on May 1, 2011
I absolutely love going to zoos and Edinburgh is one of my favourites. My now boyfriend (and long time best friend) lives in Stirling which is just over an hour away from Edinburgh so once a year when I go to see him, we always take a trip to the zoo. I’m quite sure he’s bored of going now every single year but he knows it makes me happy so doesn’t mind taking me. My most recent visit was in April this year (2011) so all information is correct at the time of this review going live. As there are so many different animals at the zoo, I wont go over all of them as it would take forever!The large cats section of the zoo is one of my favourites and remains so each time I visit. This section can be found quite far up the hill but this makes it possible for the cats to have large enclosures with plenty of space for them to roam around. The lions are the only cats which have an enclosure surrounded by fence instead of glass. I was quite lucky and got to witness a little bit of a lion fight between females and the male lion roaring really loud and trying to stop them. Everyone watching was fascinated, just as I was. Usually the lions are just lying around so it made a change to get a bit of action. Other big cats that can be seen are jaguars, tigers, leopards and Asian golden cats. Due to the foliage in the enclosures, some of the animals couldn’t be seen which was sad but the leopards were quite entertaining. One came right up close to the glass and stayed there for quite some time. Unfortunately, there were a lot of children banging on the glass with their parents not doing anything to stop them so the leopard got a bit scared and ran off. There are clear signs all over saying not to bang on the glass and the leopard was beginning to look really agitated. It’s a real shame when some people cant follow zoo rules as it spoils other people’s experiences. Every day at 2.15, there is a chance to see a great penguin parade. Even though I have been to the zoo many times before, this is the first time that I was able to see this. I have always been in colder conditions so the parade has been cancelled a few times due to this but the weather this time was lovely and I was excited to see what all of the fuss was about.The penguin parade is voluntary so there is never a guaranteed number of penguins that will actually take part. I think this is great that they are not being forced to come out of their enclosure. For the parade I witnessed, about 10 penguins came out and had a stroll around and some even tried to wander off away from the others. A couple of members of the zoo staff walk the penguins around a circular path and talk about them at the same time. The actual enclosure for the penguins is massive and split into two halves. I think the penguin enclosure is probably one of the best in the whole zoo due to the size of it. On each side, the penguins have a large area of flat land as well as a large amount of water for them to swim in. On my visit, many of the penguins were laying around keeping their eggs warm so there wasn’t too much activity from them and I guess this had something to do with the amount of penguins taking part in the parade. Edinburgh Zoo is the only zoo in the UK that is home to Koalas and they are part of a breeding programme. The zoo holds male koalas that are too young to be in the breeding programme as well as koalas that are now retired from breeding. The koalas can be found in the Australian exhibit and while we were there, a staff member was stood outside explaining all about the animals and their habits. Although this is not available for all exhibits, I was glad that it was for this one. The koalas are one of the reasons why I love Edinburgh Zoo so much because you cant see them anywhere else in this country so it was nice to be able to learn more about them. The zoo offers a large selection of other animals such as birds, ocean animals as well as a large amount of mammals. Most of the animals are extremely interesting but there are also some less entertaining exhibits such as the zebras. I didn’t go and see these this time around although I have done before. They are situated right at the top of the hill and to be honest, I just couldn’t be bothered to trek all of the way up there this time around. The monkeys are a great species to visit as there are quite a few different varieties housed in the zoo. The Bundongo Trail is where the monkeys can be found and this was another area where staff were educating visitors about their habits and about the species in general. The Bundongo Trail has both indoor and outdoor enclosures so you are able to see the animals in a variety of settings and doing different things. There are also interactive games and displays to help visitors learn more. One of the newest additions to the zoo are sun bears. These can be found where the polar bears used to be and their enclosure is really big. Again, this is another exhibit which has both indoor and outdoor parts as well as a heated pool for the bears, a waterfall and toys for them to play with. These are fascinating creatures and has insanely long tongues. There is also an interactive zone here to do with that. Edinburgh Zoo offers many things to buy while you are there. In the gift shop, you are able to buy a large range of souvenirs such as post cards and soft toys but you are also able to adopt animals and become a member of the zoo. There is something available to suit all price ranges and I think that if I lived closer, I would probably become a member. I would love to be able to go here a couple of times a year. Dotted around the zoo are small kiosks that sell snacks and drinks but there aren’t many places to get a real meal. In fact, there is only the Jungle Café that serves meals but I have never eaten here before but they do offer a range of both hot and cold foods. If you fancy a small snack like a cake and a coffee, you are better off heading to the Penguin Coffee shop which is situated right near the penguin enclosure. Prices for food and drink are quite expensive as is normal for anywhere like this. I try to not buy any food or drink while I visit the zoo and always try to get something beforehand to save on money. == Admission == Adult: £15.50Child 3-15 years: £11.00Children under 3: FreeConcession: £13.02 adults, 2 children: £47.702 adults, 3 children: £57.601 adult, 2 children: £33.701 adult, 3 children: £43.60Edinburgh zoo is open every single day of the year from 9am, including Christmas Day, which is fantastic. Not everyone celebrates Christmas so I think its great that some places are still open and especially places as fun as this. The zoo opens at 9am all year round but has different closing times for the different seasons which are:April - September: 6pmOctober and March: 5pmNovember - February: 4:30pm The last entry to the zoo is an hour before closing time although I could never do this. There is no way I could see everything in such a small amount of time and it just wouldn’t be worth the entrance fee. == Contact Information == Edinburgh Zoo Edinburgh EH12 6TS tel 0131 334 9171 fax 0131 314 0384 email email@example.com== Overall == Edinburgh zoo is huge but still very enjoyable. You do need to make a fair bit of time to get around this zoo due to its sheer size and the fact that it is on top of a massive hill but so long as you don’t rush around it, it can be a relaxing day. Edinburgh zoo has a lot of great animals to see but there could still be some improvements. There are other animals that I would love to see like a reptile house in addition to everything else but overall, the entrance fee is very fair for what you can see here.
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