I just signed up to be a Toronto Zoo member for the first time this year after suffering from much peer pressure on behalf of my friends. OK, so no one actually pressured me to join, but I have been on so many play dates located at the zoo it really made the most sense to become a member. I’ve actually enjoyed it a lot this year! I receive a newsletter in the mail from the zoo as part of my membership, and I noticed there were some fun looking after-hours programs at the zoo, so I decided to try one with my son and husband.
We tried out the Panda Lantern Parade last week, and we loved it!
In order to sign up we had to complete a form and mail it to the zoo to register. The other option to register was to fax in the form, and this was my only complaint about the program. I was surprised you couldn’t scan and email the form in! Since I honestly don’t even know where our office fax machine is, I thought it was worth the trip to the post office and we registered.
The cost was $12.00 per person, but children under the age of 3 were only $5.00. This does not include admission into the zoo – the cost was only for this excursion, so keep that in mind! You do not need to be a zoo member to take part in this or some of the other activities.
The program started at 7:00pm, and we were met at the door by our guide and two volunteers. They brought us into the Panda section which was closed for the night.
The maximum number of people for this activity is 25, and that is how many we had for this event. It wasn’t a bad group size at all because there was still lots of room wherever we went for everyone to see, hear and take part in the activity.
First up we went into one of the large tents located at the panda enclosure where we could leave our belongings, and we headed out to see the pandas.
If you have gone to see the panda’s at the Toronto Zoo before, you know how incredibly busy it can be in the area they are located in. I’ve only had a glimpse of them before, so this opportunity was great because we had lots of time to see them play while we were there. We listened to the staff explain the daily routine of the panda’s, and they answered the children’s questions about all things to do with panda’s. The question and answer period was long, but the staff was well prepared for the kids who had a short attention span. Just outside of the pavilion there was one of the volunteers waiting with a basket full of panda-related items the children could play with like puzzles, samples of bamboo, crayons and colouring books. Whoever planed this event definitely has a toddler.
Next we went back to the main tent to have a snack and make our lantern. The snacks included Cherios, animal crackers, cupcakes, cookies and juice, among other treats. We sat at a table and were taught how to make an eco-friendly lantern. It was a cute craft! Once our lantern was complete, it was time to walk back over to see the panda’s so we could say goodnight. This was adorable as it sounded. Our little guy walked right back over to the panda’s with his lantern, and when he got there he held it up for the panda to see.
We used our lanterns to walk back through the dark zoo to visit a few other animals on our way back to the gate. We were finished around 9:00pm.
I thought this activity was adorable, and I highly recommend trying out one of the zoo’s other upcoming activities. The Panda Lantern Parade is full for this summer, but I have listed one other program happening in a couple weeks that you can take advantage of at the Toronto Zoo below. For more available programs check here to see what’s coming up next.
Breakfast with the Bears
Rise and shine with the giant pandas and polar bears and enjoy a morning snack as our bear buddies get their day started.
DATES: Sunday August 24th
TIME: 8:00AM to 9:30AM
COST: $10 per person (includes HST)
**If you plan to stay at the Zoo following the program, Zoo admission fees will apply.
Please Note: Any children age 3 and under on the same registration are $5 each (HST included). Payment is required at time of registration. Cost does not include parking. Program can accommodate up to 25 participants per session.