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Toronto Zoo Canada
Things to do at Toronto Zoo
Toronto Zoo is a fun place to spend a summer outing trip with family and friends while enjoying the outdoors. There is much to explore for children and adults alike.
The zoo in Toronto, is Canada's largest and one of the largest zoos in the world. It spans over 700 acres of land, has 10 kilometers of walking trails and houses over 5,000 animals.
It is laid out into seven different zoogeographic regions, each displayed as separate exhibits showcasing animals and plants from that part of the world. You can spend a whole day outdoors given that there is so much to explore and its sheer size. Therefore, it's important to plan your trip to the zoo, in advance, in order to be able to cover as much as possible and make it an enjoyable experience.
On this web page, you will get a virtual tour of the Toronto zoo to help plan your trip. You will find information on various exhibits, kids discovery zone, special events, food and accommodation, zoo maps, driving directions, hours of operation, buying tickets and much more. For now, you can enjoy this virtual tour.
Videos Exploring Toronto Zoo in Canada
You will get a sneak peek into the zoo from the videos showcased below. The first video is an official video from the Toronto Zoo showcasing the Conservation Carousel and exploring some of the pavilions and exhibits. The rest of the videos feature the recently introduced Chinese Pandas, and the cute little polar bear cub, Humphrey.
Toronto Zoo Information
At the Toronto Zoo Website, you will find all the information you need to plan and organize your visit like hours of operation, directions to the zoo, admission passes, etc.
Admission tickets to the Toronto Zoo can be obtained online in advance for a 10% discount. The cost includes access to most exhibits and events, however, some rides and events are ticketed.
It's a good idea to check the cost of various rides like the conservation carousel, Zoomobile, Camel and Pony rides, strollers and wagons in advance.
Also, keep an eye for various events, celebrations, arts and cultural festivals held at the zoo during the year.
Poll: Toronto Zoo Visit - Share Your Experience at the Zoo
Have you visited the Toronto Zoo?
Toronto Zoo Pavilions and Exhibits
Zoogeographic Regions of the Toronto Zoo
There is much to explore at the Toronto Zoo for both children and adults. Organizing a full-day summer outing with the family is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors as well as use it as a learning experience for the kids.
Given that the zoo covers several hundred acres of land, it is a good idea to plan your trip in advance so you and your family can make the best of it. The above Toronto Zoo map will help you identify various pavilions and exhibits that may interest you.
The Toronto zoo is creatively designed and has several regions based on geographical regions of the world. Each of these regions showcases indoor and outdoor exhibits of a variety of animals and plant species. Below you will find a synopsis of each of the regions:
Indo-Malaya: region is the first pavilion to the left as you enter the zoo. It houses animals from the tropical rainforests of India, Malaysia and Indonesia displayed in indoor and outdoor exhibits. Animals like the Great Indian Rhinoceros, Malayan Tapir, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Himalayan Tahr as well as the Indian Peacock form part of the outdoor exhibit.
The Malayan Woods exhibit displays butterflies (including some endangered species), Clouded Leopard, Crested Wood Partridge, Javan Whistling Duck as well as freshwater fish in large aquariums. Other prominent animals featured in the Indo-Malayan pavilion are the Sumatran Tigers and Sumatran Orangutan, several types of reptiles (snakes and lizards), tortoises and birds. In this pavilion, my favourites were the Sumatran Orangutan, peacocks and butterflies.
African: pavilion is next in line and the largest of the seven sections in the zoo, as you can see on the zoo map above. There are two major sections:
The African Rainforest Pavilion houses the world's largest indoor Gorilla exhibit as well as many other animals like the Ring-tailed Lemur, Royal Python, Pygmy Hippopotamus, West African Dwarf Crocodile, different types of lizards, reptiles and birds of the region.
The African Savannah Pavilion features the African Elephant, African Lion, Caracal Lynx, Cheetah, Grevy's Zebra, Masai Girrafe, Spotted Hyena, River Hippopotamus to name a few. Also, recently introduced in May 2011, are the African Penguins.
In this pavilion, my favourite was the Western Iowland Gorilla and of course, I would enjoy the Penguins too.
Canadian Domain: pavilion is located at the north-east corner of the Toronto Zoo and features North American animals like the Wapiti American Elk, American Moose, Canada Lynx, Cougar, Grizzly Bear, Wood Bison, Northern Bald Eagle and some others. In this pavilion, my favourites were the Grizzly Bear and American Moose.
Americas: pavilion, as the name suggests, encompasses both, North and South America and houses the majority of the zoo's amphibian and reptile population. These include animals like the Blue Poison dart Frog, Beaver, Black-tailed Prairie Dog, Boa Constrictor, Brazilian Agouti, Giant Pacific Octopus, Northern Pacific Rattlesnake, and several types of other snakes, birds, frogs, turtles and lizards.
