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Tiger - Visit Edinburgh Zoo

7 Reasons to Visit Edinburgh Zoo

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With all the museums, castles, parks and the festival fringe you can sometimes forget that Edinburgh also has the amazing Edinburgh Zoo.  When you next visit Edinburgh for a long weekend make sure as part of your itinerary you visit Edinburgh Zoo.  If you are still unsure if a visit is worthwhile these 7 reasons to visit Edinburgh Zoo should tip the balance!

Set in an 82 acre park to the west of Edinburgh centre in the suburb of Corstorphine the Zoo opened in 1913 and is home to over 1,000 rare and endangered animals.

Why Visit Edinburgh Zoo?

1.      Penguin Parade

Since the day a keeper left the gate to the enclosure open and the penguins followed him out in 1952 the Penguin Parade has happened every afternoon – if the penguins fancy it!

Penguins have been a feature of the zoo since its opening in 1913 and the zoo’s penguin colony includes Gentoo, King and Northern Rock Hopper Penguin’s living in one of the biggest penguin pools in Europe. If that’s not enough then you also get to see the Norwegian Kings Guards mascot, Sir Nils Olav III, now a Brigadier after his promotion in 2016

Penguin Parade - Visit Edinburgh Zoo
Photo by Tom Page on Flickr

2.      Tiger Tracks

My favourite of all the big cats is the Tiger and the huge Sumatran Tiger is one of the species best.  Unfortunately there are only around 400 left in the world and Edinburgh Zoo are working as part of the conservation project to protect them.

The enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo gives you a chance to get up close to the magnificent cats with a ground level tunnel straight through the centre of it where the Tigers can take a walk above you.  If that is a bit too much for you then you can still get a great view from the high-level viewing area.

3.      Koala Territory

They don’t move much so grabbing a picture of a Koala Bear won’t be a problem, these guys sleep 18-20 hours a day.  After the bushfires in Australia in 2020 the Koala’s plight came to everyone’s attention and when travelling to Australia is a big ask getting to enjoy and learn more these beautiful marsupials is an excellent reason to visit Edinburgh Zoo for children and adults alike.

Koalas - Visit Edinburgh Zoo
Photo by AndyHay on Flickr

4.      Wallaby Outback

Another excellent feature at Edinburgh Zoo is the Wallaby Outback, get up close and personal with a walk through the enclosure, time the visit right and you may even catch site of a Joey popping its head out of a pouch as this herd wallabies are a breeding herd of Swamp Wallabies.

5.      The View

The Zoo is set on a hillside which means you can get some awe inspiring views of Edinburgh, don’t be off put by this if you have problems with hills as there is a land train that runs up and down the hill at regular intervals.

6.      Zoo Gardens

In the centre of the Zoo you can find the Zoo Gardens a great place to sit and take a break whilst enjoying the many varieties of flora and fauna it has to offer.  When you visit Edinburgh Zoo see if you can spot banana’s growing outside – definitely a rarity in Scotland!

7.      Giant Pandas

Who doesn’t love a Giant Panada? Edinburgh Zoo is one of only 27 Zoo’s in the world that the Chinese government loan Panda’s to.  That loan runs out in December 2021 so make sure you take the opportunity to see the only Panda’s in the UK.

Tian Tian - Giant Panda - Visit Edinburgh Zoo
The Land / CC BY-SA

Getting to Edinburgh Zoo

Public Transport

Edinburgh Zoo can be easily accessed via public transport, there are two bus stops outside the front entrance. Lothian 12, 26 and, 31 services all stop outside and can be picked up near both Haymarket and Waverly Station or in the city centre. The ride is approximately 10 minutes from the city centre.

Private Vehicle

Use the postcode EH12 6TS on your sat nav.

Car parking spaces are limited and there is normally a £4.00 car park admission cost (cash only). You can also find two electric car charging points in the zoo’s main car park in dedicated parking bays which are free to use. You may be able to find some on street parking in the residential area around the zoo.

Edinburgh Pass

As a final tip, if you are looking to spend a weekend in Edinburgh then getting an Edinburgh Pass will get you free entry when you visit Edinburgh Zoo as well as many other attractions around the city.

With all the museums, castles, parks and the festival fringe you can sometimes forget that Edinburgh also has the amazing Edinburgh Zoo.  When you next visit Edinburgh for a long weekend make sure as part of your itinerary you visit Edinburgh Zoo.
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