Many people in Southeast Michigan or Northeast Ohio find that they have a difficult time deciding if they should venture to the Detroit Zoo or to the Toledo Zoo. This decision is also popular among those visiting these part of the two states. This article is designed to help you decide which of the two zoos are more deserving of your money. Remember, they are only within an hour and a half of each other.
Detroit Zoo: At the Detroit Zoo, you have the option of a parking garage or a few small parking lots. If you are lucky enough to park in the lot just behind the parking garage, you will only a short walk to the entrance of the Detroit Zoo. Other than that, expect to have about a five to ten minute walk to the zoo entrance.
Toledo Zoo: You only have large parking lots to park in. Even the closest lot to the gate is about a three minute walk. The furthest spot in the furthest lot at the Toledo Zoo will have give you an exhaustive walk on a hot day.
Winner: Detroit Zoo.
Both parks are roughly the same. The Detroit Zoo is a dollar less to park, but costs a dollar more to enter the zoo. The Toledo Zoo, or course, is the opposite.
The Detroit Zoo has a large menu, fewer places to eat, and the cost of the food is higher. You can figure that lunch at the Detroit Zoo for a couple with two children will cost you about $25-$30.
The Toledo Zoo has more areas to eat, for a lot less money. Lunch for the same family will cost about $18-$20 here.
Amount of Animals:
Detroit Zoo: Funding as cut many years ago at the Detroit Zoo. This caused for many of the animals to be dispersed to other zoos around the country. Recently, more private funding has rolled in, and many of these animals have returned. There are, though, fewer animals now than ten or twelve years ago.
Toledo Zoo: There are very few zoos in the United States that have more of a variety, or number, of animals as the Toledo Zoo.
Winner: Toledo Zoo. Hands (and paws) down.
Detroit Zoo: Most of the exhibits are built back from the sidewalk about fifteen to twenty feet. The exhibits at the Detroit Zoo are also fairly deep. If the animals are comfortable, chances are good that one or two might come to the edge so that they are closer to you. If there are a lot of people around, the animals will retreat to the opposing side making them difficult to see.
Toledo Zoo: Many of the exhibits have glass viewing areas that allow you to be within inches of the animals. Those areas that do not are usually only set back from the sidewalk a few feet. Photographers can spend hours clicking away to save classic detailed pictures of their favorite animals.
Winner: Toledo Zoo
Detroit Zoo: The Detroit Zoo is fairly straight-forward, with few exceptions. There are set walking areas that are straight or loop off in one direction. Exhibits are not marked , so you have to be right on top of them to see what animal is being exhibited. The area around the Arctic Exhibit is very confusing since there are many loops that intersect right here.
Once you enter the park, though, you will find that you have a very long walk before you see any animals. To many, this is one of the biggest downfalls of the Detroit Zoo. There are also very few places to sit and rest.
Toledo Zoo: The Toledo Zoo has one main track that branches off into many small loops. You can sometimes become confused since many of these loops intersect with each other. The areas, though, are well marked so that you know which direction your favorite exhibit is in.
Winner: Toledo Zoo because of the markers.
Detroit Zoo: The most popular exhibit in the Detroit Zoo is the Polar Exhibit. It is perhaps one of the shining sights in the zoo. There is a domed viewing area where the seals and polar bears will be seen swimming around and over the passers-by. This is the high point of the trip for many of the youngsters, and young at heart.
Toledo Zoo: The aquarium at the Toledo Zoo is something that should not be missed. While some of the other exhibits are pushed more than this, it is definitely a shining point of the trip. There are many species displayed, some of which the most prolific aquarium-goer will be pressed to find elsewhere.
Winner: That is up to the viewer.
Area Around the Zoo:
Detroit Zoo: The Detroit Zoo is located just a few blocks from downtown Royal Oak. Here, you will find dozens of great restaurants, original clothing companies, and a handful of unique stores (many of which specialize in collectibles). Royal Oak is considered to be one of the top trendy places in Southeast Michigan and should be visited if in the area.
Toledo Zoo: The Toledo Zoo is located in the middle of an average neighborhood. There is nothing to see in the immediate area unless you simply want to look at porches and gardens.
Winner: Detroit Zoo by a mile.
When all is said and done, I would suggest going to the Toledo Zoo if you are dead set on looking at animals. If you are looking to pass the time and make an entire day out of an area, head to the Detroit Zoo. Granted the Detroit Zoo is not as good overall as the Toledo Zoo, the area around it has much more to offer a visitor.