Love the Zoo
How to Make the Most of Your Trip
By Leigh Felesky
Last week, on a summer's day in the city petting zoo, a superhero decided to show us his stuff. Feathers spread wide, head and neck groovin’, he walked proud from one side of his pen to the other. Ever since, my two-year-old son won’t stop asking, "Mommy, ee-cock?" as though he’s thinking just maybe, if he says it enough, the peacock will walk into our living room sporting his rack of feathers.
My son’s fascination is no surprise. More amazing than Spider-Man, more awesome than the Fantastic Four, the animal kingdom wins every special effects contest, hands down. One of the best places to learn about them is in a well-kept local zoo. Here's how to make the most of your visit.
Choose the right time
To get the most out of your day, visit the zoo’s website ahead of time to learn what is offered and at what times. You may want to find out the feeding schedule so you can see the animals in action. Watching an elephant carry hay in her curled trunk and move it to her mouth, for example, can be a fun way to start the day.
Also, check to see if there are any animal shows or zookeeper talks, which can be more frequent than you might expect. "We have over 20 keeper talks a day where you can not only see the animals being fed but also ask questions," explains Cynthia Shipley, from Public Relations at the Toronto Zoo.
As for the season, remember that in very hot weather, the animals (like you!) may be slow-moving and quieter than usual. This is especially the case if they're from colder climates, so if you have to choose between seeing the gorillas or the grizzly bears on a hot summer's day, gorillas it is. According to Shipley, the animals are doing something different everyday, making every season and day interesting. "On hot days we sometimes put big ice cubes in the polar bear tank to help the animals cool off and to play with. It's great to watch."