Toronto Zoo's pandas enjoy chowing down on bamboo. — Photo courtesy of Toronto Zoo
When you're spending time with your family in Toronto, you may expect to go somewhere for the sake of the kids. Whether that activity involves the name Bieber or not, we applaud you. You do great things for your family.
However, Toronto Zoo is not going to be a sacrifice. It's one of those rare enjoyable-for-all excursions that will exhaust both you and the kids (if you need any more exhausting). In fact, it is one of the largest zoos in the world, with over 710 acres (287 hectares) and 10 kilometers (6 miles) of walking trails.
If you're the running type, every September there is even a Zoo Oasis 10K and 5K, when you can compete with the four-legged natural runners. Mind you, they remain behind cages. So you don't have to deal with the aftermath if you lose.
The entrance to Toronto Zoo, just steps away from the many animals — Photo courtesy of Toronto Zoo
There are plenty of must-see attractions at the Toronto Zoo. Case in point: Canada's only giant pandas live here. Your tween may know the names of all of the members of One Direction, but does she know the names Er Shun and Da Mao?
These two Chinese pandas have an affinity for bamboo. Such an affinity, in fact, that they both weigh around 220 pounds (or 100 kilograms). Who knew a vegetarian diet could have such an impact? While we can't eat bamboo straight up like pandas can, we can certainly learn more about them at the 8,000-square-foot Panda Interpretive Centre.
There are also other places to get your fill of adorable bears. Toronto Zoo is home to a four-month-old polar bear named Humphrey. He lives in the Tundra Trek area, which is designed to help educate the public on the impacts of climate change and global warming.
Humphrey, the adorable yet menacing baby polar bear — Photo courtesy of Toronto Zoo
Other polar bears, arctic foxes, arctic wolves and snow geese also live here. These animals show Canadians a hardiness that can't even be matched with an expensive Canada Goose jacket.
Toronto even earns its title "the most multicultural city in the world" at this zoo. How many other times can you go to the Gorilla Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef in a single day?
There is opportunity for a lot of family fun with daily keeper talks, five indoor pavilions and kids areas such as Splash Island and the Waterside Theatre's animal show.
Going to the Toronto Zoo is a learning experience and built-in exercise all in one. Strap on your pedometer, and take the credit for showing the kids a good time. Then celebrate with a communal family nap.