Pocket Britain
Britain > Scotland > Edinburgh > Edinburgh Zoo

One of Scotland’s most popular attractions

Listen to this article


African Animals
Safari Ride
Mansion House
Arguably, the finest jewel in Scotlands Celtic crown of Edinburgh is its prestigious Zoo. Receiving over 600,000 visitors each year, it is one of the nations top attractions. Situated three miles to the west of the city in 82 acres of sloping parkland, the zoo is home to over 1000 animals. Unfortunately, most of them are rare and endangered.
The zoo itself was the brainchild of Edinburgh lawyer, Thomas Gillespie. He founded the Royal zoological Society of Scotland in 1909. Four years later, having collected enough money, he bought the present site for 17,000. Edinburgh Zoo finally opened her doors to the public on 22nd July 1909. After a visit from King George VI in 1948, the society was granted the privilege of using Royal in its title. Even today, its still the only zoo in the United Kingdom with a Royal Charter.

Photo Martin Pettitt
Edinburgh Zoo has a wide range of attractions to keep the family occupied for a whole enjoyable day. Animals of all shapes and sizes and colours are here, keeping your eyes forever interested. To list them all would take too long, but heres a taster of what you can expect:
Amongst the mammals, there is an African wild dog, a buffed cheek Gibbon, and a Patagonian sea lion. Then there are the birds, including, a black stork, an East African Crowned Crane, and the King penguins, one of which is called Sir Nils Olav, having been knighted by the King of Norway in 2008! If this sounds a little crazy, please note also that this Penguin started out as a corporal in the Norwegian Army. Theres definitely something going on there!

Penguins at Edinburgh Zoo
Photo jammach_uk
In the reptile house, youll find the Corn snake, a Royal Python, and a Yellow Footed Tortoise. The Budongo Trail is an enclosure built for the zoos exceptionally large collection of chimpanzees. It acquired its name from the close ties it has with a conservation project in Budongo Forest , Uganda.
They also have Sun Bears, beautiful Rainbow Lorikeet birds, the Animal Antics show and penguins parading close by to the vistors. You can even go on Safari and see the animals from a moving zebra-patterned trailer!

Photo Mr Andy J C
In the middle of the park, looking out across the Pentland Hills is Mansion House. Its over 200 years old and can be hired for weddings, conferences, business meetings, or simply for a family get together, providing you are human of course, and not a resident of the zoo!

Mansion House
Photo Scott Denham
To help you through your busy day, there are three cafes: Jungle Cafe, Stripes, & the Penguin Cafe, plus several kiosks and a picnic area.
One truly inspiring story above all else contributes to making Edinburgh Zoo a remarkable place to visit. It would be criminal not to mention a past resident, who served with the Polish army in WWII. He had a rank & number, & went by the name of Voytek. He was a Syrian Brown bear. At the battle of Monte Cassino, he carried boxes of 25lb artillery shells for his fellow soldiers, under heavy gunfire. He never dropped a single one, & more amazingly, he did all this without being prompted!
Scotland is known for many things, tartan, whiskey, & great inventors, but Edinburgh Zoo is one of those hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.
Visitor Information
Edinburgh Zoo is open daily from 9am to 6pm (earlier in Winter). Entry costs around £16 for adults, £11 children. Edinburgh EH12 6TS. Tel: 0131 334 9171

Back ~ Top ~ Home ~ Index

Pocket Britain is optimised for use on a smartphone or tablet with internet access. All content is subject to copyright. All reasonable methods have been used to ensure information supplied is accurate at the time of publication. However, it is advisable to check information before relying on it. Privacy Policy