The Westwood Ranch & Garden Centre (a 2014 Westman Tourism Award Winner) is not your typical greenhouse and garden centre that you would see anywhere else in the country. Yes they sell your standard trees, shrubs, bedding plants, and planters from their 7, soon to be 10 greenhouses, but what makes them unique is that they have manged to incorporate a petting zoo/exotic animal ranch on the property near Kola, MB for guests and visitors to see and interact with. The petting zoo features many animals including lemurs, zebras, walaroos, emu’s, Llamas and ostrich’s. There is also chickens, pigs, sheep, swans, goats, pheasants and more scattered throughout the property just waiting to have their photos taken.
The garden centre and petting zoo are the workings of owner Mark Humphries and his wife Jill who moved to Canada 9 years ago from England to concentrate on some basic farming practices after years of running a large scale zoo in their home country. Several years after arriving in Canada the Humphries had the opportunity to purchase some area greenhouses to expand and diversify their farming operation and as a result the garden centre and greenhouse business was born. They later expanded to include a petting zoo with common farm animals in one small building which quickly grew to additional varieties of animals, and several fully insulated and gas heated buildings.
By their estimation they receive appropriately 7,000-9,000 visitors a season. This year they played host to 40 school tours noting that school and educational tours are a big part of their business. These school tours are both hands on and interactive. In addition to the petting zoo and garden centre they also offer visitors the opportunity to take a tractor train ride to the Gold and Diamond Mines where one can do a little panning for gold at the Westwood Gold Mine.
Lovers of Halloween should mark their calendars and check out their their Halloween Scare Nights featuring terrifying guided tours, a haunted train ride, and spooky tales. This special attraction runs evenings during the week of October 26th-30th and it is strongly recommended to call ahead to reserve your tickets today for this event.
Admission is only $6.50 for children and adults while children under 3 are admitted FREE.
They are located near Kola, MB on the Manitoba border with Saskatchewan on the Provincial Road 542.You can find them by turning south of the Trans Canada 1 on to the 542 .Follow the 542 for 10 miles until you see the sign to turn west at the correction line. They are one mile along this road on the south side.
From Virden follow Road 257 to Kola, then turn north on the 542, after 3 miles turn west at the sign after the correction line bend. You will find them 1 mile along this road on the south side
For additional information on this road side attraction please refer to their web site at : http://www.westwoodgardencentre.com or their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Westwood-Ranch-Garden-Centre/146678362110630