on October 31, 2012
The zoo was on the top of my ‘must see’ list to get there it was only a small bus journey from Waverly Train station. It was around 15 minutes on the bus and it also dropped you right outside the zoo and when you needed to be picked back up it collected from outside the zoo too. The buses run every 10 minutes or so, so there isn’t much waiting around. There really is so much to say when it comes to the zoo, so will try my best to fit it all in!Once arriving at the zoo it really didn’t look all that big from the front entrance, to gain access you either walk up the ramp or take the stairs. Then it is through the main glass doors to the ticket booth, like everywhere I had been in Edinburgh the welcome was lovely. The lady attendant was very informative, she told us about the giant pandas and that we were only 10 minutes from the next showing so she booked us up there and then at no extra charge.So all we had to do was have our passes scanned and we was all set to go, she gave us a map of the zoo and wished us a pleasant day around the zoo. Stepping out into the zoo for the first time it was raining! So on the map we took the undercover route to the pandas. From the entrance it was almost a 10 minute walk to the pandas so we got there just in time for the showing, it was clearly sign posted which made it so much easier. I didn’t know what to expect, I was just excited to see them! The panda tour is guided and the gentleman there told us all about the pandas. Sadly as it was cold and wet the pandas where locked in the rooms because it would have been to cold for them out in the enclosures. There is one male and one female panda at the zoo and we were able to get a close look at both of them. Seeing them in real life just shows the beauty the television misses. The panda tour lasted around 15/20 minutes all of which was very informative, once all finished it was time to explore the rest of the zoo. Cheerfully the rain had slowed down so out came the map so we could follow where we going, as it may have looked small from the outside but inside the place was massive! As it was still drizzling we took the route with the most shelter.Due to the cold weather I was expecting most of the animals to be tucked up in their shelters, however surprising most of them were out and about. (brave fella’s!) The park wasn’t busy at all which I really enjoyed as we could walk around in our own time and stay looking at animal enclosures for as long as we wanted. Walking around the park I took note of how clean and well kept it all seemed, there were plenty of seating around the zoo. Only some of them are undercover or less you go sit in one of the eateries. There were also a good amount of toilets jotted around too, all of which had disabled facilities and baby changing access. During our walk we spotted a few attendants making sure it was clean, they were also getting the leaves up to hopefully stop anyone from slipping. Outside the leopard enclosure there was a member of staff sweeping the leaves up, the animal was just watching him and drooling! I guess he must be the one that feeds him too? After around an hour around the zoo the rain had completely stopped which was good for us as there was still so much to see! The zoo offers a safari bus that you can hop on which will also take you around the zoo. Brilliant for some of us that are less mobile, or if you have younger children this is a great way to explore.One thing from the zoo I will never forget was the Lions den; he wasn’t out in his enclosure but sat in his den. There was an opening you could look through to see him. He was huge! Again the television just doesn’t capture this and he let out an almighty roar, so loud that everywhere went slight. This really did send shivers down my spine, despite how cute he looked! If you are planning a trip to Edinburgh Zoo I would fully recommend comfy and sensible footwear. As it is hilly and one patch in particular is on the steep side which is where I almost went I my bum! It’s the top side path coming down from the lions. Another part of the zoo I really liked and spent a little time there was the African Plains exhibit, this is a large field where you can watch the animals go by. There is a walkway and a mini hut look out centre at the end. It is lovely to just sit and watch the animals be free (well as much as they can) the animals that wonder there are Grevy’s zebras, some different types of deer’s and some cattle. The zoo itself it set over 82 acres of land and has now be running from July 1913, they work hard with helping conservation work for endangered and rare animals. Which I think zoos should do, as much as we would like to see animals in there natural environment sadly it is not always possible. There are three main places where you can get food from if you are feeling hungry – Penguin Coffee ShopJungle Food CourtGrasslands RestaurantAll of which have been themed to suit its name, there are also kiosks around the zoo where you can get sweets, popcorn, burgers, flatbreads etc if you didn’t fancy a full meal you can snack from the kiosks. Please note that kiosks only run weather permitting and the day I was there I couldn’t find any of them open. The animals within the zoo are broken down into three sections – mammals, birds and reptiles. Now I can’t really list every single one so here is the link where you can see all the animals they have. www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/animals/ I personally was surprised they have so many! All of which look like they are being cared for well. At the zoo they run a few attractions – Giant Pandas – Tian Tian and Yang Guang, these are at the moment the only two giant pandas within the uk. This was the first thing we did when in the zoo and it was lovely to see them up close.Brillaint Birds – I really liked this one, it is a walk through bird aviary. I loved seeing the colourful birds just flying around, certainly not like the ones I see in my garden.Budongo Trail – This is where you can see the cheeky chimpanzees, I must admit as lovely as it was seeing them. They must have been on a mad one so to speak as they was running around like crazy and making so much noise!Sun Bears – This really wasn’t much of an attraction if I’m honest it is just seeing the bears in the newish enclosure. But still there was super cute but smaller than I thought they were going to be.White-faced saki Monkey – This is another newish walk through enclosure the zoo has done. Pretty much my least favourite as I found them a little freaky!Living Links – from the web site it states an indoor/outdoor facility that houses capuchin and squirrel monkeys. I guess I missed this as I don’t remember seeing it. Around the zoo it also has ‘Zoo Gardens’ which sadly was closed off at the time of our visit, but after I came to see the animals more so! As with most places there is a gift shop! I really liked the gift shop here; yes it was on the pricey side but the items were just beautiful with all the different animals! I treated myself to a few items one of my favourite being a chimpanzee bookmark which changes and you move it.There really was just so much to we spend just over four hours walking around the zoo but could have easily stayed the whole day. Prices: An adult ticket costs £15.50 and a child ticket which is ages 3 to 15 years will cost £11.00. I personally feel the price is about right from what they offer around the zoo.The Zoo operates different times through out the year normally 9am till 6pm but closes earlier during the colder months so do check before going. Another thing it is always worth checking daily events as they offer different items to do through the day at different times.
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