Thursday, June 30, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 & A Special Visit to the Toronto Zoo

A couple weeks back I hosted a giveaway to win tickets to a special experience at the Toronto Zoo. To celebrate the release of "Kung Fu Panda 3" on BluRay, 20th Century Fox brought the movie to The Toronto Zoo, home of Canada's only Giant Pandas, for a VIP screening with animal encounters. Media were treated to extra encounters and a behind the scenes Zoo tour in the morning. It was a long, fun, exciting day!

Our first stop was of course the Giant Panda exhibit, where we got to watch the panda cubs, Jia YueYue and Jia PanPan, playing with each other and their mom, Er Shun. The cubs are getting so big, but are still adorable.

Jia PanPan was playing outside

Jia YueYue is apparently quite the climber. Mom looks a little concerned.
From the panda exhibit we hopped onto golf carts for our tour. This was my first chance to get behind the scenes at the Zoo, so I was excited. Boo has done Zoo Camp in the past, so he was playing it cool. We did get into areas where photos weren't allowed, although to be honest I didn't see anything concerning or super secret. We met with keepers, learned about the animals and their care, and got some insights into conservation efforts and the scary plights of many species around the world.

Red Pandas are even more endangered than Giant Pandas. The Zoo has a male and a female they are currently hoping will breed. These two are being housed together currently, and some "activity" has been witnessed, so keep your fingers crossed!

We visited the Indian Rhinos and saw the baby, Nandu. Such a cutie!

We went behind the scenes to meet and feed his dad, Vishnu, but Vishnu had other ideas and went for a nap. We got to meet and feed his neighbours instead - a pig species that was very friendly and cute. Maybe the highlight was getting up close to the male Sumatran Tiger. Wow. He is gorgeous and huge. Naturally, we were separated by his cage, as was his keeper - no one goes in the enclosures with the tigers. She talked to us about conservation and fed him chunks of raw meat with tongs. He took them so gently. Both she and the rhino keeper gave us some insights into the behavioural training they do with the animals to help them be comfortable and safe around things like feeding and medical treatments. For example, tapping high on the cage and saying "up" leads the tigers to stretch up on their hind legs and place their front paws on the cage. This allows the keepers to inspect their paws for any cuts or other injuries. Apparently Vishnu needs his nails trimmed fairly regularly, and he has progressed from disliking the attention to requesting it. He loves his pedicures :)

We had some time on our own to wander the Zoo as well. Boo and I checked out the bird show, which, even after 16 years of membership I had never seen! Then we had lunch and some fun animal encounters before checking out the movie itself.

And what did we think of the movie? It was a great story about the meaning of family and getting to know yourself and your own wonderful strengths. Laughs and action combined for a fun viewing. we'll for sure be watching it again on the BluRay they sent home with us.

Thanks 20th Century Fox for a fun day and some new experiences!

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