I'm a student living in the heart of Scotland's capital. I post about all aspects of student life and more from within this historic city.
Published March 25th 2017
The only place to see Giant Pandas in the United Kingdom
Edinburgh Zoo, previously known as the Scottish National Zoological Park, is an 82-acre (33 ha) non-profit zoological park in Edinburgh. Worth noting is that this zoo remains the only zoo with a Royal Charter in the United Kingdom, which is really quite impressive. However, the zoo also carries many more impressive titles, including the first zoo to successfully breed and hatch a penguin in captivity (in 1919) and it is also currently the only zoo in the United Kingdom that houses giant pandas.
Make sure you pre-book tickets to see the Giant Panda enclosure in advance to avoid disappointment, as they only allow a small number of people to view the enclosure at each allocated time period- so it's well worth making sure you do this (as you won't see any others in the UK)!
It's an incredible zoo and a great day out, making it somewhere I always stop by whenever friends or family visit me in Edinburgh.
As Edinburgh Zoo is situated on the south facing slopes of Corstorphine Hill, there are so many locations where you can see really spectacular views behind the exhibits. Although this does make walking around the area slightly more tiring- it really is worth it.
One of the most impressive exhibits was that of the Sumatran Tigers, where the large windows cleverly placed in areas of the enclosure allowed me to capture the picture below (which I have to say, I am more than a little proud of). However there are so many enclosures it would be impossible to name them all, but to highlight a few, the zoo has an impressive 'Living Links' section where research on primate behaviour is displayed. They also have a 'Budongo Trail' (named after the Budongo Forest in Uganda which houses 18 chimpanzees and includes really fascinating displays and galleries. 'Penguins Rock' is also well worth a mention, where a huge number of different colonies of penguins are housed, and a 'Penguin Parade' is performed most days (where the penguins leave the enclosure and walk in front of guests-really a great watch!).
There is also plenty of interaction at this zoo, as there are keepers that put on displays to show off some of the lesser known, smaller animals living at the zoo. During this talk, we were able to hold a giant snail and many more critters - which is definitely a unique experience!
The only downside, is that the costs are definitely slightly high (although I believe it is roughly similar to most zoos). The entry fee will set you back around £19 (but cheaper if you book online, and if you're a student), and meals are relatively expensive too (expect an absolute minimum of around the £5 mark).
Overall, Edinburgh zoo really is a great place to visit- and an absolute must-do if you're visiting Edinburgh!
Pros: Amazing zoo with great views & exhibits Cons: Somewhat expensive, and you'll need to take a bus from the central area
But don't just take my word for it, visit their website: Edinburgh Zoo