Visitor Centre
Frequently Asked Questions

Planning a trip to MARS? We’re looking forward to seeing you!

Planning a visit

When is the Visitor Centre open?

We are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Can I just drop in or do I have to reserve a spot?

You are welcome to drop in on our open days to visit our gift shop and explore our exhibits hall, but if you wish to see our Bald Eagle patients or resident ambassador owls, eagles, and crows, please book your spot

How long is a booked tour?

Plan to be at MARS for 1 1/2 hours. The outdoor portion of the tour is about 45 minutes, then a 10 minute visit with an ambassador bird and handler, then as long as you wish to explore the gift shop and indoor exhibits hall. 

How much does a tour cost?

By donation. We don’t charge for tours but are always happy to accept donations to help us with our rehabilitation work. All donations go towards the hospital. 

Can I just visit the gift shop and exhibits hall?

Absolutely! You’re welcome to explore the exhibits and check out the gift shop on any day and time we are open to the public.

Can I do a self-guided tour to see eagles and owls?

No. For the protection of our patients and resident animals, we do not allow self-guided tours.

Do you sell food or drink in your gift shop?

No. Food crumbs attract insects that are a constant threat to our taxidermy mounts so we do not sell or allow food in our exhibits hall. You are welcome to bring a lunch to eat outside at one of our picnic tables or benches. Please pack out what you bring in.

How many people can be in my group?

Our tours host up to eight people. 

What are your Covid protocols?

Following current health orders, masks are required indoors. Masks are optional outdoors. 

Can I bring my dog on leash?

No, pets are not permitted on the MARS’ property. Just seeing or hearing a dog can cause stress to our ambassador birds and increase the healing time for our wildlife patients.

Why are you open Friday to Sunday only?

Like most not for profit organizations, we have a limited number of staff and volunteers available to welcome visitors.

Taking a tour

What happens on a booked tour?

Our volunteer guide will greet you at the Visitor Centre to check you in. You’ll hear the stories of our animal patients and the skilled, compassionate care they receive at our hospital. You’ll view recovering Bald Eagles in their impressive two-story flight pen. You’ll visit our non-releasable ambassador owls, eagles, and albino crows, and meet one of our birds up-close with a handler. Our comfortable trails pass through gardens and wilder spaces with native plants. Our friendly guides give you, your family, and guests a visit to remember. Finally, you’ll wrap up your experience with an opportunity to explore our gift shop and indoor wildlife exhibits hall to learn and experience more.

What age are your tours suited to?

All ages! Our guides love engaging children, youth, adults, and seniors in learning about wildlife and wild spaces. MARS is a family-friendly place. All are welcomed.

Can I go into the hospital?

No. To ensure the best care for our wild patients, our wildlife hospital and recovery enclosures are not open to the public. We manage stressful situations carefully to give our patients the best chance of recovery and a successful return to the wild. 

Can I see fawns or raccoons?

No. Caregivers work hard to make sure that our patients, including fawns and raccoons, stay wild and do not imprint on humans or come to depend on people for food. Once recovered, they must live independently in the wild. 

What's in your gift shop?

Our gift shop celebrates our love of wildlife. We carry original paintings, sculpture, and photography by local artists, and books and guides for all ages about wildlife and nature. Kids’ toys and games are popular items. We also have tee-shirts, hats, puzzles and a number of locally made pieces of jewelry and clothing. 

Can I take pictures of ambassador birds?

Please do! You are welcome to take pictures throughout your tour. Our flight pen has ports for long lens cameras. Tour guides and bird handlers are always happy to help you get good photos of your family and friends visiting MARS. Photographs of wildlife in our care must not be used for commercial purposes without permission. Please share your photos and story of your experience on Google Reviews, Facebook, Instagram, or in a review on TripAdvisor

Accessibility

Can a stroller be pushed around the site?

Most of the site is flat. The lower portion of the ambassador bird aviaries is inclined and will require care to navigate. 

Is your site fully accessible by wheelchair?

The visitor centre building, washrooms, gift shop and exhibits hall are fully wheelchair accessible. Our parking lot and paths are packed gravel; weather can affect their wheelchair accessibility. The lower parts of our property are inclined and uneven, but it is possible to access these areas by car. All of our ambassador bird enclosures have accessible viewing ports. 

Do you have infant change tables?

Yes.