Langley’s Critter Care Wildlife Society will be crawling with creatures — on two legs and four — when it hosts its 19th annual open house next month
Maureen Binnie, president of Critter Care Wildlife Society, expects to see between 1,500 and 2,000 people come through the gate during the two-day open house, scheduled for July 21 and 22. The grounds will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
The stars of the weekend — the orphaned and injured baby animals being cared for at the south Langley facility — will be ready for their close-ups, but anyone who hopes to see them will need to sign up early for a guided tour of the enclosures.
The tours, led three at a time in groups of 20-25, last about 40 minutes and are usually booked solid by 1 or 2 p.m., Binnie said.
One of the stars of this year’s show, she expects, will be a young female river otter, brought to Critter Care from Sechelt in mid-June.
“Our little river otter is a bit of a clown,” she said.
That’s not surprising, Binnie added, because otters tend to be pretty playful.
Among the other young animals that can be seen during the tours this year are raccoons, fawns, a marmot and skunks.
“Oh, we do have skunks this year,” laughed Binnie.
“Bring your clothes pegs with you,” she advised visitors, with a chuckle.
At the moment there are no beavers being cared for at the facility, but by next month, that may have changed, she said.
For those who are waiting for their tour, aren’t able or don’t want to take a guided tour, the open house will also include a range of other family-friendly activities.
This year’s open house is being presented with an emphasis on First Nations culture.
Kwantlen drummers will perform on the site both days. An indigenous artist and a storyteller will also take part in the event this year.
“It’s our first year doing a theme,” said Binnie. “We’re honouring the (Kwantlen) First Nation because part of our site falls on their land.”
On Saturday, the rescue helicopter that often brings small animals to Critter Care from along B.C.’s coast will land in a field next to the facility. It is expected to arrive around noon.
The West Coast Thunder Drill Team will perform each day at 3 p.m.
There will be a concession, a craft table for kids and the opportunity to purchase souvenir items, such as T-shirts.
Bucky the Beaver mascot is expected to make an appearance as well.
Although plans are still coming together, Binnie said she hopes there will once again be firefighters on site with an engine for kids to explore and perhaps a police officer with a service dog to greet young visitors.
Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. The price of admission includes the tour.
In past years, the open house has raised close to $30,000 for the society over two days.
“We hope to net around $35,000 this year,” said Binnie.
The money is used to buy medicine and specialized food, as well as vaccine for the raccoons. Every raccoon that is brought to Critter Care is vaccinated before it is released.
Critter Care is located at 481 216 St.