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What You Can Expect When Visiting the Toronto Zoo
May 26, 2023 By CityPASS
Zoos are an excellent way to promote conservation science while exposing people to wildlife from around the world. However, few zoos are as large or diverse as the Toronto Zoo.
With hundreds of species and 710 acres to explore, the Toronto Zoo is undoubtedly impressive. Anyone looking to experience wildlife from North America and beyond can't go wrong with a day at this zoo.
If you can't decide what to see first, keep reading this guide. We'll point you toward some of the most incredible animals that call the Toronto Zoo home and offer tips on how to get the most from your visit.
Must See Animal Exhibits at the Toronto Zoo
Arctic Wolves and Polar Bears
The zoo's Tundra Trek section is home to some beautiful animals from the far north.
One of these is the Arctic wolf. Don't let these gorgeous animals fool you — they are master hunters that work in packs to bring down prey much larger than themselves. Their white fur coats help them blend in with snowy backgrounds. And unlike most animals, male and female Arctic wolves bond for life.
Joining the wolves in the frozen regions of the world is the polar bear. This iconic animal is the largest land predator alive at a maximum weight of 800 kilograms (over 1,700 pounds). Their white fur and long necks differentiate them from other bears. If you visit the zoo between May and August, you may even catch them in molt.
Amur Tiger and the Snow Leopards
If you're more of a cat person, head over to Eurasia.
The Amur tiger is the largest cat in the world. Sadly, they've lost most of their territory in Russia, which is why they're no longer called Siberian tigers. Still, they are excellent hunters and feast on a wide range of prey. They can eat 45 kilograms (just under 100 pounds) of meat in one sitting!
You might recognize the snow leopard from the BBC series Planet Earth. These solitary hunters can jump as far as 15 meters, which helps them chase prey in their Himalayan homes. Their thick fur and round heads allow them to survive in below-freezing temperatures.
Komodo Dragon and the Victoria Crowned Pigeons
Like the region it's based on, the zoo's Australasia pavilion is home to incredibly diverse wildlife, including the Komodo dragon. These predators can weigh up to 135 kilograms (just shy of 300 pounds) and reach a length of 3.5 meters (or 11.5 feet), making them the largest and heaviest lizards in the world. They may not be widespread, but they sit atop the food chain wherever they go.
In contrast, you'll find the beautiful Victoria crowned pigeon nearby. These birds are recognizable by their purple plumage and the white-tipped crest on their heads. The male's crest helps him find a partner during mating season. Successful couples mate for life and split incubation and chick care duties equally.
The 7 Geographic Regions of the Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is divided into seven main sections based on the world's regions. Here's what you can expect to find at each:
- Australasia: Many different kinds of animals make their home here. Reptile fans will have plenty to enjoy, including green tree pythons, emerald tree boas, and black tree monitors. However, plenty of furry friends are here, too, including wombats and echidnas.
- Americas: Many lovable animals occupy this pavilion, including the adorable river otter and endangered axolotl. Check out the Mayan temple ruins for a rare viewing of the jaguar, flamingo, and macaw.
- Tundra Trek: This pavilion gives you a look at some animals that live too far north for most of us to enjoy. The lesser snow goose and caribou join the polar bears and wolves.
- Indo-Malaya: Here, you'll find lots of fish, including gourami, carp, and catfish. There are also plenty of unique birds, such as hornbills, peacocks, and the Malayan crested fireback pheasant. Rhino and orangutan fans should also stop by this section of the zoo.
- Africa: This corner of the zoo is divided into two sections: the rainforest and the savannah. The rainforest has adorable critters like mole rats, meerkats, and red river hogs. The savannah is home to mighty lions, giraffes, zebras, and white rhinos.
- Canadian Domain: Like their home country, many of these animals are big. The moose, bison, grizzly bears, and eagles are some of the largest of their kind. However, this isn't just a giant's world, as raccoons and trumpeter swans also reside here.
- Eurasia: The expanses of this continent are perfect for the furry, four-legged fellows that reside there. This part of the zoo captures that by displaying mighty yaks, horses, and camels. Those looking for something adorable will enjoy the red pandas.
Dining and Shopping at the Toronto Zoo
There are plenty of things to eat at the Toronto Zoo. Whether you're looking for pizza, poutine, ice cream, or even bubble tea, there's a refreshment for your tastes. Most eateries are in the front courtyard or the Africa and Tundra Trek sections.
The zoo has seven gift shops if you're looking for a gift or souvenir. The largest is Zootique, which has toys, apparel, jewelry, and more. Still, each gift shop has its own selection and is worth a look.
If you want or need anything, seek out any of the zoo's helpful staff for assistance.
Plan Your Next Visit to the Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo is one of many cool things to experience in the city of Toronto, which also has attractions like Casa Loma, CN Tower, and the Ontario Science Centre. Toronto can also be great for bike rides and viewing cherry blossom trees, depending on the time of year you visit.
If you want to check it all out, do so while saving with Toronto CityPASS® tickets! This bundle isn't just a Toronto Zoo package; it saves you off Toronto's best attractions. It's always wise to reserve early, so get your tickets today and prepare for your Toronto adventure!
Lodging in Toronto
Need lodging for your trip to Toronto? Use this map to find the right lodging for you:
Header image Courtesy of Toronto Zoo