Categories: Family Fun
Giant Panda Special Exhibit
Er Shun and Da Mao came from China in 2013 and will be living at the Toronto Zoo for 5 years. They are a definite highlight to any visit to the Zoo. The Giant Panda Interpretive Centre is an impressive and thorough introduction to these incredible animals who are on the list of Endangered Species.
We got to watch Er Shun up close, eating her bamboo (pandas spend 10-16 hours a day eating between 12-38 kg of bamboo a day, the rest of the time they usually sleep.) Apparently Da Mao can sometimes be seen playing in the snow (check him out in this cool Youtube video), however he was sleeping when we were there.
You would think that penguins would love to be swimming around outside during the cold Canadian winters, but the ones are the Zoo are actually African Penguins (not Antarctic ones) so they're used to much warmer climates. Don't worry though, you can still watch them swimming and waddling around in their indoor pool.
As we drove to the Zoo, I asked each of the kids which animal they really wanted to see. My son chose the grizzly bear. I knew it was a long hike to go to the Canadian Domain but it was a beautiful day and we all needed the exercise so off down the steep hill we went. We stopped to see the Canada Lynx and Cougar on the way down (they were dozing) and thought it was cool to see the herd of Wood Bison and a few Wapiti (elk) grazing in the field at the bottom of the ridge.
But we realized when we got to the bottom that the grizzly bears were off exhibit because in winter they're usually hibernating! We'll definitely have to go back once they're awake but in the meantime we went to check out the American Moose and the Northern Bald Eagle (can you spot the majestic bird in this photo?) The most active animals in the Canadian Domain were the squirrels and raccoons!
Fascinating Facts at the Zoo
Apart from enjoying a day outside with fresh air and getting lots of excercise, the kids are discovering lots of amazing facts about some of the animals that live at the Zoo. Did you know that pandas have a subthumb or sixth digit that enables them to eat bamboo, or that a year's worth of moose poo can power your house for 20 days? This is the stuff that kids LOVE and remember!
Gorillas in the African Rainforest Pavillion
The gorillas are a treat to visit, especially now that baby Nneki joined the family just over one year ago. They're playful and engaging and always seem to be having fun.
There aren't as many animals outside on exhibit in the winter as there are the rest of the year, but the Zoo is still a fabulous place to visit and walk around. You actually get to concentrate more on the various birds, reptiles and smaller animals that also live in the Zoo, which is great!
New Giraffe House
We had to check out the new Giraffe House...this is the first year that you can view the giraffes inside during the winter. Apparently giraffes don't cope well with the cold weather and are extremely susceptible to hypothermia. They can't be outside in temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. We lucked out and got to see one of the animal trainers hand feeding the giraffes. The kids were particularly enthralled with the giraffe's enormous tongue! It was great to get so close to ?Twiga? and her one year old calf ?Mstari?
March Break Begins At The Zoo!
10:00am to 2:00pm special daily activities and extended operating hours
Join us this March Break for animal adventures all week long!
Visit their six indoor tropical pavilions featuring animals from around the world. Plus, learn more about how they use enrichment to engage their animals each day at the Zoo at their Enrichment Extravaganza. Visitors will enjoy animal enrichment demonstrations, special Keeper Talks, animal encounters and more!
Build Animal Enrichment