The Assiniboine Park Conservancy is thrilled to announce the return of Aunt Sally’s Farm to Assiniboine Park Zoo. Inspired by the original attraction, which opened in 1959, the new Aunt Sally’s Farm exhibit is currently in the final stages of construction and will be ready to welcome visitors in spring 2021.
“The new Aunt Sally’s Farm will offer a modern zoo experience inspired by those wonderful memories so many of us share of the original exhibit,” said Bruce Keats, Chief Operations Officer, Assiniboine Park Conservancy. “We can’t wait to welcome visitors next spring and start building joyful new memories together!”
One of the Zoo’s most beloved attractions, the original Aunt Sally’s Farm was named in honour of Winnipegger Sally Warnock for her lifelong dedication to animal care and welfare in Winnipeg.
The new Aunt Sally’s Farm will feature:
a barn and barnyard populated with goats and llamas, plus other domesticated animals, including donkeys, a pot-bellied pig, and (seasonally) chickens,
parallel playgrounds where the Zoo’s youngest visitors can play alongside lively goats,
bridges with rainbow platforms that encourage goats to climb overhead, and
the wishing well from the original Aunt Sally’s Farm.
The exhibit is part of a collection of projects designed with young children and families in mind that represent the current phase in the ongoing redevelopment of the Zoo. Included in this phase are:
the Education and Program Centre, which opened in spring 2018,
the rotating exhibit gallery, which opened in spring 2019 and currently houses the Stingray Beach exhibit,
the new Aunt Sally’s Farm exhibit, which will open in spring 2021, and
a future animal encounter centre that is in the early stages of planning and design.
The total value of this phase is estimated at $10 million. Funding for the projects, two of which are already complete, has come from previously announced City of Winnipeg grants and private donations. Though fundraising is ongoing, over $4 million has already been raised from the private sector.
“The new Aunt Sally’s Farm will be a terrific addition to the Zoo and we are so grateful to the lead donors who have supported this phase of the Zoo’s redevelopment,” said Don Streuber, Vice Chair of the APC Board of Directors. “Thanks to their generosity, we will continue to transform the Assiniboine Park Zoo experience.”
Lead donors recognized at today’s announcement at the Aunt Sally’s Farm construction site include: the Carolyn Sifton Foundation, Doug Harvey and Jan Shute, MacDon Industries Ltd. and the MacDonald Family, Tannis M. Richardson, Prosper Wealth Ltd and the Devos Family, The Thomas Sill Foundation, and Wawanesa Insurance. Their gifts ranged from $1 million to $250,000.
“We are delighted to support the return of Aunt Sally’s Farm, which will provide the Zoo’s youngest visitors with wonderful opportunities for exploration, discovery, and playful encounters with animals. These are meaningful experiences that will create lasting memories for a whole new generation of visitors. We can’t wait to celebrate the opening of this charming exhibit with you next spring,” said Micah Sifton LaLeune, who spoke on behalf of her family foundation, whose gift of $1 million will be recognized with the naming of the Carolyn Sifton Foundation Barn.
Fundraising is ongoing and there is still an opportunity for the community to support this phase of the Zoo’s redevelopment and help bring the new Aunt Sally’s Farm and future animal encounter centre to life. Donations can be made online at assiniboinepark.ca or by calling 204-927-8080. There are also opportunities for donors to adopt benches within the colourful new exhibit.