Assiniboine Park Zoo aims for full liquor licence

The Assiniboine Park Zoo hopes to be fully licensed soon.

Zoo official Laura Curtis says the Winnipeg attraction applied for a liquor licence for the entire grounds and hopes to have the new rules in place by the summer.

Curtis said the application is an effort to make it easier to host the many private events held at the zoo, which include weddings, receptions and private dinners.

"We're having an increasing number of private, after-hour events on weekday evenings and on the weekends, so this will just give us a little bit more flexibility in terms of what we're able to offer our clients," Curtis said.

"It also means we don't have to apply for a permit every time we do one of our events."

Parts of the Winnipeg attraction already have liquor licences, including the restaurant and the Gateway to the Arctic, the indoor portion of the polar bear exhibit with the underwater tunnel.

Under the new rules, a visitor could technically walk around the zoo with a drink during regular hours, but Curtis says it's unlikely that will happen much.

Beer is already offered on the menu at the Tundra Grill, but Curtis said it's not a popular menu item and she doesn't expect that to change.

"The main demographic of people who are coming are families, seniors, people with kids," she said.

"They're not really coming here to drink, they're coming here because we're a family-friendly attraction and they want to be outside and they want to see the animals, so [alcohol is] really not a part of the zoo experience."