Friday, June 5, 2020

my experience: scenic safari drive thru zoo


If you needed proof that the world we live in is completely different, I have three words for you: drive thru zoo. Yes, you read that right. Drive thru zoo. Recently, the Toronto Zoo announced that they would be holding a Scenic Safari. That involves taking your car through staff-only roads and through the zoo itself, while listening to a Zookeeper guided audio tour. Since most places are still closed or have limited capacities, places like zoos have understandably been closed for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, the Toronto Zoo came up with a unique way for guests to stay safe and still have a good time. Though getting tickets for this limited event was a bit of a struggle (I waited in a virtual queue for nearly six hours before I was able to select a date and time to visit)....it was something that really excited me. For starters, my husband and I always go to the zoo at least once or twice a year. Always! Beyond that, the concept itself is really unique and this Scenic Safari gave us an opportunity to enjoy a special event without feeling unsafe or uncertain. Today, I wanted to share my experience as well as a few of the photographs I snapped along the way. Here goes....

It all started early last Saturday morning. Though we had an 11:45 start time, it takes a while to drive to the zoo from where we live. Plus, we wanted to get there early so we could figure out exactly where we were supposed to go. We ended up arriving to the zoo parking lot about forty five minutes ahead of schedule. Much to my surprise, there was an area for cars who were waiting for their drive thru turn. In that area, there was a washroom (which we both opted not to use), a snack food area (with Plexiglas, masks, and cashless pay options to keep the workers safe), and a unique gift shop with limited zoo themed items. The latter was especially surprising and interesting.


There was a small trailer of sorts with a glass wall. Inside there was a t-shirt, hoodie, some face masks, and small stuffed animals for sale. You would stand back, ask for what you wanted. Then an employee would go into the trailer, grab the items, and take them to a separate area behind Plexiglas where you paid. It was different, for sure. However, just the small simple luxury of being able to buy a mask and a stuffed animal felt so special. During self isolation....my husband and I haven't done anything. He is an essential worker. Meanwhile, I am at home for the time being. Other than grocery shopping every two to three weeks, we don't go anywhere. It felt like such a luxury to be able to buy a cute stuffed animal and drive our car around the zoo. For a moment, life almost felt normal. Almost.

After that experience, we went back into our car to wait for our zoo tour. When it was time, we drove the car through a series of parking lot sections and pylons up to the main gate. Cars entered through what is normally the exit and follow arrows and markers throughout the rest of the zoo. It was a bit surreal at times to be driving in areas we normally walk through! The tour itself had guided portions that signs prompted us to listen to at specific times. It gave us a good idea of what was in each area.


Everything was really well laid out and it was clear that a lot of thought had gone into this experience. We were able to see a number of different animals throughout our drive. That included giraffes, rhinos, zebras, a lion, different types of monkeys, tigers, various birds, and a whole lot more. Of course, we didn't get to see nearly as many animals as we normally would during a day at the zoo but it was a really wonderful experience overall. We also were able to enjoy nature from the safety of our car! There were some seriously spectacular views as well as gorgeous flowers and plant life along the route. We tried to take lots of pictures of everything along the way. It was just fun to be out and doing something, to be honest.


On the website, it said the drive thru tour would take between forty five minutes to an hour. That was not our experience at all! We were driving through the zoo for well over two hours. I think it really depends on how many cars are ahead of you. There are certain sections with bridges and caves - and only one or two cars can drive through there at a time. That can cause kind of a backlog of vehicles. Or at least it did when we were there. I think this might have to do with the fact that we snagged tickets on a Saturday. It's hard to know whether the weekday tours would be as busy. The extra time it took didn't bother us at all, though. In fact, it extended the experience and gave us plenty of time to snap pictures.


The Scenic Safari was definitely different. It wasn't our normal zoo experience, that is for sure! However, it was a lot of fun. The drive thru experience was well organized and thoughtfully planned. All the extra attention to detail ensured that every single visitor left with a smile on their face. No wonder this was one of the best days I have had in a really long while.

Are there any drive thru events happening where you live? What has been making you smile lately?

26 comments:

  1. This sounds amazing :-D And a great idea :-D

    Sadly the zoos in the UK are struggling and I would be very sad to see them close *fingers crossed*

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    1. Oh I hope they don't close! Maybe they can come up with something similar to this :)

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  2. Oh wow the place looks so pretty!
    Amazing shots
    xx

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    1. It is! I miss being able to walk around it but it was nice to visit this way as well :)

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  3. Wow, this is a great idea! And also kids will love this! Wish they make this too in my country!

    Marie
    https://theflowerduet.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yeah, it was a really creative concept! Hopefully they will do something similar where you live.

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  4. This is such a beautiful experience


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  5. What a fun idea! it sounds like a really good day out! I'd love to do something like this - as far as I know our local zoo (Australia Zoo) doesn't do this. But restrictions are being lifted so it may be open soon!

    Hope you are having a lovely weekend! We had a (small due to restrictions) party for my son's birthday yesterday, it was really fun :)

    Away From Blue

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    1. It really was a fun day out. I hope you are able to visit the local zoo sometime soon. Those days are always so lovely.

      Aww, I'm glad you were able to celebrate. Even if things were kept small!

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  6. seguro que fue una experiencia interesante, ahora aqui aun no podemos hacer estas visitas

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    1. It really was interesting. I hope that where you live, drive thru experiences become a possibility as well.

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  7. Very interesting post! 👏👏👏 Thanks for sharing! 🌈🌈🌈

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  8. The nature there looks so pretty and wonderful! Hope the animals have a lovely and comfortable lives there ❤

    Blog de la Licorne * Instagram * We♥It

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    1. It really is a beautiful place! They seem to. This zoo is really focused on conservation and education.

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  9. looks like so much fun! i think it is a great idea, I would love to make such drive through as well

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    1. I hope where you live, things like this start to happen!

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  10. In our country the circus opened a similar safari a few weeks ago. I was only made aware of it yesterday, but at the moment it is fully booked for weeks. However, I will keep an eye out, because it sounds great. :)

    P&P style ♡ ☯ ☮ --- DIY --- fashion --- and more --- ☮ ☯ ♡

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    1. Oh that sounds nice! I'm not surprised it is all booked up. Hopefully you are able to get tickets soon.

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