Fishy Fun at Bow Habitat Station

by - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

With its Discovery Centre, fish hatchery, fishing pond, and adjacent interpretive wetlands trail, kids of all ages (and family members!) can learn about trout and their habitats, and most importantly, how we can protect these areas for all their creatures. 

Where I grew up (BC), every elementary school student went to a fish hatchery at least once in their tenure, and if you lived near a spawning stream, you got to go on a field trip to see the salmon spawn in the fall. It was an amazing experience that taught me about the fish life cycle and made me think twice about water consumption and what I put down the drain. If you can't talk your kid's school into taking a field trip to Bow Habitat Station, go as a family, or have Bow Habitat come to your school. There is a special Fish in Schools (FinS) Raise to Release program available where classes can hatch fish eggs! 

October 2017 Update: Please note that the Fish Hatchery is undergoing renovations and is closed to the public until Fall 2018.

Disclosure: My family received free admission to Bow Habitat Station in order to get more photos for this review, but we have been going here for years and LOVE IT and have also had two birthday parties here (on my own dime)! 

Bow Habitat Station At a Glance

  • Address: 1440 17A St SE
  • Must-Do: Pay extra to feed thousands of fish! It's an unforgettable experience and my kids' favorite thing to do at Bow Habitat Station!!! 
  • Wheelchair/stroller accessible facility with elevator.
  • For hours and admission rates, see their website. Children 3 & under - FREE!
    • Family rates available.
    • Annual memberships available that pay for themselves in about 3 visits.
    • Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more or build your own group program (admission + fish feeding/fish hatchery tour).

Discovery Centre

The Discovery Centre is full of hands-on interactive exhibits that teach you about various ecosystems.
  • Highlights of Lower Level: Look at the fish in the giant aquariums, learn fish anatomy (press buttons to see various parts light up on giant fish). Bright, large party rooms are also on the lower level.
  • Highlights of Upper Level: Crawl inside a beaver dam; pop bubbles, race cars,  or chase butterflies on the interactive floor mat (like the one at Cross Iron Mills, but smaller). Learn how fish are raised, what bugs fly fishing flies are imitating, how much water your family consumes, what chemicals/microorganisms are in various types of water and more. Older kids may enjoy watching an educational movie in the theatre (I enjoyed a couple short films and learned a lot, but my 5 & 6 year olds found 1 film to be enough). 
One of the Lower Level Aquariums
Fish Anatomy Exhibit
Bow Habitat Station Discovery Centre Upper Level
Bow Habitat Station Discovery Centre Upper Level
Which fly imitates this bug?
Interactive floor mat (upper level)
Lower level exhibit
Fun photo backgrounds (upper level)

Fish Feeding

Have you ever seen 10,000* rainbow trout leaping for food? It is amazing! Extra charge ($2), but totally worth it for the look on your kids' faces! I actually really like feeding the fish too. :) 

Fish Feedings are at 11 am, 1 pm or 3 pm. Allow 15 minutes.

*Trout populations vary throughout the year. Once there were over 22,000!

Fish Feeding at Bow Habitat Station

Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery Tour

We finally attended a fish hatchery tour last month and learned a lot. Our guide, Kate, was dynamic and made sure to keep little ones engaged and interested. We got to see where the fish are kept for every stage of life, look at some fish eggs, then got to feed the bigger trout (fish feeding included in fish hatchery tour)! 

Fish Hatchery tours are at 12 pm and 2 pm. Allow 30 minutes.

Where the fish fry are kept
Water treatment equipment
Baby rainbow trout!

Birthdays at Bow Habitat Station

"This is the best kid's birthday party we've ever been to!" 
~guest at Little POG's 5th birthday at Bow Habitat Station, March 2015.

Birthdays at Bow Habitat Station are unique and fun! You get one hour of facilitator-led activities and one hour in a large, bright party room. Kate, who we always get and love, was awesome with the kids; super energetic and fun! Activities vary by age, but at 5 year old parties, expect a scavenger hunt, craft, and fish feeding. For an extra charge, you can have Bow Habitat Station put together goodie bags for you too! 

Afterwards, you are free to explore the Discovery Centre or head outside to the fishing pond and Pearce Estate Park. There are washrooms and a playground outside as well as a reservable picnic area. If you don't want to pay for the picnic area, there are picnic tables near the fishing pond that would accommodate a smaller group.

Be sure to book far in advance as this is a popular party spot, and request cooking facilities if needed. We have had parties in both rooms - one is larger with kitchen facilities and the other is a bit smaller, but has a window to an aquarium so you can say hi to the fishies as you eat! If you want to have food delivered (pizza, etc.), just let the front desk know and they will have it brought down to your party room. 

Everyone had a great time, so we highly recommend Bow Habitat Station for a birthday party venue. We had both our girls' parties here when they turned 5.

Bow Habitat Station Aqua Lab (Party Room)
Getting ready to go on a scavenger hunt
Birthday guests modelling their fish hats
Fish Feeding Time!

Kids Can Catch Trout Pond

Try your luck in this small, stocked pond open May 15 - October 31. 

  • Fishing gear may be rented from Bow Habitat Station if you don't own any. 
  • Please note that this is a catch and release pond and fishing is for kids under 16 only. 
  • Please use single, barbless hooks to reduce fish mortality. 
  • Bait ban in effect. 
Kids Can Catch Trout Pond
Pearce Estate Park (beside Bow Habitat Station)

Huge cottonwoods tower over this park to shade the picnic area, playground and interpretive wetlands trail. Expect to see and hear several birds in the wetlands. The trail is suitable for walking or biking and is stroller friendly.

For more information, see Exploring Inglewood by Bike - A fun family itinerary for biking from Pearce Estate Park/Bow Habitat Station to Nellie Breen Park (and beyond) or Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. Don't miss the River Passage Art Installation! Carry on to East Village and St. Patrick's Island for more fun and kid-friendly biking.

Call 311 to book the picnic area.

River Passage Art Installation near Pearce Estate Park
Pearce Estate Park Wetlands
Pearce Estate Park

Special Programs

  • Upcoming special events including fishing clinics and a marsh dipping session may be found here
  • Wonderful Wednesdays take place the first Wednesday of each month and offer special programming for children aged 2-5. Registration required.

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