As you might know, two of my favourite things in the world are road trip and animals and living in Calgary, I can often take a road trip and discovery some amazing people who have devoted their lives to the protection and education of animals. If you’re like me, and you’re looking to visit some of these sanctuaries, here some of my favourite near and around Calgary.

The Alice Sanctuary

I visited the Alice Sanctuary for the first time a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  The sanctuary is about 25 minutes east of Balzac, and provides care and healing for rescued farm animals. They are a non-profit interactive sanctuary whose main message is definitely to start thinking about the animals that we quickly dismiss as food. But even if you weren’t interested in learning about veganism, I took away a lot of knowledge from the sanctuary. These animals, many of them born with birth defects like blindness and a cleft lip, would be killed simply because they could live the life they need to be made money from.  Regardless of your diet, there is an important lesson there.

The sanctuary provides public tours on Saturdays during the summer and run from 11am to 1pm. They also do private tours on Thursday. For details on both, please contact the sanctuary.  It’s important to note that the Alice Sanctuary is not a petting zoo. While they encourage respectful interaction, it is a safe and secure space for the animals, and as such, all interaction is done at the sanctuary’s discretion.


The Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

I’ve been talking abouth the wolfdog sanctuary for years and frankly, it never gets old or less important.  The wolfdog sanctuary is located just outside of Cochrane and it’s truly an incredible experience.  Wolfdogs are exactly what they sound like: wolfs that have been bred with dogs.  Some of these beautiful animals have more wolf DNA content in them than dog, so they act like wolves, and some have more dog DNA, so they act like dogs.  It’s remarkable to see the difference.   The sanctuary currently has 15 permanent wolfdogs, 7 ambassador wolfdogs, and any number of wolfdogs available for adoption.  But I think you’ll find after visiting the sanctuary, it’s a very unique situation that can actually adopt a wolfdog, which is why this sanctuary is so incredible.


There are a variety of tours available ranging from $24 to $54 and in many cases, reservations are required.  I highly recommend visiting with these animals.  The sanctuary’s owners care passionately about these animals, as well as educating you about wolves.  It’s pretty unforgettable.

The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre

Located just outside of Lethbridge in Coaldale, The Alberta Birds of Prey Centre is Canada’s largest birds of prey facility. It’s situated on a 70-acre wetland area site and features hawks, falcons, eagles and owls.  Admission ranges from $6 to $12 and since the centre does not receive any government operating subsidies, admission fees support the running of the facility and help the wildlife conservation efforts.  The centre is all about education for we humans and rehabilition for the birds, many who’ve arrived at the sanctuary with any number of injuries.  This is another incredible experience where you get to interact and see these majestic birds up close and more importantly, learn about how you can protect them.

Mike Morrison