Climaxing months of planning and construction aimed at making the zoo one of the best of its kind, the Edmonton Valley Zoo welcomed its first guests on July 1, 1959. According to the article in the June 30, 1959 Edmonton Journal, a huge crowd was expected to “invade the grounds following the official opening by Mayor Hawrelak”.
The children’s zoo in Laurier Park cost the City $500,000 at the time. Admission was set at 10 cents for children and 25 cents for adults, and a bus for transportation to the location was scheduled to run every half an hour from 102 Avenue and 142 Street.
Since 1959, the zoo has continued to evolve and grow. In 2009, the City announced the current revitalization that is to completely overhaul the zoo — the redevelopment of the former and beloved Storyland elements that have earned their places in the hearts of Edmontonians.
While the Storyland Zoo was leading edge in 1959, times have changed and the City of Edmonton is continuing to move forward, transitioning the zoo into an innovation focused on learning and conservation initiatives.