As Henry gets a little older, I'm really enjoying our outings more and more. This spring we have enjoyed the time honoured classic adventure...taking a toddler to the zoo!
After visiting both the zoo in Peterborough and the Toronto Zoo I feel compelled to draw comparisons.
When we went to the zoo in Peterborough we spent the first hour playing in the playground. Henry had a ball running, climbing, swinging, sliding and driving on all sorts of fun equipment. Then my brother, Dave, and sister-in-law Crystal joined us with their four month old baby Abigail and we all took a leisurely stroll around the lovely shaded paths taking in the animal exhibits. The animals are not overly varied, nor exotic, but there is a lovely collection of animals ranging from reindeer, snakes and buffalo to camels, monkeys and otters. The park was very quiet when we were there. We passed other visitors along the paths, but rarely had to share an exhibit. The animals are behind fences, but can be viewed well for the full length of their enclosures. The overall experience was fun and relaxing.
More recently we visited the Toronto Zoo. If you haven't seen this zoo in awhile, let me advise you to pack your best walking shoes, plenty of sunscreen, lots of snacks, and a good hat.
The animals at the Toronto Zoo are many and varied. They have a huge map covering many of the animals from around the world, with different areas for Africa, Canada, the Americas, and Eurasia and Australia. In the course of one, or maybe two, days you can see the wide world of animals, all under one roof, so to speak. But you will walk, and walk, and walk. With our friends Stacy and Desi, Henry and I walked for almost seven hours and still did not see the zoo in its entirity. The crowds are large, so be prepared to wait for a good look through the glass at the animals in each exhibit.
Stacy and I packed a lot of snacks for our trip, and I'm really glad we did. First of all, you need a lot of fuel to walk for seven hours!! Secondly, the prices are high and the crowds are thick if you want to purchase snacks from the various vendors throughout the park.
I know that the small town zoo experience is bound to be different from the big city zoo, but I guess what surprised me was how much more I enjoyed the former.
The other big difference was in the cost of these outings. The Riverview Park and Zoo in Peterborough costs...wait for it...nothing! The Toronto Zoo was a whopping $23.oo per adult admission, and an extra $10.00 for parking. Their are a lot of extras at the Toronto Zoo that will cost you as well. The carousel costs extra, animal rides cost extra, the manta ray exhibit where you can pet the manta rays, well, that costs extra too. The only thing you can pay for at the Peterborough zoo is a train ride. I haven't been on it lately but I believe it would cost us less than $10.oo for our little family of three to ride this train for about 20 minutes. Not too much to pay for a wonderful day out at the zoo.