“Zoo” probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of indoor activities. However, if you’re trying to escape the cold and looking for things to do with Kids in Toronto during the colder months, Reptilia Zoo should definitely be on your list. With two locations in Vaughan and Whitby Reptilia isn’t too far away from any GTA neighborhood. You’ll find over 250 animals on display throughout the zoo, 75% of which are saved and rescued. Although reptiles are the specialty, watch out for colorful amphibians, and fluffy arachnids as well!
Weighing the Cost of Admission Against Value for Money
For about $65 CDN my family of four visited the entirely indoor facility. The Reptilia Zoo website suggests you allow for 1.5 to 2 hours to complete the tour, however we were easily occupied from about 1.45pm to 4.45pm (three hours!). We could have easily stayed on for another hour had my daughter and husband not insisted we leave to get some dinner. The facility was smaller than I expected, so keeping busy for this long was a pleasant surprise. I’d say it was well worth the cost of admission.
What we loved the most at Reptilia Zoo
Interactive features like feeding the turtles, the animal theatre, and feeding times were on the top of our list for “most enjoyed”. A short video of these events can be seen in the “Kids Activities” highlight reel on my instagram page.
There were a number of feedings times staggered across the day. We were able to visit a 20 minute animal show on the hour; then spend time either taking a photo with a baby alligator, feeding the turtles or viewing the animals in their enclosures; before it was time for an animal feeding. We did this from the top about two the three times to make up our 3 hours.
Tips for planning your trip
-The zoo did get a little warm (the temperature is regulated for the animals), so dressing in layers is recommended. I wore a thicker sweater and towards the end of the trip would have preferred I didn’t.
-We stayed for two feedings, the first was of the alligators and the second of the alligator snapping turtle. We had a clear view of the animals and the trainers feeding them, separated only by the glass of the enclosure and directly in front of it. As such the kids were delighted to view feeding in action. That being said the animals were fed whole, dead rats, so if your child will not enjoy that type of thing then possibly it’s best to skip it.
As I mentioned we left to grab dinner, the facility only houses vending machines, so be sure to bring a snack or lunch in case your visit runs longer than expected.
We didn’t chose to take any tours however they were offered on every hour, and each is different, so taking a few different ones is recommended.
At the time of this visit Alessandra was 11 and Lucas 8. I’d say that, as with any zoo, there’s no age limitation on interest in the animals. However, younger children will probably be entertained for a bit longer than children over 12 or so due to the size of the facility and limitation on the number of experiences.
Special Reptilia Zoo Experiences at an Extra Cost
There is no pre-booking required for these events, simply chat with Reception upon arrival or during the day.
Feed a Reptile! – Take part in the day to day care of our animals, feed a turtle, tortoise, snake or lizard! They will love you for it!
Behind the Scenes Tours – See the zoo from behind the exhibits on one of our half hour or hour-long guided tours! You’ll get to see how they prepare the diets and safety work with venomous snakes, and of course, have the opportunity to meet and feed some of the animals as well!
Photo with a Reptile – Bring home a souvenir to remember your experience at Reptilia! Photos can be taken with a variety of small friendly reptiles including a baby alligator ( we did this one for about $25CDN before tax. I’d say for the look on my son’s face it was worth the cost)
The Shows at Reptilia
The reptile shows took place on the hour, every hour. Each show was about 20 minutes long and presented three animals. Three different animals appeared in each show. These ranged from snakes, to a tarantula, to an alligator snapping turtle!
We were allowed to “pet” the more friendly animals (snakes included). Others (the alligator snapping turtle and tarantula) were off limits and only came out for a closer look.
This was one of the highlights of the day, so be sure to get at least two of these shows in during your visit. Again for some insight on what this show was like visit the “Kids Activities” highlight reel on my instagram page.