The best things in life are free, right? Well add Happy Rolph’s to the list then.
Happy Rolph’s is tucked away along the shores of Lake Ontario in St. Catharines. This wonderful spot is a terrific place to go for any animal lovers in the family. I happen to LOVE watching animals so Happy Rolph’s is a natural visit for me. Admission and parking is free. Pathways are easily accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.
We have been there many times in the past and it’s always a great visit. Happy Rolph’s has a variety of animals for viewing, not to mention a kids playground, picnic tables and duck ponds. As a very special tribute to those who fell during 9/11, there is a winding walking trail up along the lake shore.
Around $270,000 of upgrades have been put into the park and it really shows. The animals are spaced out nicely, new path enclosures have been built, the unsupervised human interaction has been controlled and the park now has 24-hour security. It’s really nice to see that Happy Rolph’s is being taken care of and that families have a spot to go for a very unique, free experience.
A large part of the upgrade funds came from the late Barbara Hallet. When she passed away in 2004, she left her entire estate for the city of St. Catharines to use for animal care at Happy Rolph’s. Since then many people from the public have also donated. It’s well-known that people love Happy Rolph’s and, in this case, people are really putting their money where their mouths are.
In the future, the park plans to have a designated area where people can spend time feeding and petting the animals up close. The animals currently on display are:
I have heard complaints that the new park renovations have removed the human/animal experience they used to feel. In the past, people were able to walk up and touch the animals whenever they wanted. Kids could pet goats and feed them directly. To these people, I would ask them to think about the safety of the animals. These animals are cute, wonderful and a terrific source of entertainment, BUT they are not your cat or dog. We cannot predict their movements or desires. You do not know when they will bite, nor do you know how your interactions are affecting them. It is my opinion that Happy Rolph’s is much better now that people are not freely interacting with the animals and it is more of a zoo than a petting zoo. People are safe, animals are safe. No one loses, right?
To learn more about Happy Rolph’s, the park web address is www.stcatharines.ca/en/playin/HappyRolphs.asp.