The Toronto Zoo

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As Canada’s most renowned zoo, the Toronto Zoo is at the forefront of animal conservation and protection. It’s the only place in Canada that features the world famous Giant Pandas, alongside thousands of other creatures from across the globe. With 450 different species to investigate, visitors are sure to encounter their favorite animals at this grand institution. The Toronto Zoo is also the largest zoo in Canada, coming in at more than 700 acres divided into seven distinct zoographic regions.

Featuring keeper talks throughout the day at many of the major animal exhibits, informative and well-placed contextual signage, and detailed plates in front of each species, this zoo is incredibly educational for even the most casual visitor. The zoo also emphasizes the holistic animal experience, providing information to visitors on everything from the diverse habitats that natural house their residents to the cultures and people that call those environments home.

A visit here is an opportunity to not only see your favorite animals on exhibit, but to learn about how they live and play, and how the Toronto Zoo staff and scientists around the world work to conserve many rare and endangered species.

This is also a very family-friendly zoo, with a number of welcome conveniences like the must-use Zoomobile, a charming Conservation Carousel, and a dedicated Kids Zoo, plus a small waterpark! Families should be aware that its large size means either a great deal of walking or a dedicated use of the Zoomobile transit system.

What’s at the Toronto Zoo?

There are several different themed areas in the zoo, each with unique animal populations. Each region also boasts additional benefits like gift shops, restaurants, ice cream or snack stands, restrooms, and more. There are Zoomobile stations in every region – sometimes more than one, depending on the section.

Here’s an overview of each section, and what you’ll find within.

Eurasia Wilds

This is one of the first areas you encounter when entering the zoo. Home to the Giant Pandas exhibit, the Eurasia Wilds is also one of the most popular areas. Visit the Australasia Pavilion for some brightly colored creatures like butterfly fish, green-winged doves, and live coral reefs.

Then, walk the long path to see amazing creatures like iconic Giant Pandas (and their two new baby twins, now on display near the Panda Interpretive Centre), serene camels, imposing yaks, and the endangered snow leopards. Zoomobile riders will get to see more of the larger animal exhibits on their route than visitors on foot will, including yaks and Przewalski’s horses.

Tundra Trek

The Tundra Trek is a smaller, 10-acre section, but it’s filled with some of the most famous and popular animals. Take a brief stroll through this area to see everything from stunningly beautiful Arctic wolves to playful Polar bears. You’ll also find European Reindeer and arctic birds like the Lesser Snow Goose and the Snowy Owl.

This section features some large exhibit spaces for larger creatures, but everything is outdoors including the 5-acre polar bear habitat. It’s a little hilly, too, so be prepared for some uphill walking.

Americas

Another smaller region nestled next to the Tundra Trek, the Americas section is home to a reconstructed Mayan Temple Ruin and the comprehensive Americas Pavilion. Inside the Pavilion you’ll find a wide variety of animals, spanning the gamut from tiny anemones to intimidating alligators.

Some of the most popular critters in this region include the reptiles, insects, and amphibians, as well as smaller mammals like river otters and sloths. The Mayan Temple Ruin is a stylish way to view South American creatures, from jaguars to macaws to spider monkeys.

Canadian Domain

This is a particularly delightful area for those who are perhaps less familiar with Canadian wildlife. Here is where you’ll encounter some of the most famous Canadian creatures, like the giant grizzly bears and the majestic moose. Some of the other large animals in this section include the wood bison and the American elk. You’ll also find some big cat species, like the Canada lynx and the cougar.

This section is especially hilly (some serious uphill walking that you have to loop back on to return to the rest of the zoo), so be prepared for slow going and real exertion. Here is another place where the Zoomobile can be especially helpful.

African Savanna

Along with the African Rainforest Pavilion, the African Savanna section actually encompasses an entire third of the whole zoo.

The African Savanna is the place to go for animals you think of as being part of a Safari excursion, from lions (the zoo has some beautiful white lions) to cheetahs to a Grevy’s zebra. You’ll also find some beautiful and rare creatures like the white rhinoceros and African penguins.

In the African Rainforest Pavilion, you’ll be able to enjoy the sight of a number of smaller creatures from birds to bugs to fish. Don’t miss the adorable ring-tailed lemurs, the slender meerkats, or spotted-neck otter. A famous exhibit of endangered Western lowland gorillas is another must-see.

Indomalaya

Indomalaya is comprised of both and indoor and outdoors exhibit, each with distinct species. Outside you’ll find a wide variety but small selection of species, including the Malayan tapirs, Great Indian rhinoceros, and the lion-tailed Macaque.

The interior exhibit is actually quite spacious, and features an impressive number of distinct species large and small. You’ll get to enjoy some creepy crawlies like Asian giant millipede, some fascinating and critically endangered species like the Burmese star tortoise, and grand creatures like the marvelous Sumatran tigers. There’s also a really great collection of tropical fish in a stunning display.

Discovery Zone

This entire area is geared towards children under 12. It’s comprised of the Kid’s Zoo, the open-air Waterside Theatre, and the refreshing Splash Island. Splash Island is a two-acre waterpark just for children (accompanied by adults), featuring a number of animal-themed water features and a shallow pool.

At the Kid’s Zoo you’ll find small domestic animals like Alpaca, turkeys, woodchucks, skunks, and more. It’s a nice accessible space that’s easy to navigate with strollers and large groups.

The Waterside Theatre runs daily live demonstrations of animal handling, featuring everything from ferrets to hawks to miniature donkeys. Occasionally visitors can even pet or touch the creature on display – just be sure to double check with the keeper!

Toronto Zoo Dining & Shopping Options

There are multiple options for dining throughout the park, some offering basic fare like pizza and hotdogs, and others with a more diverse (and healthier) menu like roasted veggie wraps and grilled chicken sandwiches. There’s also a Mandarin Express located near the Giant Panda Exhibit for those looking for Asian cuisine. You’ll find many more places to purchase water and other beverages (including coffee at a couple of scattered Tim Horton’s locations). For a special Canadian treat, try Smoke’s Poutine!

If you’re looking for a souvenir or three, there are plenty of gift shop options throughout the zoo. Near the entrance are the spacious Zootique Gift Shop and the Greenhouse Gift Shop, and a number of other smaller, themed shops are located in specific zones, like the Panda Gift Shop and the Savanna Gift Shop. A popular souvenir is a reusable water bottle with animal décor that Zoo staff can fill with water, soda, or iced treats.

Tips for Visiting The Toronto Zoo

  • It takes about 3-4 hours to see everything in the zoo (building in some time for lunch).
  • Download a Zoo Map before you go to plan your route.
  • CityPASS holders get to skip the general ticket lines and proceed to a special line.
  • If you’ve chosen the Ontario Science Centre as your “either/or” option with the CityPass, be sure to use the coupon for 10% off general zoo admission.
  • Parking is $12, and the parking lot is quite spacious.
  • Zoomobile tickets are more than worth the charge for the convenience – without it, you’re walking a couple of miles to traverse the entire zoo.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle and fill it up at any of the many water fountains throughout the zoo – it will save you a bundle to not buy their pricey bottled water.
  • Visitors looking to dine with a specific diet or on a budget may wish to bring coolers or lunch boxes with their own food – there are frequent, scenic picnic spots scattered throughout the zoo.
  • Giant Panda viewing often has a line, but the time is sometimes much shorter than quoted at the entrance. If you want to visit this exhibit, it’s recommended to head there first thing.
  • Remember to wear good walking shoes, a hat, and sunscreen!

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to .

1. Purchase a ticket from  when you get there.

2. Purchase a Tourist pass. The  is available on the Toronto CityPass.