

The Nature’s Wild Backyard design was honoured by the Canadian Architects’ Awards of Excellence in 2014, and the Urban Farm experience exemplifies why. There is a lot to do, see, and learn here.

The zoo staff – aka Urban Farmers – are always on hand to answer questions and make sure your experience is a memorable one.

Food producers such as Alberta dairy, beef, and poultry tell their stories in displays and talk about how the animals are raised and cared for. The Urban Farm will help you understand where your food comes from.

You will also learn about the importance of supporting Alberta farmers. Buying local is a sustainable approach to food production and supports conservation initiatives. All modern agriculture has an environmental impact, so one of the best ways people can reduce their carbon footprint is to buy local.

Learn how easy it is to buy locally, and how this important decision has far-reaching benefits. The on-site cafe and the Moo at the Zoo dairy bar support this mandate and source their food products locally.  

Grab a friend and head down to the Urban Farm – our furry and feathered friends look forward to meeting you!