Little Ray’s Nature Centre has been creating exciting and educational live animal experiences for more than 25 years.
Paul “Little Ray” Goulet and his partner Sheri Goulet started Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo in 2000, after years of caring for animals and providing educational presentations.
Today, Little Ray’s Nature Centre is the largest animal rescue in Canada, with one of the most extensive and diverse animal education and outreach programs in North America. It also boasts an award winning live animal travelling museum exhibit program. To this day, it is still operated by Paul and Sheri, and their expert team of keepers and educators, with the same passion that started it all!
I’ve been hooked on reptiles since I discovered I couldn’t own a dinosaur as a pet, much to my chagrin. It all started when my father took my family to the San Diego Zoo when I was three and one of the keepers there let me touch a boa constrictor. And the rest is history.
Actually, it started out quite innocently enough. I had a small collection of pet reptiles at home when I was in high school and I always wanted to be a teacher. My opportunity came when I was placed in an elementary school for my high school co-op term. When the teacher caught wind of my scaly collection, she asked if I could bring them in for a “show and tell”. And then another teacher asked. And another. I had a great time and was happy to take second fiddle to my reptilian friends. When I left for the University of Waterloo, I sadly couldn’t bring my pets, so I had to find appropriate homes for them.
1995, the year I returned home from Waterloo, was an important year for me. In that year, I met my future wife, Sheri, I started up my collection of reptiles again, and by the end of that year, Little Ray’s Reptile Adventure was born. Over the next 4 years, our hobby turned business continued to grow, doing presentations in schools, daycares and birthday parties. In 1998, I left my position as a banker to work full time doing presentations.
By 2000, our home was bursting at the seams with all sorts of reptiles, amphibians, insects and arachnids, so we thought it was time to open a zoo. And that’s just what we did. Sheri left her full time job as a restaurant manager to do presentations while I built the zoo, and we opened Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo to the public in November 2000.
Anyone who’s met me, knows that I am passionate about what I do. I love what we’ve built here and have always thought of myself as lucky. The fact that I get to teach children and adults alike about the amazing animals that surround us, astounds me every day. This once small business has somehow grown into a very large company that now travels across Canada and the U.S. Who knew that one child’s passion could turn into something so spectacular. I will never take for granted how lucky I truly am and I look forward to sharing my passion with you.
Paul “Little Ray” Goulet