Went there with three seniors, a 4 year old, a new born and two adults. Easy to get there from Ottawa.
Had read the negative reviews but decided to take a chance. Overall, it was a great half day. Got there around 10:30 and left around 3 but could have stayed longer if thunderstorms had not started to roll in.
Very friendly staff, very good with children.
Contrarily to want others have said, the animals seemed very well fed. They were all the equivalent of an "athletic build", which is the healthiest for them. Compared to other zoos where they over feed, and animals overeat because of boredom or don't eat the right food, we found the animals in Papanack zoo to be a very healthy weight. It also has a good variety of animals, and many areas for kids to play, and for picnics (we brought our own). We were able to see the feeding of the lions, which was great. Around noon, many animals go into their dens, as is natural, so plan accordingly. Having said this, we were able to see all of them. Very good variety of animals given the size of the zoo.
In terms of water, I've read some reviews that complain about the availability of fresh water for the animals. I did not get that impression at all. On more than one occasion caretakers replenished animals' drinking water, which is separate from the ponds found in many enclosures. The issue here is that these water fountains are most of the time hard to see.
Keep in mind this is a more rustic zoo than others like the Toronto one. If it has rained, better take your boots. And, it is more interesting than you would think by looking at it from the highway.
On the enclosures, for the most part we thought they were fine, not great but good enough. The main exceptions were for the cheetah (which they are already fixing to make much bigger), some foxes and a pair of bobcats.
Finally, I would rate the value for money as good if you have kids, as there are a lot of things they can enjoy. If you don't have kids, I would rate it slightly below average, but I am pleased to see good use of the money by feeding well the animals and making improvements to enclosures. So, while the value for adults only might be slightly below average, I would not mind paying it every once in a while.
I would go back as another day outing next year.
For the Zoo, please keep up the positive attitude and good treatment of the animals,! And please continue working on some of your enclosures and you will get a 4/5 from me. For now it is a 3/5, with a recommendation that it is a good place to go , particularly for kids.
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