Discover the 5 Largest Zoos in Canada (And the Ideal Time to Visit Each)

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: July 23, 2023
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Canada is the second-largest country in the world by area and features the second-largest wilderness area, covering millions of square miles. Because of its vast space, Canada has some of the biggest wildlife enclosures in North America. Not only do animals have plenty of room to run free, but the facilities also adhere to the highest standards of animal care. By visiting a Canadian zoo, you won’t have to worry about your money supporting a corrupt and neglectful animal institution. Discover the five largest zoos in Canada, including must-see exhibits and the ideal time to visit. 

1. Toronto Zoo – 710 Acres

Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo has both indoor and outdoor attractions and is able to house around 5000 animals.

©Lester Balajadia/Shutterstock.com

Located in Toronto, Ontario, The Toronto Zoo is the largest zoo in Canada, covering 710 acres (287 hectares). This massive zoo is divided into seven regions: Canada, Eurasia, Australasia, Americas, Africa, Tundra, and Indo-Malaya. Besides checking out all of the cool animals, visitors can ride on the Zoomobile, hop on the Conservation Carousel, fly down the Wild Rouge Zipline, and play at several play areas, splash pads, and rope courses. You can also book a stay to sleep under the stars in the African Savanna. If you’re a plant lover, you can check out many beautiful and rare species in the Greenhouse and pavilions. And with over 3,000 animals, there is no shortage of creatures to see. 

Adult tickets (13 to 64 years) are $32.45, Senior tickets (65 and up) are $27.58, child tickets (3 to 12 years) are $22.72, and children under two are free. The Toronto Zoo stays open year-round, but summer is the peak season. To escape the crowds, visit from late April through May or September through October. Plan for five or six hours if you have little kids. If not, three or four should suffice.

2. Calgary Zoo – 125 Acres

Calgary Zoo Canada

Calgary Zoo is one of the largest zoos in Canada.

©Mack Male from Edmonton, AB, Canada, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

The Calgary Zoo is the second-largest zoo in Canada, with 125 acres. It is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, east of the downtown area, and features habitats for nearly 1000 different animals. There are many destinations within the park to explore, including Canadian Wilds, Conservatory Gardens & Butterflies, Destination Africa, Exploration Asia, Gateway to Asia, Land of Lemurs, Penguin Plunge, and Prehistoric Park. You can also check out many special events throughout the year, such as High Tea, Safari Brunch, and Gorilla Breakfast. 

This zoo has events planned for every season, and the best times of the year to visit are from June through August and November to March. Adult visitors should plan for two to three hours during their visit, while should aim for three to four. Adult tickets are $34.95, seniors are $32.95, and children (three to 15 years) are $24.95.

3. Greater Vancouver Zoo – 120 Acres

A tiger rests behind a wire fence at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Abbotsford, British Columbia Canada.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo features 140 species.

©Apsara Photo/Shutterstock.com

Located in Aldergrove, British Columbia, Greater Vancouver Zoo is a 120-acre privately ran facility dedicated to education and conservation. This zoo is home to many rescued and orphaned animals and is a great learning experience for people of all ages. You can check out over 140 species and participate in several experiences, where you can get up close and personal with interesting creatures, such as wallabies, bears, hippos, and more. 

The Great Vancouver Zoo is open all year, and the best time to visit is during the holidays and summer, especially on weekdays. The busy runs from April to the end of September. Visitors will need at least two hours for a casual visit. Adult tickets are $33, seniors are $25, and children (three to 17) are $25.  

4. British Columbia Wildlife Park – 106 Acres

The BC Wildlife Park is 106 acres, the fourth largest in the country, and is located in Kamloops, British Columbia. This facility features 200 animals and more than 65 species, including insects, bears, big cats, birds of prey, canines, small mammals, waterfowl, reptiles, and amphibians. You can also go on a guided tour or have a private animal encounter with reptiles and birds.

While summers are the busiest season, springs offer beautiful scenery and fewer tourists. Check out the BC Columbia Wildlife Park from March through May. You will need at least two to three hours to explore the park. Adult day passes start at $19.95, seniors are $17.95, and children are $15.95.

5. Assiniboine Park Zoo – 80 Acres

Goat at the Assiniboine Park Zoo, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Assiniboine Park Zoo features farm animals, animals of Asia, and an award-winning Arctic enclosure.

©danhusseyphoto/Shutterstock.com

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is 80 acres and is the fifth-largest zoo in Canada. This park is in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and is known for its excellent polar bear exhibit, featuring nine charismatic rescues. Along with an award-winning Arctic animal exhibit, you will also find farm animals, toucans, animals of Asia, dinosaur recreations, horses, and animals of grasslands and boreal forests.

One of the best times to visit this zoo is during the winter when all of the Arctic animals are out and about. Plus, winters are much less crowded. And you will need at least a couple of hours to explore. Adult tickets are $23.50, seniors are $20.50, and children (three to 17 years) are $13.25. 

Largest Zoos in Canada: A Recap of the Top 5

RankLargest Zoos in CanadaSize in Acres
#1Toronto Zoo710 acres
#2Calgary Zoo125 acres
#3Greater Vancouver Zoo120 acres
#4British Columbia Wildlife Park106 acres
#5Assiniboine Park Zoo80 acres

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Lester Balajadia/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals, and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Metropolitan State University in Denver. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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