If you are looking for an exciting activity close to Nanaimo, gather your friends and buckle up for a train ride around the Morning Star Bison Ranch.
Morning Star Bison Ranch is located in the Cassidy area just south of Nanaimo. Signs clearly mark the turnoffs in both directions, so keep your eyes peeled and you will find your way.
If you’re heading to the ranch from Nanaimo, head south on Highway 1. Shortly after you cross the bridge over the Nanaimo River (peek to your right to catch a bungee jumper at WildPlay Element Park), turn right onto Spruston Road. A few kilometers down, you’ll find the place where the buffalo roam: Morning Star Bison Ranch.
Heading north, just use the U-turn route to get onto Spruston and follow the directions above.
Buffalo Bob’s Ranch
When you arrive, you’re likely to be met by a couple ranch dogs, the unofficial greeters of the ranch.
But it’s Buffalo Bob, ranch owner and train conductor, who will show you the ropes upon your arrival. At Morning Star, it’s required that you book your tour in advance as pricing depends on the size of your group, so be sure to call ahead and secure your spot. After all, you don’t want to surprise a herd of Buffalo.
Where the Buffalo Roam
For most visitors, the sight of a bison in the flesh (or fur) is an exciting experience. Unless you’re from more Northern parts of British Columbia or Alberta, it’s likely that you’ve never seen a bison before. There is an incredible number of these massive animals at Morning Star, and Buffalo Bob is ready to answer any bison related questions you may have. Be sure to come prepared for a fun and educational experience.
You’ll get up close and personal with these shaggy ungulates while riding on the train (or in their open-air ‘Buffalo Safari’ bus). Buffalo Bob drives slowly into the center of the gentle herd before handing everyone “Buffalo Cookies.” As these massive creatures excitedly approach the vehicle, you can feed them by hand. From newborn calves to the big bulls, their fervid feeding is nothing short of hilarious.
If you’re interested in visiting these great big, furry beasts, you’ll need to call and book your visit. The ranch is open 10 am – 4 pm, 7 days a week, with group rates for 20 people, or 1o or less. Give them a call at 250-713-3111 to book your tour.
The Meat Shop
The Morning Star Bison Ranch also has a top-quality meat shop where you can purchase fresh steaks, roasts, sausages, and more. You can purchase on-site or online through their website. Bison meat is a favourite among health-conscious omnivores. It’s high in protein and iron while low in fat and cholesterol, with a taste similar to beef. You’ll also find this locally raised meat when you visit the Ladysmith or Bowen Road Farmers’ Market. Raised in nature, without the use of steroids or hormones, these are happy, healthy bison who could just make a great addition to tonight’s dinner.