This weekend we had a ton of fun visiting the Toronto Zoo! There really is so much to see & do that you can easily spend an entire day! Here are some of my tips and tricks for getting the most out of your visit with a little one.
This is my best advice for almost everywhere we go but it especially holds true for the zoo. By arriving early not only do you beat the crowds but the animals are really active. When we went it was pretty cool but the temperature quickly began to rise. And, as the temperature got warmer the animals get harder to see.
If you are hoping to see the Giant Pandas (which I highly recommend) then definitely arrive early to avoid the line!
Navigating the Zoo
I’m generally not one for needing a map to get around any type of attraction but even though I’ve visited the zoo dozens of times over the years I still found myself pulling out my map at almost every turn. One of the best parts of the Toronto Zoo is how big each of the animals’ enclosures are. This means the animals have lots of space to roam around but this also means that there is quite a distance between the different species. Because of this I found myself constantly referring to my map to make sure I was going the right way and to get an idea of what we were going to see next.
You can also use the Giant paw prints on the ground to help you navigate as they will help you stay on the main trail of a particular section. We did come to a few dead ends during our day but this also meant seeing a few animals that we might have otherwise missed (sometimes getting a little lost isn’t that bad!)
The Giant Pandas
The Giant Pandas are certainly not to be missed! We went during the Panda cubs 2nd birthday weekend and oh man were they fun to watch! They really are cute and so active. But, like I said above make sure you go early because if a crowd is going to form anywhere, this is where!
The waiting area is at least very well designed with lots to look at while you wait but avoiding a wait is always preferable.
This was my little guy’s favourite part of the day for sure! The Kid Zoo is such an awesome interactive area for little ones with lots to see (and touch!) along the way. My little guy loved the different exhibits and everything was scaled to kids so he could really get up close and be a part of the fun!
After the Giant Panda and Kid Zoo we were off the the Eurasia Wilds. The Red Pandas and Camels were definite fan favourites in this area. We were also super impressed with the renovations that had taken place in this section of the zoo, it was much easier to navigate and it seemed as though the animals were easier to see which is always a bonus!
The next big area that we checked out was the African Savannah. There are so many cool animals to see here including (of course) the Lions! We were actually lucky enough to get to the Lion enclosure during a ‘Meet the Keepers’ talk so we got a little extra info we would have otherwise missed. If you can time it to see at least one feeding or meet the keepers talk, so it! These are such a great way to learn a little more about the animals and usually see a little more action! The map has all of the times listed and there are signs everywhere letting you know what time to be at each spot.
After the Lions, Rhinos, Baboons and Giraffes we made our way to the African Penguins, my personal favourite, and man these little guys never disappoint! Make sure to check them out from both above and below water as these little guys really are cute and very playful.
No trip to the Toronto Zoo is complete without a walk through the Tundra Trek! Unfortunately we probably should have done this earlier as by the time we got here the temperature was starting to climb and the animals were starting to hide. Even so, we still saw everything, including a very itchy polar bear!
The Toronto Zoo is full of awesome inside pavilions including; Australasia, Americas, African Rainforest, and Indo-Malaysia. These are great if the weather isn’t cooperating and it’s also a great way to see many animals that can’t really take the ups and downs of Canadian weather. The animals inside are usually easier to see and more active as they aren’t affected by the weather the way the other animals are.
Last but not least is the Canadian section of the zoo. Truth be told, we never made it down here (and rarely do) because it’s a pretty far hike from the rest of the exhibits. If you are planning to take a little one to visit the Canadian section be warned there is a very steep hill that you have to go down and up and little legs are bound to get tired along the way.
Other things to try!
Obviously seeing animals is the number one reason to visit any zoo but the Toronto Zoo has been adding in different attractions and exhibits over the years which has really added to the experience.
There’s now a Carousel & splash pad for little ones as well as the Tundra Air Ride & Gorilla Climb Ropes Course for bigger kids (and adults). Plus, if you’re looking for an easy way to see more of the zoo in less time you can also take the Zoomobile which drops you off at a stop in each of the different areas.
Also, keep you eyes open for some cool non-animal exhibits like this awesome whale skeleton or re-created yurt they are definitely worth checking out along the way.
The Toronto Zoo is a definite much do with your little one. Just remember come early and be prepared to do some walking 🙂