For the animal lovers amongst you, Edinburgh has a place for you. One of the top 10 attractions for some years now. The Edinburgh Zoo has happily satisfying the pleasure of being around and seeing animals for over 90 years. Founded in 1913 by the Zoological Society of Scotland and located just outside the centre of Edinburgh, the zoo is the most popular wildlife attraction in Scotland and has been constantly adding to the character and variety of the animals that it has on display. The zoo is spread over 80 acres on Costorphine Hill overlooking a large expanse of Edinburgh, such as Pentlands and the Firth of Forth.
The zoo opened 14 years after it was founded. One of the imperatives of the zoo was to ensure that the animals are displayed in their natural surrounding as much as this is possible in a zoo. Joyfully, the Edinburgh zoo was one of the first to do this and has continued following this policy.
If you counted the number of species at the zoo, you would reach a mind-shattering total of over 1500 including meerkats, snow leopards, pygmy hippos and poison arrow frogs. One of its most renowned attractions is the penguins. We will have to thank Edward Salvesen who brought the animals here from Antarctica. Of course, you can ask why there are penguins in the hills of Scotland, but they seem to like it and if they make up the largest penguin colony in Europe, who are we to argue? They are so loved and cared for that the zoo has a daily penguin parade in the early afternoon during Spring and Summer when their gates are opened and they roam free except near any of their natural predators.
The zoo has developed some interesting exhibits. Two of them deal with the penguins; the first one is an area partially submerged which you can view them through an underwater window and the second one is a bridge overlooking their main enclosure. Like many other zoos, there are other manners to interact with nature but not with the animals, such as the African Plains Experience and the Hilltop Safari Tour where you can view the migration of animals in the African plains.
As part of its conservation programme, the zoo has developed an animal sponsorship programme where you can sponsor an animal of your choice; this act will help fund the care of the animal and ensure that it is taken care of in the future. So, don't hesitate and get involved, there is a koala with your name on it!!! Others already have had theirs since 1940. Related to this conservation ethic is the society's setting up of the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, which is the home of many Scottish animals now extinct in the wild.
The Zoo is open every day of the year from 9.00am
Closing time depending on the season
April to September 6.00pm close
October and March 5.00pm close
November to February 4.30pm close