Edinburgh Zoo | Kidadl

Edinburgh Zoo

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  • Spend the day meeting and learning about the wild animals at Edinburgh Zoo.
  • Schedule in some of the unmissable keeper talks, including the iconic penguin parade, for some action and education.
  • Book a keeper experience or a place in one of the zoo’s workshops for a chance to get up close and personal with the incredible animals that call this place their home.

First opening in July of 1913, Edinburgh Zoo has become one of the best zoos in the UK for a fun family day out. Attracting 800,000 visitors every year, this is the most popular zoo in Scotland. With over 1,000 different species of animals spanning across the 82-acre wildlife park, there is so much to see and learn about. As well as seeing the animals, visitors can spend time in the Zoo Gardens, attend the exciting keeper talks and take part in an amazing animal workshop. Get ready for a jam-packed day out with the kids in Edinburgh.

There is nothing more classic than a family day at the zoo. Spend the afternoon meeting animals and exploring exhibits like Penguins Rock, the Koala Territory, the Giant Panda exhibit and more. From the tigers and lions to magical mini-beasts like poison arrow frogs, there are so many animals to see. With indoor and outdoor features, there's something exciting to do no matter what the weather brings.

You can even check up on your favourite creatures without leaving the house with the Edinburgh Zoo webcam. There are cameras in all the main enclosures feeding live footage to the website, so the public always has the best view of the animals.  

Along with the amazing range of animals, Edinburgh Zoo is home to a stunning botanical garden. Before the zoo was even established, this site was home to plant nursery filled with gorgeous blooming flowers. The tradition in keeping the Zoo Gardens in great condition for the public to see has been kept up to this day. From rare plants in the greenhouse to over 1,000 trees planted all over the site, you can relax and take nature in as you walk from one exhibit to another. 

Don’t forget to schedule a great, informative keeper talk during your visit. These daily talks and feedings are full of action and education that will entertain the whole family. The iconic Penguin Parade is a highlight that everyone will enjoy. Stand back and enjoy the march of the penguins as they walk through the paths of the zoo and interact with the public. Kids and parents alike will love learning about nature and seeing the animals in action.

If your family can’t get enough of the zoo, why not take part in one of the hands-on workshops? Edinburgh Zoo offers courses and day-long activities in specialised subjects such as nature photography tutorials, beating spider phobias and more. Catering to animal lovers of all ages, there is something for everyone to enjoy here.

To really get up close to the action, the Edinburgh Zoo offers Keeper Experience days for visitors to get a behind-the-scenes look of the zoo. Tag along with the keepers for a day full of animal fun. Help prepare and feed the animals, learn about how they are cared for and have an unforgettable experience seeing animals up close. 

If you are looking for an experience with a particular animal, have a look at the Magic Moment programme. Hang out with rhinos, penguins, meerkats and armadillos, with 30 minutes to feed, pet, and learn about these amazing creatures. 

What to know before you go

  • Edinburgh Zoo is open every day from 10am, and closing time varies throughout the year. 
  • There are a number of places to eat on site. The Jungle Food Court has a range of refreshments for picky eaters, the Grasslands Restaurant offers a great menu for those who want to sit down and have a full meal, and the Penguin Cafe has a great selection of cakes and coffee for a quick snack. There are also kiosks stationed around the zoo, as well as some picnic areas for those who prefer a packed lunch.
  • There is a shop on site where visitors can purchase unique souvenirs and even adopt an animal. There is also click-and-collect service where visitors can order from the online shop and collect it once they arrive at the zoo. 
  • Toilets, including fully accessible toilets, and baby-changing areas are located all around the site. 
  • Most of the zoo is accessible for wheelchair users; however, some areas have steep slopes which may not be suitable for some to cross. There is a mobility vehicle scheme and a wheelchair renting service available.
  • Assistance dogs are allowed on site; however, they may not be allowed in certain areas such as indoor exhibitions and walk-through areas. 

Getting there

  • Edinburgh Zoo is located just three miles outside Edinburgh city centre.
  • If you are travelling by bus, routes 12, 26, 31 have stops near the zoo.
  • Some buses from other cities stop in Edinburgh; 900 from Glasgow, 909 from Stirling and 904 from East Kilbride. 
  • The two rail stations in central Edinburgh are Edinburgh Waverley Station and Edinburgh Haymarket Station. Both of these are a bus ride away from the zoo.
  • There is a car park with free electrical charging stations on the premises of the zoo. There is usually a charge of £4 to park here. 

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