A visit to The Hamilton Aviary is a great way to feel tropical while supporting this wonderful, volunteer-run bird sanctuary in Dundas, Ontario.
Welcome to the hamilton aviary
If you’re looking for a great place to take your animal-loving kids, definitely add The Hamilton Aviary aka Friends of the Aviary to your itinerary. It’s officially Canada’s oldest aviary. located in the Westdale neighbourhood of Hamilton, Ontario, the Aviary runs thanks to dedicated volunteers and donations from fellow wildlife lovers like us.
how did the aviary get its start?
It all started in 1927, when a posthumous investment from a man named Thomas Gould was invested, as per his wishes “to make the Dundurn Park Zoo more attractive for little children”. The Hamilton Zoological Society thought to turn part of the zoo into an aviary. All was well, until the 1990s. From the Aviary’s website: “In 1992, the “Friends of the Aviary” took over the daily care and needs of the Flock and the aviary ceased to be a city program. In the summer of 1995, with extensive historical restoration efforts at Dundurn Castle, it became apparent that the birds would not be returning to their home of 70 years. Fortunately, the Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) site known as the Teaching Gardens was being vacated. Because of the many features suited to the Aviary at this location, the City and the RBG agreed to a multi-year lease and the Aviary was moved July of 1996; indoor enclosures with outdoor flights were built.”
What kind of birds are at the hamilton aviary?
Expect to see a variety of exotic birds when you visit the aviary. When you book a visit, you’ll get a knowledgeable volunteer to help answer your questions and show you all of the features of each bird.
- African Grey parrots
- Citron-crested cockatoos
- Yellow-crowned amazons, and more!
Planning your visit to the aviary
Sunday Open Houses are free, though donations are well-used and highly appreciated. You can also book a private tour on the Aviary’s website – plan in advance as tours take 2-3 days to be confirmed. There is also a cost of $20. There are about 40 birds in the aviary, which resembles a small greenhouse, and all of the birds are in cages. Tours generally offer the chance to interact with a bird or two outside of their cages (depending of course on the bird’s mood that day and the discretion of the volunteer staff).
When Victoria and her daughter visited, they met Stephanie, an aviary volunteer. Stephanie was incredibly friendly and very, very knowledgeable about all the birds, their care, and fun facts. The tour was very educational. Your kids will leave a lot! 2-year-old Leora enjoyed seeing all the birds. Some of the birds can talk back with human words to you, and everyone loves interacting with them.
One thing to take into consideration when visiting: the rooms of birds can be loud when they’re excited and squawking. Some kiddos (and parents!) may find it too loud or off-putting, so be prepared to skip that section.
What's nearby the friends of the aviary?
After you’ve spent some time with your feathered friends, why not check out one of the best playgrounds in Hamilton? Or treat yourselves to a donut or two? When the weather is warm, you’re going to love these splash pads – so many to choose from! The aviary is a short walk from the RBG Cootes Paradise trails and would make a great addition to your day trip.
Keep On Day Tripping!
We’ve got lots of ideas for close-to-home adventures and attractions to visit.