Located in Toronto, Canada, the Toronto Zoo aims to excite guests about conserving the beauty of nature through hands-on and interactive educational experiences. Visitors can see a large variety wildlife and participate in exciting activities that will spark their passion for the natural world.
The first zoo to open in Toronto was the Riverdale Zoo, it was opened in 1888 and was a sad example of what zoos were at the time. Animals kept in dark, damp cages and tiny enclosures. In 1963, citizens wanted better for their zoo and its animals, they founded a council within the Municipality of Toronto and began planning for a new zoo. After years of planning, the plans for the new Toronto Zoo were a go and construction began in 1970.
The new Toronto Zoo was officially opened to the public in August 1974 and encompasses more than 710 acres of land. The zoo is open year-round and is home to more than 5,000 animals from approximately 500 different species.
There are a variety of animal exhibitions, exciting rides, and entertaining activities for visitors to enjoy. Some highlights include the following:
Baby Gorilla: Born in January 2014, Nneka is a baby lowland gorilla who resides at the Toronto Zoo! Guests can watch her grow, learn, and play alongside her older brother and witness these majestic creatures up-close-and-personal.
Discovery Zone: This exhibition is specially-designed just for the younger visitors to explore and learn about nature in a very hand-on way! There is a playground, a splash island, a theatre, and even animal demonstration zone where the little ones can pet and play with wild animals!
First Nation Art Garden: There are three beautiful and distinct pieces of artwork on display in this garden including a stonework turtle sculpture and a hand painted landscapes displayed on beautifully hand-crafted wooden signs. This area is engulfed in the natural beauty of the island that it represents and holds great significance to the locals.
Giant Pandas: Two giant pandas are on loan to the Toronto Zoo and visitors can experience them up-close-and-personal! Da Mao and Er Shun are two beautiful, playful, and loving giant pandas who are loving their home at the Toronto Zoo. Visitors can watch their daily enrichment activities and eat their weight in bamboo.
Giraffe House: The Toronto Zoo has the largest indoor giraffe house in all of Canada! Visitors can witness the tallest land mammal all year-round and experience this magnificent creature in a way they never thought possible. There is a large interpretive center in the viewing house alongside the large 173-meter Savanna landscape.
Meet the Zookeeper: There are year-round interactive “Meet the Keeper” events at the Toronto Zoo. Visitors can attend zookeeper talks and feedings of a large variety of species, including the red panda, the white rhinoceros, polar bears, the African penguin, and the komodo dragon. For the full schedule, visit the Zoo’s website.
Rhino Calf: There is a one-year-old rhino calf living at the Toronto Zoo! Nandu may only be a year old but he already weighs 1,645 pounds and eats more in a day than his mom! Visitors can witness him play, grow, and explore his home in an interactive and up-close-and-personal way. His daily enrichment and training activities are not only educational but entertaining and just darn cute. This exhibit is not to be missed!
Programs & Education:
The Toronto Zoo aims to educate visitors of all ages and inspire them to explore and engage with the natural world. The zoo provides the educational tools and hands-on activities to connect visitors with plants and animals. There are a variety of camps and public programs hosted year-round to help the zoo achieve its educational mission. The Toronto zoo was even voted the best summer day camp in 2013!
The Toronto Zoo is highly involved in conservation programs including but not limited to: Captive breeding and reintroduction, helping to eliminate invasive plant and animal species, conducting invaluable research into aiding endangered animals through decreasing the rapid rate of habitat loss, teaching green initiatives, and the conservation of native endangered fish.
Be sure to pay a visit to the wildlife health center and witness the recovery and release process of many different endangered animals. A large portion of the proceeds from the zoo go directly into these conservation efforts, for more information, visit the zoo’s conservation information webpage.
Toronto Zoo, 361A Old Finch Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M1B 5K7, website, Phone: 416-392-5929