08/07/2013 03:52 EDT | Updated 10/07/2013 05:12 EDT

Bird walks, historical tours mark 125th birthday of Vancouver's Stanley Park

VANCOUVER - On Sept. 27, 1888, Stanley Park was opened as Vancouver's first official green space. This month the city is marking the 400-hectare park's 125th birthday with a weekend of special events.

The Stanley Park Ecology Society is planning a "bio blitz," with science experts hosting owl prowls, bird walks and bat surveys.

Historical tours, nature displays and traditional Coast Salish games are among the other activities to be staged Aug. 24-25 throughout the park.

Visited by an estimated eight million people a year, Stanley Park (named after the same governor general, Frederick Stanley, memorialized by the NHL's Stanley Cup) is one of the largest urban parks in North America.

Earlier this year Travel and Leisure magazine ranked it among the world's most beautiful city parks, citing its skyline views and forest of 500,000 cedar, fir and hemlock trees.