Edinburgh Zoo is guaranteed to be a hit with the whole family. You can spend the day with cuddly koalas, watch the world famous penguin parade and get up close and personal with all your favourite exotic animals. It’s not only a fun-filled day, but it’s also educational. Learn all about different species, their natural habitats and how we can protect them. If you’re looking for what to do in Edinburgh, a visit to Edinburgh Zoo is essential.
Where is Edinburgh Zoo?
Edinburgh Zoo is located in Corstorphine Hill, just 15 minutes from the city centre. Entry is £12.50 for children 3-15 years and £17 for adults when booked online. The zoo is open every day of the year no matter what the weather, even on Christmas Day. There are several Edinburgh hotels near the zoo, including the Hotel Novotel Edinburgh Centre, less than three miles away.
Edinburgh Zoo facts
The 82-acre zoo was built in 1913 and is home to over 1,000 animals from 171 different species. It’s famous for its penguin, koala and giant panda exhibits, as well as its research and conservation work with Uganda chimpanzees and endangered Scottish native wildlife. Edinburgh Zoo is the only zoo in the UK that houses and breeds penguins, with the first king penguin chick born in 1919 the world’s first penguin to be hatched in captivity. Today, you can see three different species of penguins – king penguins, gentoo penguins and northern rockhopper penguins – at the iconic Penguins Rock habitat. Edinburgh Zoo is also the only place in the UK where you can see koalas and pandas. There are four koalas, named Goonaroo, Yabbra, Alinga and Yooranah, and two giant pandas from China, a male named Yang Guang and a female, Tian Tian. The zoo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Edinburgh, second only to Edinburgh Castle.
All of the animals
Edinburgh Zoo is a full day trip that the whole family will enjoy. You can see birds such as the Chilean flamingo, Egyptian vulture, southern cassowary, rainbow lorrikeets and more. Mammals come from all around the world – lions, monkeys, bears, otters and hippos. There are also amphibians and reptiles (geckos, snakes and frogs) to keep you busy! As you visit each enclosure, you can learn about their breeding, eating and sleeping habits, as well as more about their native environment.
Edinburgh Zoo has eight special attractions – the Giant Panda Exhibit, Penguins Rock, Budongo Trail, Brilliant Birds, Koala Territory, Living Links, Wallaby Outback and the Edinburgh Zoo Gardens. The Penguin Parade is also not to be missed. You can stand by as the little penguins leave their enclosure at Penguins Rock and follow in their keeper’s footsteps as they go for a stroll through the grounds. The Budongo Trail lets visitors see up to 40 chimpanzees in an interactive enclosure and learn about the links between monkeys and mankind.
Want to get involved?
Are your kids animal lovers? Edinburgh Zoo runs spring and summer schools where children get to learn in depth about the animals, habitats and cultures, as well as the future of these animals. As part of the course, kids are invited to take part in fun activities such as animal handling, games and zoo trails. The Conservation Action Team (CAT) is a Saturday morning club for 5-15 year-olds that teaches children how to protect and nurture wildlife. Kids will build birdhouses, go wildlife watching and learn more about the essential role animals play in our everyday lives.