Edinburgh Zoo Review

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Groovee's review of Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo is situated in West Edinburgh, on...”


written by Groovee on 23/03/2004

Good Points
lots to see and do

Bad Points
It's not pleasant when it's wet

General Comments
Edinburgh Zoo is situated in West Edinburgh, on Corstorphine Road. It is easily accessible as you pass it on the way from the Airport on your way to the town centre and if you are in the town centre you can get a bus directly there! The buses which would take you there from Princes Street in the centre of the city are 12, 26, 31 which are lothian buses and an 86 is a first bus.


Edinburgh Zoo opened in 1913, in leafy hillside parkland just ten minutes from the centre of Edinburgh. Recognised as one of the world's leading zoos, we are involved in many conservation breeding programmes, and we give the highest priority to the welfare, both physical and behavioural, of the animals in our care.


The Zoo is open every day from 9am! Yes even on Christmas Day you can visit the zoo. You just have to be careful that it doesn't snow. The Zoo closes at different times throughout the year according to the season. April to September it is 6pm, October and March is 5pm while November through to February is 4.30pm! This is because in the winter it does get dark quite early and then you wouldn't be able to see anything.


A trip to the zoo can work out quite expensive. For an adult to go it is £8 for them, £5 for a child aged 3-14. Children under 3 go free. You can buy a family ticket and these range from £24 to £27 and these include 2 adults and up to 4 children. Any extra children get in for £2.50. There are special discounts for Special Needs, who get a helper in free if they are needed, unemployed with proof, senior citizen and students(Students require proof too). If you are going in a large party there are discounted rates too.


You can also join the zoo as a member. This is a one off payment depending on your age it ranges from £260-£488. Or you can do a yearly membership which we do! This year it cost us £76 for my husband, myself and our 3 year old. That gives us

* free entrance to the Zoo every day of the year, and to the Highland Wildlife Park from April to October and during the winter (weather permitting)

* 25% discounted entry for guests (full adult members only)

* free car parking

* free magazine, Arkfile, three times each year

* use of the Members' House for coffee, meals and functions

* discounted or free access to evening guided tours, winter talks, summer events

* 10% discount in our giftshops

* walkabouts and workshops

* and much, much more!


You can park in the Zoo Car Park for £2 or free if a member. If you visit between 9.30am and 4.30pm, you can park on certain bits of the greenways, and also Pinkhill is close for parking but can be busy on weekdays due to the offices round about!


There are lots of different animals within the zoo. Ranging from the big cats family, kangaroos, monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, giraffes, penguins, flamingos, sealions and many more animals.

During April to September, there are daily parades and handling sessions.

At the moment on offer is sealion feeding and training twice a day. The sea lions are right at the start of the zoo so it is ideal if you are arriving just before lunch or just as your are leaving before closing time.

There is a meet the keeper session at different enclosures. The keepers tell you about the animals and how they are looked after within the zoo!

Animal encounter is getting to meet some of the more unusual animals. This may be too much for a young child.

Animal Antics is a live demonstration which shows animals natural behaviour.

Animal Talks

Often timed to coincide with feeding time, don't miss these lively and informative talks at the animal enclosures:

Ring-tailed lemurs





Birds of Prey Flying Display.

Also in the Giraffe house there is brass rubbing for an extra charge. The animal handling is also set at an extra charge too and tickets are bought from the penguin shop which is near the penguin enclosure.

Quite often in the summer or spring time the new baby animals are put on show. As you walk through the entrance to the ticket desks, there is usually a board with all the new arrivals on it. You also get a map of the zoo when you pay for your tickets and it can be quite confusing sometimes about where you are actually standing.


The zoo has 2 self service restaurants which are available to all visitors to use! We have usually used the Stripes one, which is right next to the Members House and is close to the penguins. It can get very busy in here and it sells a range of sandwiches, cakes, baked potatoes, full meals like roast chicken, fish and has a pasta dish and a curry dish each day. They also serve cakes, crisps and sweets as well as juice. Just recently my friend and I were in Stripes when we realised they have a snack bar sort of place which serves alcohol as well as crisps, juice and sweets! I have found this restaurant to be expensive. We spent over £10 on food in here for 1 main meal, a kids meal and a packet of sandwiches as well as drinks!

The mmebers house restaurant is open to the public and usually offers a 3 course meal for around £10 a head. I have never tried this restaurant as I'm not up for the 3 course meal in the zoo. I would have to roll back down the hill to get home! The members house also has a lounge which is only available to members. This serves sandwiches and soup as well as cakes and drinks. For 2 adults and 2 children with a round of sandwiches each and a drink it cost about £12! It's not a big lounge so I do advise that you don't use this at busy eating times. We went about 11.20am and 3pm when it is quieter!

There is also The Den, which has an ice cream counter with corneto soft ice cream and normal scoop ice cream. These were reasonable prices, I didn't pay and my sister in law couldn't remember. They do main meals but we were just after the ice cream and juice. The juice cost for 2 large soft drinks and 1 small was £3.90 which i didn't think was too bad. It was nice a quiet in here and when we visited last week, it was a VERY HOT day, so it was nice to sit in here and have a breather.

Around the zoo at various points you will find ice cream and juice stands. These can be quite expensive, so be prepared with a child that you either take a lot of money or accept the tantrum.


There is also a little shop near the penguins which sells a variety of soft zoo animals, cups and plates, table mats and some cheap toys. My friend was impressed when her daughter wanted an expensive toy that my daughter chose a 50p snake which her friend then wanted too, hence saving my friend quite a bit of money.

There is also a shop as you go out, which is bigger and sells a lot of things like sun cream, books, toys, baby things, clothes, tea towels and many other items.


There are toilets in the cafes and the members house. Personally, the members house ones are nicer and the baby changing facilities are basic but at least there are some.

There are toilets halfway up the zoo hill which in my opinion are horrible and disgusting and haven't changed since I was young and could do with upgrading. There are also toilets at the entrance, but i have never used them! I do feel that there could more toilets spaced about. Have you ever tried running with 2 3 year olds to the loo which seems like it is half a mile away!


The zoo have recently updated the playparks! There is one as you walk up the hill at the start, just behind the sealions. It reminds me of Noah's ark in wat, a walkway onyo the boat and then lots of shutes and places to explore. The shute wasn't quite wide enough for my bum though. The bigger park is near the chimpanzees just along from the members house. This is a big wide open park with lots of climbing and fun to be had by all! Over the grassy area is a more suitable park for little ones with a little slide and climbing frame. These do tend to get busy with parents wanting a rest from walking about.


My advice is to arrive about 10.15am. Pay for your tickets and then wait for the Hill top safari bus to take you all the way to the top of the hill. This costs about 50p per person or something like that! Then work your way down the hill! Saves you having to walk all the way up the hill as it can tire you out if you have to push a pram or buggy!

Eat lunch early or late to avoid crowds or take a picnic on a nice day. There is a greggs further along the road, pick up a picnic on the way!

Avoid holidays as the zoo gets very busy. We went on Good Friday at 9.30am and left by 2pm as you couldn't move, but the girls had seen most of the animals that they wanted to see!

If you are in Edinburgh and get a lovely day, then pop along to the zoo. It's open every day and I still learn new things every time I go!

  • Value For Money

  • All year round

    Date of visit (month/year)

  • All ages

    Ages suited for

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Mac99's Response to Groovee's Review

Written on: 23/08/2007

This is a a helpful review I think.

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