A polar bear swims at the Toronto Zoo

In the Spotlight: Toronto Zoo

Plan your visit to Canada’s largest zoo, connecting people, animals and conservation science since 1974. 

With a walking map, exclusive one-of-a-kind tours and a drive-thru safari, there’s no shortage of ways to see the hundreds of species at this gorgeous zoo. With a focus on conservation and protecting the environment, your ticket to the Toronto Zoo (2000 Meadowvale Rd.) will contribute to helping keep these striking animals thriving for as long as possible.

The Toronto Zoo is divided into seven zoogeographic regions—Indo-Malaya, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Eurasia, Canadian Domain and the Tundra Trek. With animals from all over the world, you can spend days here, so make sure to decide exactly who you want to see before you set off. Animals like apes, tigers, lions and bears can be seen indoors in tropical pavilions and outdoors in their habitats.

Places to eat at the Toronto Zoo

With plenty of restaurants and food stands to choose from, you’ll find something to satisfy the whole family during your visit to the zoo.

Peacock Café

Conveniently located right where you walk into the zoo, the Peacock Café is a mainstay with staples like Tim Hortons coffee, pastries and easy sandwiches.

Simba Safari Lodge

This themed restaurant has fast food like burgers, chicken fingers and more kid-friendly options. Located right by the white rhino exhibit, visitors of age can enjoy a pint on the Simba Patio while they watch the animals play below.

Polar Patio

This fully licensed eatery has a delicious poutine and plenty of beers to choose from. Enjoy some sunshine while you sip a cider and munch on some nachos.

Smoke’s Poutinerie Trailer

All the poutine toppings you could ever want, wrapped up in one small trailer. Ask for whatever you like on your poutine at this simple but satisfying eatery located in the front courtyard.
 

Things to see at the Toronto Zoo

With more than 5,000 animals to see, clearly the wildlife is the best part of a visit to the Toronto Zoo. The animals hail from all over the world, making it a truly diverse experience. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to shop for plush animals to remember your trip by, or stop for lunch in an unforgettable zoo-themed restaurant.

From wildlife encounters to informational signs, there are tons of ways to experience the zoo. Plan your walk through the zoo with pre-mapped walking tracks provided by the zoo. One-way routes throughout the zoo will allow you to see many of your favourite animals and ensure that you won’t miss a thing. 

While much of the zoo is outdoors, you can pop into the pavilions for some air conditioning and to see some of the coolest animals the zoo has to offer. This includes the African Rainforest Pavilion, Australasia Pavilion, Indo-Malaya Pavilion, Giraffe House, gift shops, the Membership Building, washrooms and restaurants.

You can also book drive-thru visits with the zoo’s Scenic Safari. See the animals from a whole new perspective using staff-only roads, normally closed to visitors. Take a tour from the comfort of your own car with zookeeper commentary to learn about the animals as you drive along—even through the lion caves!

One-of-a-kind Wild Encounters tours will take you behind-the-scenes to experience some of the animals and habitats up close. Book one of these experiences before you get to the zoo to ensure you can get up close and personal with your favourite fuzzy creature.

Wildlife preservation is a hot topic and the Toronto Zoo offers great tips and research about fighting extinction, like adopting your very own zoo animal. The Toronto Zoo also participates in many conservation initiatives including captive breeding and reintroduction, habitat and species research and much more.

Let staff bring the zoo to you with activities and other resources that make learning fun for the kids and easier for you. With interactive virtual learning opportunities, you can now see more of the zoo from home or the classroom than ever before.

You can also get up close and personal with the animals and zoo keepers without leaving your couch. Have burning questions for the zookeepers? Ask away during the daily interactive live streams and spend some time learning about the animal of the day from different parts of the zoo.

A polar bear swims at the Toronto Zoo
Not only can you see polar bears at the Toronto Zoo—you can adopt one too

Fun facts about the Toronto Zoo

  • The Toronto Zoo is a non-profit benefiting the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy, which is committed to helping save endangered and at-risk animals from around the world
  • The zoo is shrouded by several conservation areas, making it a great place to go for a hike in nature and see some wildlife out in the world
  • The zoo opened in 1974
  • Thanks to the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy, several breeding missions have resulted in new life, including one baby Masai giraffe in 2020
  • For the first time ever, the Toronto Zoo opened a drive-through safari during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020
  • The Toronto Zoo welcomes over one million visitors each year
  • The largest animal at the Toronto Zoo is Samson the hippopotamus, who weighs 2.25 tonnes
  • The smallest animal at the Toronto Zoo is a leaf-cutter ant that clocks in at 7.5 millimetres long
  • Each day, the zoologists and their teams prepare around 1.5 tonnes of food for the animals
  • The rocks in Toronto Zoo habitats come from all over Ontario and match what the animals would have in their natural environments

How to get to the Toronto Zoo

By car: Take highway 401 East or West to Meadowvale Road and go north on Meadowvale Road following directional signs to the Toronto Zoo.

By TTC: Take the 86A Bus from Kennedy Station during the summer or the 85 Sheppard East bus from Don Mills Station and Rouge Hill GO station.

By GO Train: Take the TTC 85 Sheppard East bus from the Rouge Hill GO station.

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