The outdoor exhibit of the Americas pavilion features American Flamingo, Jaguar, Llama, Blue & Yellow Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, and the Black-handed Spider Monkey. In this pavilion, I enjoyed exploring the variety of amphibians.
Tundra Trek: or the Arctic pavilion was introduced in 2009 and houses many different Arctic animals like the Polar Bear, Snowy Owl, Arctic Fox, Arctic Wolf, European Reindeer and the Lesser Snow Goose. As you can imagine, the Polar Bears are the main attraction in the Tundra Trek pavilion and you can expect this place to be crowded. In this pavilion, my favourites were the Polar Bears.
Australasia: pavilion showcases many of Australia's popular animals like kangaroos, wallabies, and Emus which are part of the outdoor exhibit in the Toronto Zoo. The other exhibits feature a variety of Australia's reptiles and amphibians like the Green Tree Python, Komodo Dragon, Frilled Lizard; sea creatures like the Pot-bellied Seahorse, Pennant Coral Fish, Humbug damselfish; several types of birds like the Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Green-winged Dove, Red-tailed black cockatoo and several others. In this pavilion, my favourites were the Kangaroos.
Eurasia: pavilion features animals from the supercontinent of Eurasia which makes up Europe and Asia. Some of the animals showcased in this pavilion are the Snow Leopard, Siberian Tiger, Red Panda, European Bison, Bactrian Camel, Barbary Sheep and others. This section of the Toronto zoo is generally less crowded as compared to the others. In this pavilion, my favourites were the Snow Leopard and Siberian Tiger.
If you have kids, you should check out the Zellers Kids Discovery Zone (see section below) and accordingly incorporate it into your planning. You can easily spend a couple of hours in this area alone and the kids will really enjoy every bit of it.
Documentary: Toronto Zoo Diaries
Zoo Diaries is a video documentary showcasing various episodes of the relationships between the animals and their keepers. Viewers get an exclusive glimpse into an intriguing world beyond what one can experience through regular exhibits. Some of the highlights of the episodes included in this unique series are: the birth of moose twins, feeding a Grizzly bear and an elephant who won't go to sleep.
Kids Discovery Zone
Children's Discovery Area at the Toronto Zoo
Kids Discovery Zone (formerly known as the Zellers Discovery Zone) is a unique area in the Toronto zoo that was designed to provide children a fun, yet educational experience. This nature discovery zone features a Splash Island, Waterside Theater and a Kids Zoo.
Splash Island: is a water-park which provides children and families a place to chill and cool off amid exhibits representing different states of water, that is, ice, gas and water. This water-park includes waterslides, tipping buckets, misters and more.
Waterside Theater: is a fun, open-air theater featuring live animal demonstrations including children's shows. The Waterside Theater is open during the months of late May through early October depending on the weather.
Kids Zoo: is an area, within the Discovery Zone, that provides children a fun opportunity to interact with many different domestic animals like miniature-sized goats, prairie dogs, donkeys, pigs as well as different species of birds.
Entrance in the Discovery Zone is free with the regular admission zoo pass.
Pictures of Toronto Zoo, Ontario Canada
The pictures below and on this web page were taken during my summer trip to the Toronto Zoo with a few friends. It's a wonderful place to spend time outdoors and make it a full day trip. You can click the picture below and see the full album at Flickr. There is lots to see.
Tips for Planning Your Trip to the Zoo
The Toronto Zoo has much to offer in terms of indoor and outdoor pavilions and exhibits showcasing a variety of animals and plants. Given that the zoo spans over 700 acres of land, it is wise to plan your trip in order to cover as much as possible or cover only those pavilions that you and your family are truly interested in. By planning in advance, you will more likely have an enjoyable and education experience:
Use the map to plot your route and focus on exhibits that interest you;
Apart from regular zoo exhibits, check for special events being held at the zoo;
Save 10% off the retail admission fee by booking in advance online;
Carry snacks and water or hydrating drinks with you;
Carry your digital camera and/or camcorder to capture special moments;
Arrive a little early in order to avoid the crowds and get a head start;
Weekdays are generally less crowded than weekends;
Check the weather in advance and dress accordingly;
Don't forget to carry sun protection and wear comfortable footwear;
Factor in breaks because you will be doing a lot of walking;
If you have kids, rent a stroller or wagon at the zoo (costs $5 to $8);
If you have only limited time, consider using the Zoomobile.
Google Map of Toronto Zoo, Ontario, Canada
The Toronto Zoo is located in the Rouge Valley which is in the north-east end of the City of Toronto. If you're looking for driving directions, enter your starting location in the Google map below in order to get detailed directions. The zoo is also accessible via the public transit system. Your can check your public transit options by visiting the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) website: http://www3.ttc.ca/