The Time I Brought More Animals To The Toronto Zoo

Ahhh, Family Vacation time! Is there a better time of year?

This year we decided to take a trip to the Toronto Zoo! My kids are getting old enough that animals are of great interest to them, so it seemed like a perfect fit! We’d never done a long trip before, so the thought of the unknown was unsettling and exciting all in one precious little bundle.

First things first, how were we going to drive 4 and a half hours each way to Toronto (Not Canada’s Capital for my American friends) and back, without a riot breaking out in the back seats?

Luckily for us, in these hard economic times, our neighbours were gracious enough to lend us their portable DVD players! You know, the ones that attach to the headrests and turn your little monsters into silent Tinker Fairies.

We weren’t blessed with children who fall asleep the moment you start the car. Our kids will fight the sandman until he waves the white flag and retreats! The DVD players worked wonders on the way to Toronto, to the point where I actually had to check to make sure they were still back there!

Now, normally I wouldn’t interruprt a Zoo story to talk about a random occurence at a Rest Stop but this one is important to the story. Also, if my wife is reading this right now, I apologize….

We stopped in Napanee (*Trivia: Which Canadian singer hails from Napanee?) to get some coffee and snacks for the trip. No stop would be complete without a group trip to the over-sized family restroom. No wacky family trip would be complete without your 4 year old son hitting the handicap button on the door, which opens up to the main seating area, while Mommy is…well, you know. Humiliation ensued.

We recovered in time to grab some TimBits from our favorite little coffee shop, Tim Hortons, where I crowned my daughter “The Queen Of The TimBits”! And yes, occasionally my kids get to eat junk. Especially on holiday! Plus, in Canada, Tim Hortons is a part of our Food Groups…

Back to the trip! We arrived at our destination after a very silent, relaxing drive and immediately got to work! The Zoo visit wasn’t until the following day, so we had lots of time for fun!!! After we unpacked all our clothes, of course… It must be a man thing but I have no desire to be in my hotel room any longer than necessary upon arriving there. I need to do the tour and mark my territory!

We had a great (and very expensive) dinner at Boston Pizza and then it was time for swimming and bed for the kids. Little did I realize, that bed for the kids also meant bed for Mommy and Daddy because the children didn’t understand why the TV was still on at sleep time. Oh well, a little sleep never hurt anyone, right? When you have a son that punches and kicks in his sleep, it does in fact hurt. A Lot!

Before I get to the Zoo portion of the story, which I promise will be short, I want to mention that my children are not the easiest to please. I love them with all my heart but they tend to get cranky and occasionally go to the violent tantrum phase. We are pretty good at dealing with this but with the prospect of 40 degree heat and 5-6 hours of walking, my guard was up and I was ready for anything.

We had some pretty tense moments, such as my son and I fighting over who would navigate the map of the Zoo. He won. Also, there was the 500 pictures I took of my Daughter and I before I got her to smile nicely instead of making her silly “Cheese” face. You know the one.

We were there with some friends of ours and their two kids, so I was hopeful that the kids would all keep each other in check. I have to say that after 6 hours of walking the treacherous terrain, a crazy lunch and a million animals, I have never been more proud of the way my children behaved! It was like they had made a pact ahead of time, to make this the best family vacation we could possibly have and it totally worked!!

No Griswold disasters for us!

There was so much more that happened on the trip. A less than quiet drive home after the DVD players had lost their “new car smell” appeal. Petting Sharks and Sting Rays. Highway Potty Problems. Merry Go Round Insanity. But those are all stories for another time!

The important things to take away from this post are as follows:

1. My kids were well behaved and we had a great trip!
2. The Toronto Zoo is an amazing place. 6 hours and we still could have used an extra day to see it all.
3. DVD players in cars are amazing! For trips of course. You don’t want to create Zombies….I guess.
4. Make sure your kids DO NOT push the handicap button while you are using the bathroom!!!

That’s all I feel like writing for today. I hope you enjoyed reading about our adventure and I’ll close it out with some footage I shot of the kids favorite part of the Zoo.


