Established in 1913 by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo is one of Europe’s leading zoological gardens and its ethos lies in the strong commitment and dedication to conservation and survival of endangered animal species from all ecosystems of our natural world. As one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions, the zoo draws in excess of 600,000 visitors annually through its turnstiles and is opened 365 days per year including Christmas Day.
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Providing an invaluable and educational visitor experience to all, Scotland’s largest wildlife attraction is home to over 1,000 species of animals and insects waiting to be discovered and marvelled at in close range amidst 82 acres of magnificent parkland in the West of Edinburgh. Undoubtedly one of the highlight attractions at the zoo is the penguin house containing various species of this Antarctic flightless bird such as King and Emperor Penguins that never fail to captivate visitors with their remarkable sub-aqua acrobatics. At various times of the day, visitors have the option to get up close and watch the keepers at work feeding various species from Asiatic Lions to Giraffes.
Why not embark on a free Hilltop Safari as part of the Edinburgh Zoo experience which operates every day of the year except Christmas Day, using two robust Safari vehicles, namely the tiger trailer accommodating 18 passengers and the zebra trailer having a capacity for 20 passengers, including space for disabled passengers. Commencing from 10am at the sea lion enclosure and finishing at 3.30pm (4.30pm during summer season) each day, the safari experience covers each and every animal house and enclosure and includes a comprehensive guide on each species and their natural habitat, courtesy of the driver of the vehicle. Each Hilltop Safari trip is 30 minutes in duration and is certainly an enjoyable and hassle-free option to explore Edinburgh Zoo.
The Zoo is home to two large self-service restaurants to fulfil your hunger and both catering well for visitors with special dietary requirements and food allergies. Situated adjacent to the imposing Mansion House, Stripes Cafeteria purveys a varied selection of hot meals and made to order pizza and pasta dishes as well as a varied selection of filled paninis that are one of the most popular choices. Conveniently placed in the very heart of Edinburgh Zoo, The Oasis Cafeteria provides a similar menu of pizza and pasta dishes and is opened for food in the summer season only. Out of high season, The Oasis is the perfect place to sit and enjoy a packed-lunch and rest the soles of your feet following a long stroll around 82 acres of this magnificent zoo.
Not only are children entertained by the various animal species and the majestic sights of big cats, monkeys and apes on display, the Edinburgh Zoo experience also incorporates four children’s play zones interspersed throughout the park, each designed to let kids get the most out of their day and burn up their energy. Allow your kids to fool around as the Chimpanzees do likewise at the play park opposite the apes enclosure or venture to the hilltop where the largest play area is situated, suitable for ages 3 to14.
To complete your visit to Edinburgh Zoo, a browse through the gift shop is certainly worthwhile where you can purchase a host of souvenirs and an wide selection gift ideas for someone special as a memento to your experience in one of Europe’s showpiece zoological gardens. Items are generally wildlife related and range from an exquisite selection of cuddly toys to beautifully crafted ceramics, woodwork and other objets d’art to entice you. Other gift shops include the Penguin Shop selling a host of items dedicated to this much-loved feathered friend as well as the recently opened Koala Kiosk purveying a host of pint-sized koala goodies at modest prices, next to the Koala Bear Enclosure.
If you are seeking a fun-packed family day out during your visit to Scotland's Capital, Edinburgh Zoo will certainly fulfil your pleasure seeking requirements and assures to captivate visitors, young and old.