The nature of my blog is changing a little bit. We spend time camping, but we also do other travel and I am having a hard time containing myself when it comes to writing about the other things we see. The Pacific-Northwest isn’t just Oregon, Washington and Northern California. It includes British Columbia as well and we spend a good deal of time there each year. Many of our trips are done via boat, however we spend time inland. This is my first blog post about adventures in BC. Like our little tear drop, boating really is having a “mobile” home for adventuring. You get to be in nature but can venture into cities just like with the trailers. It is something we have been doing since I was quite young and I love that I get to continue that tradition with my son. We prefer adventuring to more natural spaces via boat, but every so often we head into one of the beautiful towns along the way.
Victoria, BC has always been a favorite “port of call” for me. Especially when we come into the main harbor right in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel. The British Columbia Parliament building is off to our right and the wharf and main shopping streets are on the left. Artists and vendors line the walk of the harbor selling all sorts of foods and treasures while preformers entertain crowds. It is a magical place. For adults there are loads of places to eat and drink, beautiful bookstores, tours of the houses of government, and the Royal BC Museum (this is great for kids too!). We found another wonderful spot, perfect for the youngest entomologists called the Victoria Bug Zoo.
We discovered the Victoria Bug Zoo in 2011 on one of our trips. It is right down town and to be honest, my dad wasn’t thrilled that he was going to have to give up a couple of hours to check out bugs. By the end of our visit he had decided it was pretty cool and has since suggested it to all of the boating friends with kids who are heading to the Victoria. It won him over big time! If that isn’t a testament to the place, maybe the picture on the right will convince you!
The Zoo is set up in a really cool way. When you fist come in, you pay your entrance fee ($12/adult, $8 for kids and seniors, kids 4 and under are free – prices are in Canadian Dollars). Sometimes you can go right in and join a tour that is already underway or you might have to wait a minute for a guide to come get you. When you go into the rooms with the bugs there are cases all over. Each type of bug has its own case and the guide takes you from case to case, explains the bug’s traits and where they come from, answers any questions and in most cases people get to hold the different critters if they wish. In the case of the scorpions and tarantulas the Zoo requires you to be 18 years old, however they did let the kiddo pet the scorpion.
The guides are really knowledgeable and I loved having them there for a couple of reasons.
- They taught the kids the best way to hold the different animals so nobody got hurt. They explained what might happen so there was no risk to any of our new friends. For instance, one of the animals really liked heat, so they would walk along your hand and find the warmest spot. Not knowing this might set people on edge, but if you expect it, no surprises!
- They made sure all of the critters were back in their terrariums and wouldn’t escape into the wild. I am guessing there are strict regulations since these are non-native species, but it would be pretty terrible if they found their way out. The outside world is a rough place for bugs!
- They could answer all of the questions we had and the kids stayed really engaged. They were so excited about what was next!
The zoo is home to over 40 different species of live tropical bugs including giant walking sticks, beautiful praying mantis, glow-in-the-dark scorpions and hairy tarantulas. They also house Cananda’s largest ant colony which is a really amazing site to behold. Parents, make sure you get in on the action too! This really is an activity you shouldn’t miss out on with your families!
They are open 11:00-4:00 Monday-Friday and 11:00-5:00 on the weekends.
631 Courtney Street,
Victoria, British Columbia,
Canada V8W 1B8
TEL.1 (250) 384.BUGS (2847)