I know that when you hear the word zoo, the first thing to pop into your mind isn’t “Hey, we should go visit there this WINTER!” Typically, one reserves trips like this for the summertime.
When I first moved to the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), over two years ago, one of the most frequent questions I was asked, by new friends I was making was “Have you bought your Toronto Zoo seasons pass yet?!” It seemed like EVERYONE, who was ANYONE, had a seasons pass. My first thought was “Seasons pass? That place is open all year long?!” Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), YES! In fact, the ONLY day that the Toronto Zoo is closed during the year is Christmas Day!
So like all the cool kids, I immediately bought our family a seasons pass. Considering that we live about 10 minutes from the zoo, it just seemed like a great place to be able to take the kids time and time again. Even after our first year expired, we renewed it because the kids really do enjoy going.
However, it wasn’t until this last week that I finally decided to take my kids to the zoo during the WINTER! Even though I KNEW it was open year round, and I’ve been during the three other seasons of the year, I’ve never ventured out there during the wintertime. The idea of three kids, snowsuits and lots of walking just didn’t appeal to me.
But I realized that the Toronto Zoo INDOOR experience is actually were it’s at during these cold months. You see, during the summer, I would hardly EVER venture into those
saunas pavilions in fear of the extreme HEAT that would be present inside. But turns out, during the winter, those indoor pavilions are a welcomed escape from the cold and warm enough to almost make you believe that you have been whisked away to some exotic location. Almost. The screaming kids are quick snap back into reality.
So on the kids PA Day this week, I decided to try the zoo in the winter! (Please note: I am VERY aware that NONE of my children’s outdoor gear match but at this point in my life, I’m just happy if they all make out of the house CLOTHED properly for the elements rather than if anything matches!)
I packed up our brand new collapsible wagon and we were set! The kids absolutely LOVE this wagon. My youngest is at a point where he is sick of the stroller and wants to walk. But he gets tired easily still. This wagon has been amazing and was perfect at the zoo! You can get a similar one here.
The Toronto Zoo has a number of rather large indoor pavilions spread throughout the park. I truly had no idea just how big these indoor spaces were until we went in an explored. Check out how beautiful this indoor rainforest is complete with waterfalls, birds flying about and so warm that you will definitely forget that it is winter outside.
The kids absolutely loved exploring these new spaces. Learning about all kinds of animals and playing with various interactive “toys”.
As we have been having a crazy mild winter (and for the record, I am NOT complaining one bit!), we were able to do a little bit of outdoor exploration. Most of the animals are housed indoors during these winter months, but they do take them out for some fresh air (at least that’s what I think they were doing with the goats!). My kids thought it was so cool to be up close and personal with the animals. Typically, that doesn’t happen (because let’s face it, this isn’t a petting zoo) but we just happened to stumbled upon a pack of goats and their zookeepers were polite enough to pause for some pictures!
Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by my visit to the Toronto Zoo this winter and I will definitely take the kids again soon! While there is nothing quite like exploring the zoo in the summer where you can cool off in their enormous splash pad and enjoy your picnic lunch outside, this was a completely new and unique exciting experience for my kids. My middle son declared it “The BEST zoo trip EVER!”