Where the Wild Things Are
If you’re looking for a bit of a different type of day, you should consider visiting some of the wild things that are just west of Parksville in Errington and Coombs.
Humans sometimes have to intervene to provide shelter and care to ill, injured and orphaned wildlife. The North Island Wildlife Recovery Association in Errington is that place. Specializing in black bears and raptors, they also take in many different species with the aim to save, rehabilitate and integrate them back into the wild. Internationally acclaimed, this facility is staffed by great people providing passionate care and they welcome you to visit March-December, daily from 9am to 5pm. The park like setting allows you to wander through the property, enjoying the funky cages that house many creatures many of whom are life residents. Discover who’s in residence, how they got there, and if there's a chance for release. See bears, eagles, owls, falcons and other wildlife up close and personal
About 10 minutes down Errington Rd you’ll find the entrance to the wild, remote Englishman River Fall Provincial Park. Home of old growth and second growth forests, this spectacular park is complete with two waterfalls that thunder through the deep canyon below. Accessed by over 3km of well-maintained trails, and two bridges, you’ll get a great view of the river far below.
The campsite is open from May through September and boasts 103 sites, 56 by reservation only. As with many wilderness trails, keep your dogs leashed, pack out what you pack in and remember that this is wilderness. Take a moment to educate yourselves and be wildlife wise.
If there is active wildlife in the area, it will be posted.
Now, I'm not going to suggest for a moment that goats are wild. It is however wild to consider that they would hang out on a roof, with their kids, in Coombs. Generally the thought of kids on a roof with or without their parents would strike fear into most of us. You have none of that responsibility here, unless your kids decide to climb up to the roof to play with the other kids!
The Old Country Market is where you’ll find this attraction and once you find parking, stand facing the grass roof and look for the usual suspects. They’re the hairy ones with the beards! We love to stop here, grab goodies for a picnic or wander through their International Marketplace. Buy fresh bakery items, local produce, smoked salmon, deli meats and more for the road. Visit the other shops on the property and stretch your legs. Its wild, it’s wacky, quirky and decidedly west coast.
Further along you’ll find Butterfly World and Gardens. Open May to October this attraction is a wonderful place to visit regardless of your age. Enjoy the tropical gardens, waterfalls and ponds. Let your inner child out in the Big Bug Jungle and visit The BC Orchid Garden where hundreds of orchids are displayed from around the world. These butterflies call this place home and they fly freely through the exhibit often landing on visitors. Take pictures and enjoy the activity around you, afterall, it's not everyday that you can see such delicate, colourful and BIG butterflies. So, there are some ideas for getting wild around the mid island area. Enjoy your adventure!