‘A good day out’
Families flock to wildlife park over Heritage Day long weekend
Cape Breton residents took full advantage of the relatively mild weather to hit the great outdoors over February’s midwinter long weekend.
And while many outdoor enthusiasts hit the ski slopes or made their way along cross- country ski and snowshoeing trails, hundreds of others headed to the Two Rivers Wildlife Park, where they were attracted by the lure of wild animals, wagon rides through the woods and Little Bear, the park’s latest most popular resident.
“It’s a good day out,” said park manager Johnny Huntington. “We’ve been getting good crowds — the weather’s been good and people love getting outside.”
By 1:45 p.m. on Monday there was still a long line of vehicles waiting to enter the 500-acre park located on the north bank of the Mira River about 10 kilometres southwest of Marion Bridge.
But once inside, there was plenty to do.
Many families strolled through the forest area that is home to the animal enclosures, while others took to one of the property’s many hills to do some tobogganing and sliding.
And then there were the horses.
Indeed, six- year- old Crystal MacDonald didn’t hesitate when asked about her favourite animal.
“I want to see the horses,” she said, adding that she also planned to visit Little Bear, an abandoned black bear cub that was found wandering alone in the Whycocomagh area in late January.
Although Little Bear was dehydrated, underweight and suffering from pneumonia, the animal is doing well and now weighs about 80 pounds, said park attendant Mike Timmons.
“He’s probably the most popular animal right now,” said Timmons, who had a large crowd of park visitors watching him as he checked out Little Bear’s teeth and general health at the edge of the enclosure.
And he was proven correct as evidenced by the cries of delight from the passengers who spotted Little Bear while traveling around the park on the horse-drawn wagon driven by Telsi Lynn Huntingon.
Back in the more wide open areas of the park, kids hurtled down the slopes, while others gathered to check out the traditional farm animals in the yard by the old barn.
Monday was the third year that Nova Scotians celebrated Heritage Day, a statutory holiday, legislated in 2013 and first marked in 2015, that serves as a reminder of the province’s rich history and its unique heritage. And, as part of the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, the 2017 holiday also recognized Mi’kmaq culture and the many accomplishments of the Mi’kmaq people.
Powered by Belgian horses Maggie and Rosie and driven by park attendant Telsi Lynn Huntington, a covered wagon makes its way a trail at the Two Rivers Wildlife Park on Monday. Hundreds of people spent their Heritage Day at the park visiting the animals, tobogganing and taking wagon rides.
A crowd of people gathers at the enclosure of Little Bear, the abandoned black bear cub that was found wandering alone in the Whycocomagh area in January before he was brought to the park. Above, onlookers watch as park attendant Mike Timmons checks out the popular bruin through an opening in the enclosure.