* Trivia answer was Avril Lavigne. You win nothing for guessing it correctly ;P

16 replies
  1. Shairbearg
    Shairbearg says:

    We bought our boys a DVD system for Christmas for the car,. and they each got DVDs. We drive 2 hours one way to Niagara Falls to visit family fairly often. So this was important to us. Our boys will occasionally fall asleep, but it’s usually just as we are getting there, and they are cranky when they wake up. So we turn this on, and it keeps the quiet and happy.

    On the way home, we turn it off after a long day, and they usually are so exhausted they fall asleep. I seem to be the only person who falls asleep whenever the car gets turn on. Hubby isn’t so thrilled about that.

    There is a reason why this mom of the boys, 5, 4, and 2 takes all three boys to the potty together, and ships them off to Daddy when she has to go herself. One time of a boy trying to open a door on ya will cure you of that.

    Oh and Toronto Zoo rocks!

    • Kristine
      Kristine says:

      Shairbearg – Great advice on the bathroom break…it was a harsh lesson to learn!!!!
      Canadian Dad – I can’t believe you told that embarrassing story!!!
      Loved this trip so much and wish we could do it again and again and again!!

  2. julie
    julie says:

    sounds like you had a great trip! I still fear going on long trips to Toronto and such with my girls- even though they have been across the country (at age 3m and 3 years) now that they are getting older it is harder to keep them still without pulling eachother’s hair. I think i may be looking around for a portable DVD player for my next 5 hour trip…
    love the blog BTW!

  3. Journeysof TheZoo
    Journeysof TheZoo says:

    What an adventure even if you hadn’t made it to the Zoo! Love the dual tv’s a necessity. Timbits ARE a foodgroup. My husband and I LOVE The Zoo. We need to make a point of getting to the one in TO. Thanks for sharing.

    Besos, Sarah
    Zookeeper at Journeysof TheZoo

  4. pam
    pam says:

    If I had a timbit for every time one of my children opened the stall door while I was peeing….I would have a lot! It happens. lol! Glad you had a nice trip to the zoo, we’ve been twice. My favourite time of year at the zoo is the fall.

  5. Jeannine
    Jeannine says:

    Love the zoo! We are members, live very close and enjoy it as often as possible (especially for the splash pad in the summer) . I’m dying to try the zoo camp but waiting until next year when my son will be nearly 8 and less distractible (maybe?). Also Tim’s is definitely a food group. Glad you enjoyed the trip! DVDs/DSi’s are a must in todays world since there are no VW’s to count and punching your sibling is frowned upon.

  6. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Tim Hortons IS a food group you’re right! I love how you specify that Toronto is not the nation’s capital LOL. I’ve still never been to the Toronto Zoo, someday!

  7. Whispered Inspirations
    Whispered Inspirations says:

    I absolutely LOVE the Toronto Zoo, every time I’m in the city with the kids we go. Whether Winter or Summer, we love it. Glad to see you guys had a great time and that the “animals” behaved! Great post!

  8. LaQuita (Just Us Girls)
    LaQuita (Just Us Girls) says:

    Sounds like you all had a great trip and awesome pictures! Something I learned a while back from taking road trips with the kids to and from the states or anywhere that was more than an hour, Portable DVD’s are a must have, lol!

  9. Gerry
    Gerry says:

    Drats…was going to say Shania Twain, however, I do know that Ottawa, not Toronto, is the capital of Canada. I’ve even been there.

    Sounds like your road trip was a blast!

  10. kevin Linkie
    kevin Linkie says:

    OHHHHHHHHHHH the Toronto Zoo.. a 15 Minute trip for me and ummm well I haven’t been in ohh over 15 years LOL..

    I so need to take a trip.

    sounds like the kids had a hoot.


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  1. I Woke Up My Lazy Bones And Had A Summer To Remember! | says:

    […] you on a journey with a taste of our Summer so far. First, there was an amazing family trip to the Toronto Zoo. We stayed in a hotel, hit the Zoo and spent hours in the Swimming Pool. It was a great trip and […]

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