June 4, 2020
Wow – it’s been a long time since we have been out for an adventure. With all the entertainment and leisure options closed since the initial Coronavirus lock-down in mid-March we have been limited with our exploring. Sticking to bike rides and walks around our area to exercise the mind and body yet keep safe and away from others.
So as the lock-down eased and places started opening the new experience at the Toronto Zoo caught my eye. With the zoo still closed, they have developed a drive thru experience named Scenic Safari so you can visit the zoo and see some animals all from the safety of your car.
Pre-booking is required via their website and they have been releasing 1 week at a time for the following week. It’s been selling out so there appears to be some pent up demand from everyone staying at home for the last few months. I secured our slot for June 4 @ 11:15am on May 25th.
We planned to leave Mississauga around 10am in order to arrive early for our scheduled time as we were worried there might be some long lines. To our surprise it was pretty calm upon our arrival. In the main parking lot they have a small area with washrooms (you can’t stop on the tour), couple of food trucks and a small retail store prior to entering the zoo tour. Since we were early a quick bio-break to ensure everyone was all set prior to starting. Also while here we ensured the podcast created for the tour was ready to go and our car audio system was synced. After this point, you get in line to enter the zoo grounds.
The safari tour covers 5 of the various lands and has 17 animals identified on the map (see image below). They have managed to include some of the “more popular” (in my mind) animals – rhinos, giraffes, lions, tigers and monkeys are all on the tour. As you start the tour you play the podcast and they give you the details on each section you are passing through. There are signs to start and stop the podcast so it aligns with each section. We actually had some technical issues with it as both our phones were fighting to use the bluetooth in the car. Thus we missed some portions of the podcast aligning to where we were passing.
The podcast is well put together to give you information on the tour and pace your through the experience. I highly recommend to download so you can play during the tour. The tour through the zoo is well spaced as your cruise through the designated 3.4km path at 5km/hr. The coolest part of the tour is driving through the cave by the lion exhibit as you squeeze your car through the tight rock formation.
The tour took about 45 mins to complete – total time including the line up to get in was about 1 hr. The family all enjoyed the tour, not sure if that is due to being cooped up for so long 🙂 We saw a fair number of animals however missed out seeing all the cats – tigers, lions, cheetah and jaguar all m.i.a, guess the hot day had them in hiding. It was cool to drive through the zoo and see some of the behind the scenes details. My only negatives for the day – for the driver (me) it wasn’t the greatest as had to drive, run the podcast and take in the view and pictures. I would suggest getting someone else to manage the podcast and take pictures. Lastly, it did seem a little pricey for the length of the tour over $16 per person for the 45 min tour.
- Toronto Zoo
- Located at 2000 Meadowvale Rd, Toronto, ON M1B 5K7
- Car with 2 or less occupants – $44 non-member, $32 member
- Car with 3 or more occupants – $59 non-member, $47 member
- No pets allowed on the grounds
- Food, gift shop & washrooms available prior to tour in main parking lot
Toronto Zoo safari website: http://www.torontozoo.com/scenicsafari