At 284 hectares (702 acres) of parkland, it's one of the largest zoos in the world, with some 5,000 animals representing more than 500 species, plus an extensive botanical collection. Pavilions -- including Africa, Indomalaya, Australasia, and the Americas -- and outdoor paddocks house the plants and animals.

One popular zoo attraction is at the African Savanna project. It re-creates a market bazaar and safari through Kesho (Swahili for "tomorrow") National Park, past such special features as a bush camp, a white rhino, and several watering holes. It also includes the Gorilla Rainforest, one of the most popular sights at the zoo and the largest indoor gorilla exhibit in North America. Another hit is Splash Island, a kids-only water park that includes a replica of a Canadian Coast Guard ship.

In 2011, the zoo was at the center of media attention when it decided to relocate the very popular elephants to a warmer locale; the flip side is that they have brought in 12 African penguins, an endangered species, and built them a 557-sq.-m (6,000-sq.-ft.) splash pad and pool, complete with underwater windows for viewing.

Ten kilometers (6 1/4 miles) of walkways offer access to all areas of the zoo. Be prepared to walk long distances, but during the warmer months, the Zoomobile takes visitors around the major walkways to view the animals in the outdoor paddocks. The zoo has restaurants, a gift shop, first aid, and a family center. Visitors can rent strollers and wagons, and borrow wheelchairs. The African pavilion has an elevator for strollers and wheelchairs. There are several parking areas and plenty of picnic tables.