The Toronto Zoo, opened in 1974, is the largest zoo in Canada. It covers 710 acres and is home to more than 5,000 animals and close to 500 species. If you're visiting Toronto, take some time to visit its impressive zoo, which is located in the city's northeast corner near the Rouge River.
The Toronto Zoo (torontozoo.com) is open year-round, closed only on December 25. For most of the year, the zoo opens at 9 a.m. and summer hours are extended until 7:30 p.m. Although the facility stays open in the winter, most of the outdoor exhibits are closed because the temperatures are too low for the animals to be outdoors. As of 2011, an adult ticket costs $23, and $17 for seniors over 65. Children between the ages of 4 and 12 pay $13, and ages 3 and under and zoo members get free admission.
The Toronto Zoo is laid out according to seven geographic regions, each housing animals in environments similar to the conditions found in their natural habitats. These regions are: Indomalaya, Africa, the Americas, Australasia, Eurasia, Canadian Domain and the Tundra Trek. Of the many highlights at the zoo, the 10-acre Tundra Trek region that includes a 5-acre polar bear habitat, and the Gorilla Rainforest home are among the top draws.
Some of the Toronto Zoo's 5,000 animals are very rare and visitors have the opportunity to see them in habitats similar to their natural home environments. In the Tundra Trek, you can watch the polar bears swim from an underwater viewing area. The Indomalaya section features rare Sumatran tigers; in the Eurasia section, visitors watch Siberian tigers and snow leopards prowl in their enclosures. One of the newer exhibits, the Great Barrier Reef, houses sharks and other marine life from Australia.
Keep track of what is new at the zoo on its expansive website. In the "Cute Alert" section, you can see which animals recently gave birth at the zoo and make a point to see the babies. One of the most popular new additions was born in 2009. Little Nassir, a Western Lowland gorilla, adds one more animal to a species that is very endangered. When Nassir was born, the zoo held a naming competition. Three cheetah cubs were also born in 2009.
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