The Edinburgh Zoo is a 33-hectare zoological park that offers over 1,000 animals representing almost 200 species in their native habitats. The Zoo is a nonprofit organisation that was formerly known as the Scottish National Zoological Park and is one of the most popular attractions in the nation. Additionally, the zoo was the first in the world to breed penguins and the first in Britain to have koalas and giant pandas.

    The zoo is famed for its conservation efforts in breeding endangered animals and for its gardens, which host one of the most diverse collections of trees in all of the Lothians. Edinburgh Zoo holds membership in many prestigious organisations, such as the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. It's rated as a 4-star attraction by the Scottish Tourism Board.

    Edinburgh Zoo - one of the highlights of 12 Family-Friendly Things to Do in Edinburgh (Read all about Edinburgh here)

    Highlights and features of the Edinburgh Zoo

    The biggest feature of the zoo is its vast collection of over 1,100 animals that represent almost 200 species. Its major exhibits include giant pandas, koalas, penguins, chimpanzees and sun bears. The represented species comprise native, exotic and endangered species, which the zoo seeks to conserve and help to rescue and rehabilitate.

    The exhibits are divided by region and include the Budongo Trail, Living Links, Penguins Rock, Giant Pandas, Koala Territory, Wallaby Outback, Military Animals and other exhibits. Animals range from otters and Asian lions to giant anteaters and lemurs. The zoo has all types of bird species, such as flamingoes, owls, vultures and others. Over 120 species of trees and countless flowers and species of plant life are featured in the gardens.

    The story of the Edinburgh Zoo

    The Edinburgh Zoo was founded as the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland in 1909. From its inception, it promoted open and spacious natural environments – one of the first zoos to do so. The zoo opened to the public in 1913 as the Zoological Society of Scotland and was granted the 'Royal' prefix in 1948, the only zoo of its day to be granted such a privilege.

    Since then, the zoo has grown leaps and bounds, becoming the first of its kind in the world to breed King Penguins. When a chick hatched in 1919, it was the first penguin to be exhibited outside of the South Atlantic. To date, the daily penguin parade is among the most popular attractions, and it started with an accidental escape of a few birds in 1950. The zoo's original charter still drives its conservation, sustainability, breeding and biodiversity programmes.

    Good to know about the Edinburgh Zoo

    The zoo values the health and wellness of its visitors and animals and abides by all government recommendations and legal requirements to that end. Guests are asked to exercise patience if an exhibit happens to be closed for health and welfare checks of the animals. It is disability accessible and offers accessibility routes and mobility support throughout, though it is on a steep hill. A car park is available with a limited number of disability parking spaces, and Blue Badge parking is free.

    For visitors with ASD or ADHD, sensory bags are available, which include accessible maps for zoo navigation, ear defenders, sunglasses, fidget toys and binoculars. Ticket prices vary with children from ages 3-15 getting a discount and adults paying full price. Children under 3 are free. Children under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

    Edinburgh Zoo

    Location: Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, 134 Corstorphine Rd, Corstorphine, Edinburgh EH12 6TS, UK

    Open: April–September: daily from 10 am to 6 pm. November–February: daily from 10 am to 4 pm. October and March: daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 (0)1313 349171

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