The Toronto Zoo has been around since 1974, a long time. It’s the largest zoo in Canada with more than 5,000 animals (that includes invertebrates, like insects and crabs, and fish). It’s divided into geographical regions and there are animals from all around the world. The animals aren’t kept in cages as they were in the old days and some hide so it can be difficult to see them. We (a Nana and two grandkids) passed a sign that read “Look up to see the animal” and we walked around for a few minutes staring at the sky but never saw the animal.
We did spot a rhinoceros trying to hide in a muddy ditch though. And a snow leopard that just starred at us though a glass wall. A stark white Arctic wolf turned around and left as soon as we came near.
One of our favourite animals was a polar bear, the largest land predator on earth, that kept doing somersaults in the water, over and over. It was like he was swimming towards an iceberg and turned around just before he crashed into it.
We saw two giant pandas from China and they are famous. Their names are Er Shun and Da Mao. Giant pandas are an endangered species and no wonder because they live on bamboo and bamboo can be hard to find. Plus they have to eat a lot of bamboo to get enough nutrition. So they spend most of the day eating and digesting their food. They also happen to poop about 40 times a day.
Last year we went to the Calgary Zoo to see the Komodo dragon but it was hiding in the bushes, which was disappointing. The one at the Toronto Zoo wasn’t shy at all.
Kangaroos were hopping around and we wished we could have seen one with a baby in her pocket. We did see a tree kangaroo and it looks different from a regular kangaroo because its body is short and its forelimbs are as long as its hind limbs.
It was interesting to learn that there are two types of camel, depending on if they have one or two humps. The camel with two humps is called a Bactrian camel and the one with a single hump is the dromedary camel. We also learned that it’s not water but fat in a camel’s hump and they can travel for days in the desert without stopping for food.
The next time we visit the zoo we will go for a real camel ride.
We did take a ride on the Zoomobile and enjoyed it so much that we went around the circuit a couple of times before getting off. It goes through the African Savanna where animals roam freely. We saw yaks and apes and a herd of Przewalski’s horses, which is the only true wild horse left in the world and it is almost extinct.
The ‘Splash Island’ looked like lots of fun but it was closing by the time we got there. Next time we’ll bring our bathing suits and a picnic lunch and stay for the whole day.
By Sylvia Fanjoy and her two grandkids
Photo credits Sylvia Fanjoy
© Riding the buses 2015
I recently visited four Toronto attractions with my young grandkids: Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, the CN Tower, the Ontario Science Centre, and the Toronto Zoo. I wanted to avoid Toronto traffic as much as possible so opted to stay at a hotel in Scarborough, just off the 401, and from there it was an easy drive to the zoo and Science Centre. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool complex, which was a big hit.
We took a bus and subway to get downtown, which was straightforward and an adventure in itself. Locals were keen to help us when we seemed a little lost. We got off the subway at Union Station and took the skywalk—a new feature in the city—to the CN Tower and the aquarium.
I bought, online, timed tickets for the aquarium and City Passes for the other attractions, which meant there was no standing around in lines. (Sylvia Fanjoy)