Zoo – Letter to parents

Dear parents,

I grew up within walking distance of Toronto’s High Park Zoo and, while its peacocks, deer and yak may have been eclipsed by the lions, tigers and bears of the Toronto Zoo, I loved it nonetheless. The enormous bison always had me pressed up against the chain link fence, eyes wide with wonder. There’s something uniquely magical about meeting an animal in real life you’d only seen on a screen or in books (and in my case, encyclopedias!).

Before we started development on the app, we took a team trip to the Toronto Zoo, and were impressed by how they recreated the animals’ natural habitats. We wanted Sago Mini Zoo to have this same friendly feel, so we were sure to include diverse habitats like the Arctic, jungle, savannah and a bamboo forest – perfect for teaching young ones about ecosystems and conservation.

Davin at the High Park zoo

We knew we had to feature the classic zoo animals (lions, tigers and bears – oh my!), but we also observed some fascinating creatures at the Toronto Zoo that we just had to sneak in – the ring-tailed lemur was one of our favourites. Our artists were serious about representing the sizes, shapes, colours, and patterns of the more than two dozen new animal characters so that kids could recognize and name them easily. We also have a few parent and child animal groupings so that kids can relate them to their own family experiences.

Zoo is one of our Playset apps (joining Big City and Farm) and, much like a physical playset, these apps give kids the pieces to act out their life experiences and emotions. They can voice characters, make messes, tidy up, work through feelings, visit new places and act out daily routines. We made sure to include objects and scenes kids will recognize – this Zoo has restaurants, boats, cars, bathrooms and much more. There is great power in the open play of a familiar setting, characters, and props — anything or nothing can happen at a childʼs whim.

We can’t wait to hear about your trips to the Sago Mini Zoo – watch out for hippo poop!

Davin Risk

Play Designer

Try Zoo for free today in Sago Mini World.

How to Play

With no rules, time limits or limitations, how you play is up to you! Nearly all the objects, characters and accessories are interactive and can be moved, stacked and played with like a physical playset! Zoom around in your zookeeper's Jeep, making sure all your animal friends are well-fed and happy. Or play as the resident vet, making sure all the animals have had their annual check-ups (don't forget their x-rays). Spend the day as a monkey, relaxing on your banana swing and taking slides down the waterfall. Fancy playing as a tourist? Don't forget to grab a snack from the refreshment stand and to exit through the gift shop – where you can take home a fancy animal hat of your own.

To talk about

Caring for zoo animals is a perfect way to build empathy. Ask what the animals like to do for fun, and where they go when they need some alone time. Who cares for the animals when they get sick? How do you know when they’re feeling better? Learn about conservation by naming all the endangered species with your child and discussing ways to protect them and their habitats. The many diverse ecosystems in Zoo are also a great way to teach ecology and geography. Jumble up all the animals, and ask your child to place them back into their natural habitats!

The Team

Davin Risk - Play Designer/Developer

Elaine Hsu - Lead Artist

Katherine Elliott - Artist

Danny Simmons - Sound Artist

Danielle Rainey - Release Manager

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