Friday, June 17, 2011

Toronto Zoo

Last Saturday, Dan's work hosted a family event at the Metro Toronto Zoo. We invited Noah's daycare buddy, Aidas, and his mother, Aldona, to join us. The kids had an absolute blast! We were a little worried about an impending thunder shower, but luckily it held off long enough for us to get four solid hours in.
This is the first pavilion we went into, in the Indo-Malayan region of the zoo. We saw a sleeping leopard and a few long green snakes. It was exciting to see the kids' faces as they realized the animals they so often see in their books at home really do exist!
At the bigger of the two pavilions in this area, the boys saw turtles and fish.They talked about which fish they liked best. Not surprisingly, Noah said he liked the yellow fish best, while Aidas said the orange and red ones were his favourites. Those are their respective favourite colours.
In the same building, we also saw orangutans and pygmy hippos. Pygmy's are smaller versions of the regular hippo, and extremely cute, I thought. Just outside the pavilion we saw my favourite animal, the elephant. It was recently decided that the elephants will be leaving the zoo for an environment that better suits their needs. ( It is not entirely clear when this will happen. Although I will miss seeing them there, I cannot disagree with a decision that will allow them to live happier, healthier lives.
The boys spent much of their time out of their strollers, walking. They especially enjoyed the ramps, which they also called roller coasters. (Any hill they descend lately is called a roller coaster.) They were interested in seeing the animals. However, upon seeing each animal, Noah would say "Let's see more animals", so they were more excited about the adventure of it all. 
On the car ride up (which we all took together), Noah restated that his favourite animal is the zebra. Aidas declared that his favourite is the peacock. 
While walking down one of the zoo paths, Aidas spotted a golf cart parked off to the side. Animals? Who cares about animals?! They hopped inside and had a good time pretending. Their fun ended when a couple of zoo employees came back to reclaim their vehicle. The workers were not amused with this shenanigan. Oh well, at least we got some cute photos before we were busted!
The Law Society of Upper Canada (Dan's employer) provided a free lunch. Here the boys are, with their appetizer of potato chips. They later moved on to hamburgers, pizza, and Popsicles.
Then we were off to see more animals. We spent our entire time in the African Savanna area. In the top left picture Noah and I are checking out the antelope. In the picture to the right, the boys are getting a good look at the baboons.
Although Noah and Aidas had fun seeing the animals, they also thoroughly enjoyed the more 'hands-on' activities. They hid behind rocks, crawled through pretend hollow logs, and danced around in tents (which I presume are there for summer camps).
A good chunk of time was spent climbing around in the zebra trucks. It must have been pretty cool, from their perspective, to be able to hop into the back of a truck! 
We were finally able to drag them away so we could see more animals! We saw lions (whom Noah and I labeled Simba and Nala) and warthogs (one of whom we named Pumba). Noah is a big fan of the Lion King movie, book and music.

Having covered maybe half of the zoo, we got the kids onto one ride of the carousel before we rushed out to avoid the rain. It was Aidas's first time on a ride. Although he was a little spooked, I thought he was very brave considering it was a brand new experience.

I do have a couple of pictures of the part of the zoo we did not see, from last year's trip. There are pony rides, which Noah really enjoyed. I would like to do that with him if we go again later this year.
I also recall that there were some more hands-on activities in the Eurasia region. The picture below, of Noah with his brother Jacob, and cousins Kacey and Mackenzie, was taken in one of the caves in this area of the zoo.
At the Stingray Bay exhibit, you can touch stingrays, and see sharks. And, although I've never been, I think the addition of the water play area a few years ago was one of the zoo's greatest ideas. Kids need some relief from the heat if they visit on a stinking hot summer's day. 

For more information about the Toronto Zoo, you can visit their website at:


  1. Isn't the TO zoo great! I took my kids there when they were younger - we had so much fun!

  2. Yes, and it's gotten better over the years!