Summer Trip To The Toronto Zoo & A Look At The New Panda Exhibit

A couple of weeks ago my dear friend and one of our editors here at Child Mode, Desiree Fawn (also the founder of So Fawned), took our kids to check out the Toronto Zoo. This was the first time I’d been to the zoo in several years and was quite excited to experience the grounds, check out the new exhibits and visit the splash pad.

What I love the most about Toronto Zoo is their values, morals and love for animals. This zoo feels strongly about loving, protecting and respecting wildlife, they have state-of-the-art facilities and use the best environmental practices. One of their strategic directions states “Protect wildlife populations and the places that sustain them by demonstrating environmental leadership through model conservation programs and partnerships. ” Toronto Zoo is passionate about animals and their welfare, this is evident in everywhere you turn.

pandasThe Zoo is split up into 15 different sections:

  • African Rainforest
  • African Savanna
  • Americas
  • Americas Outdoor Exhibit
  • Australasia
  • Australasia Outdoor Exhibit
  • Canadian Domain
  • Conservation Efforts
  • Eurasia
  • Indomalaya
  • Indomalaya Outdoor Exhibit
  • Kids Zoo
  • Malayan Woods
  • Tundra Trek
  • Waterside Theatre

In total there are over 5000 animals representing over 460 species across the regions and pavillions mentioned above.


The Zoomobile is the easiest and fastest way to check out the grounds. This zoo is massive and if you have little kids in tow, they will most definitely get tired before you have a chance to see everything. The Zoomobile takes you on a ride through the zoo and stops at various pavillions. It runs every 15 minutes and will pick you up at the same spot again, before dropping you off at the next pavillion or taking you back to the main entrance. There is an extra fee for the Zoomobile ($8), but if you have small children it will guarantee a fun, stress-free and productive visit.

There are all sorts of programs running through the summer and fall, including camps, parent and tot sessions and Bush Camp, an amazing adventure where kids and adults camp in the African Savanna. I would love to do this with the kids at some point!

giant panda experience toronto zoo

The Giant Panda Experience

New for 2013, is the Giant Panda Experience. Two giant pandas from China named Er Shun and Da Mao have made Toronto their home for the next five years. They will remain at the zoo until 2018 before making the trek to Calgary Zoo for another five years. The exhibit is excellent and provides all sorts of educational facts and information about the pandas and their natural habitat.  The interactive exhibit includes touch-screen computers that provide interactive learning and all sorts of displays that showcase the pandas’ habitats, diets and bone structures. There are also several animal experts are on hand to answer any questions you may have.

We spent over an hour here and the kids were excited to learn more about these magnificent creatures. If you’ve been to the zoo in the past, this exhibit is a great reason to visit again. It is quite large and provides a good amount of learning and fun!

Splash Pad at Toronto Zoo

What To Do After A Day At The Zoo?

Visit the splash pad!  The Kids’ Discovery Zone features an interactive kids zoo, daily animal and bird shows at the Waterslide Theatre and a 1 acre splash pad called Splash Island. Parents, I recommend you bring your swimsuits as well, especially if it’s a hot day! I threw caution to the wind and went in with my dress, however many of the other parents came equipped.

Toronto Zoo Splash Pad

The Toronto Zoo is open 364 days a year  and is one of the largest zoos in the world spanning over 710 acres. Admission for 2013 is as follows:

  • Adults 13-64 – $28
  • Seniors (65+) – $23
  • Kids 3-12 – $18

Parking runs at $10 per vehicle. For more information on the new panda exhibit or for hours of operation please visit Toronto Zoo’s website. You can also find them on Facebook.

If you are looking for accommodations, be sure to check out the Delta Toronto East. It is the best hotel in the area and offers special zoo packages with discounted ticket bundles for families.

Disclosure: I was provided with one pass to the Toronto Zoo in order to facilitate my review. ALl thoughts and opinions are my own, as always.