Spread across 710 acres (287 hectares), Toronto Zoo is the biggest zoo in Canada; it attracts around 1.3 million visitors yearly. In the first animal park in North America with a permanent nutritionist, the 5,000 animals that occupy the zoo’s spacious habitats have always received the best care.
Find animals representing over 450 species from seven geographic regions: Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Canada, Eurasia, Indomalaya, and the Tundra. Each sector replicates the animals’ natural habitats, so elephants roam across an open savannah, gorillas laze in a rainforest pavilion, and stingrays swim in a large pool. Don’t miss the pair of giant pandas, flown in from China in May 2013.
Spend all day walking the 6 miles (10 kilometers) of trails and watching the animals. Rent a stroller or pull-along wagon to take the children everywhere. Wheelchairs are available free of charge. In summer, the hop-on, hop-off service called Zoomobile stops at four stations spread throughout the zoo, a convenient way to see more of the park.
Start your visit at the African Savannah, the largest section of the zoo. The zone also includes the African Rainforest Pavilion, where you’ll find the biggest indoor gorilla exhibit in the world.
Explore the 10-acre (4-hectare) Tundra Trek with Arctic animals, including reindeer and wolves, and see a polar bear swim underwater from the special basement area.
Treat your children to the Discovery Zone with hands-on exhibits in the Kids Zoo and Splash Island. Take a seat in the Waterside Theatre for daily events, such as the Wingin’ It bird show. Kids Zoo is open May through October.
It’s only a 30-minute drive from downtown to the zoo, which is located in Rouge Park, in Scarborough district. There is a large parking lot available, but parking is expensive. Buses stop close to the main entrance.
The Toronto Zoo closes only once a year, on Christmas Day. It is open an hour longer from May to September and has shorter opening hours in November and December. Last admission is one hour before closing. Check the zoo’s official website for scheduled feedings and events.