Admire an array of rare and endangered species that are conserved at the city's renowned wildlife attraction.
Spanning over 33 hectares to the west of the city, Edinburgh Zoo is home to over 1,000 different animals from around 200 different species.
A good place to start your visit is at the Budongo Trail, home to the zoo’s chimpanzees. Watch these fascinating animals at play around in their outdoor enclosure as well as in their network of indoor rooms. You’ll also find digital games and mock skeletons that will demonstrate how closely related the animals are to humans. The zoo's best known residents however are its two giant pandas, Tian Tian and Yang Guang. If you plan to see them in their enclosures during your visit, you’ll have to book in advance. It doesn’t cost extra to see them but places are limited and groups are brought into the viewing area every 10 minutes.
See species of exotic birds from across the globe in the walk through aviary. Among them are endangered species such as the Bali starling and the Nicobar pigeon, which is the closest living relative of the extinct dodo. Talks are given every afternoon, which give more information about the zoo's bird collection.
For an adventure, take a trip on board the zebra trailer for a 30-minute Hilltop Safari, which takes visitors from the duck pond, past the baboons, antelopes and big cats. The driver also gives a commentary on the different animals as you pass by. Afterwards, visit the Physics Garden, where you’ll find a range of medicinal plants which are planted to resemble parts of the human anatomy.
The zoo’s website also has live cameras where you can look around the zoo before your visit. All year round, the cameras give a glimpse into the lives of the pandas, penguins and squirrel monkeys that call the zoo home. At certain times of the year, there’s also a bird-box cam.
Situated about five kilometres to the west of the city, Edinburgh Zoo can be reached via one of four Lothian Bus routes which stop outside the entrance. If you're driving, limited paid parking is available. The zoo opens every day, but opening times may vary so it’s advisable to check online before you visit. Comfortable footwear is also advised as the zoo is built on a hillside.