The Toronto Zoo – A Family Favourite From Day One

the toronto zoo A funny thing happened on our last visit to the zoo. We actually got to to walk at a leisurely pace and stop to study the animals. It was glorious, but if did feel a little “off” at the time. Why wasn’t I chasing a toddler off the rocks? Why was I not changing a diaper and most of our clothes in the bathroom? Trust me, I am NOT complaining.

The Toronto Zoo

It had been a while, so I’m glad MasterCard reached out to suggest we get out and explore our “Priceless City” (#pricelesstoronto) The Toronto Zoo is the first and only attraction in Toronto where we purchased a yearly family membership. With little ones you often don’t get to stay the whole day, so with a membership you don’t feel guilty if you need to leave as soon pretty much as you arrive. The cost of the membershop now more than pays for itself after two visits. And now thanks to Mastercard and the “Priceless Cities” campaign, we are thinking of restarting our membership, because MasterCard is offering 15% off the regular price of a new one-year membership to The Toronto Zoo.

MasterCard Priceless Cities program is an exclusive benefit for cardholders. From private experiences to tickets to the most coveted events in cities around the world, all you need to unlock Priceless Cities is your MasterCard. There are currently 42 Priceless Cities around the globe, including Priceless Toronto, which launched in November 2011 and features offers at top attractions and shops to help you eat, shop, stay, and play in style. All you need to redeem Priceless Toronto offers from the site is your MasterCard.

the toronto zoo, toronto zoo pandas

Hello, Da Mao.

We were quite excited to visit the Pandas since this would be my first time back since they arrived! Heading that way kind of threw us off our usual route, but we adjusted quickly. Seriously, how cute are these Panda Bears?! I’m one of those people who think they’re non-chalant about most things. Trust me, I was not when the Panda come out and start eating his apples. I wanted to kidnap that bear if there wouldn’t be the small issue of a large litter box at some point down the road.


The Toronto Zoo is so great for families for many reasons. The fact that the Toronto Zoo is open at 9am means that early-bird babies and their mamas can get a head start on viewing the animals at the best time. The wildlife tend to be most active in the mornings and crowds tend to get busier and busier as lunchtime approaches. Your best bet is to determine ahead of time which animals and exhibits are must-sees, and plan your visit around that. The Toronto Zoo is one of the world’s largest, so at over 700 acres and with over 500 species, it’s nearly impossible to do and see everything in one visit.

butterflies, the Toronto Zoo, malayan woods pavilion

Butterflies, The Toronto Zoo

Highlights for us include the beautiful butterflies in the Malayan Woods Pavilion, as well as catching a glimpse of the snow leopard and Siberian tiger in the Eurasia area.The giraffes have moved to the old elephant area. They seem happy.

Bigger little ones will enjoy the Discovery Zone, where our mini zookeepers-in-training interact with smaller wildlife, and dig for dinosaur bones in the giant sand pit. In the warmer months we always stuff bathing suits and towels into our bag, as the Splash Island water park is so tempting. Sometimes it’s the main reason we visit!

Food options at the Zoo are plentiful, but they can be expensive. We tend to pack most of our snacks and lunches and enjoy our own picnics. There are lots of places to sit and relax, and The Toronto Zoo is perfectly fine with you bringing in any and all of your own refreshments.

The Toronto Zoo is open every day except Christmas, but hours vary throughout the year. General admission is $28, Seniors are $23, Kids 3-12 are $18 and children 2 and under are free. Parking is $10, and special exhibitions and rides are extra. A membership usually pays for itself in 2-3 visits.

View Toronto Zoo in a larger map

Many thanks to MasterCard for sponsoring this post. All opinions remain my own

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5 Responses to The Toronto Zoo – A Family Favourite From Day One

  1. Tony at #

    Loved reading this post. We have not visited for quite some time and these Pandas are definitely cute! The Splash Island is always a favourite with the kids. We plan to take our family to visit the zoo next month.

  2. Clay at #

    I loved this. The image of Da Mao is great!

  3. Elaine at #

    I never hit the Toronto Zoo when I was there this summer … I’ll have to check it out when I get back to Canada next year!

  4. Richard at #

    Great blog on Toronto Zoo. Love the photo of the butterflies. I missed the zoo last time I was there. But it was the middle of winter!

  5. Very interesting to read, I loved it. Thank you for sharing! Nice pictures.

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