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Edinburgh Family Holidays: A Trip to the Zoo

Edinburgh has plenty to offer people of all ages— and we love it when families with kids come to stay in our apartments. In honour of our latest Edinburgh family holiday deal, where we offer visiting families four complimentary tickets to Edinburgh Zoo, here are some local tips on what to do and see at one of the city’s best-loved attractions.

Visit with the animals



Koalas – Edinburgh Zoo is currently the only animal park in the UK to house koalas – two males named Goonaroo and Yabbra. This February, the Zoo will welcome a female named Alinga to the koala exhibit. If you’re a fan of these cuddly marsupials, plan to visit the Zoo’s Koala Territory at 2:45pm for the zookeeper’s daily educational talk and koala Q&A session.

Giant Pandas – In December 2011, two Giant Pandas – Tian Tian and Yang Guang – took up residence in Edinburgh Zoo. They’ve been a big hit ever since! The female, Tian Tian, has been in the news a lot recently, as zookeepers hope she’ll eventually give birth to a baby panda. No such luck yet – but if ever the wee panda does arrive, it will be well worth the wait.

The Giant Pandas are so popular that you must pre-book a time slot to view them. Viewing them is free, but ticketed; so you’ll want to make sure to book a ‘Panda Viewing Slot’ on the Zoo’s online order form.

Penguins – You’ll find not one, not two, but three species of penguin at the Edinburgh Zoo: Rockhoppers, Gentoos and Kings. Most famous of them all is Sir Nils Olav, a King Penguin and Colonel-in-Chief of the Norwegian Guard. Did I mention he’s been knighted by the King of Norway, King Harald V? Yes, that too.

The best time to visit the penguins is when they’re ‘on parade’ – and lucky for you, this happens every day (weather dependent). Head to the new Penguins Rock exhibit, near the Education Centre, at 2:15pm to watch these tuxedoed cuties waddle by.


Take in the view

Walk to the top – Situated on Edinburgh’s Costorphine Hill, the Zoo doesn’t only offer brilliant views of exotic animals, but of the city itself as well. Walk to the upper part of the Zoo for panoramic views across Western Edinburgh and the surrounding Pentland Hills. 

Or go on Hilltop Safari – If you’d rather save your tired legs the trouble, catch a free ride to the top of the hill on the Zoo’s Hilltop Safari. The Landrover-powered ‘Zebra trailer’ leaves every 30 minutes from the Duck Pond, and the driver provides running commentary the entire way.

Don’t forget to bring your…

Camera –  When you’re hanging out at Edinburgh Zoo, expect the unexpected and have your camera at the ready. You never know when an animal is going to feel extra photogenic and put on a show for the audience.

Comfy shoes – Just like the rest of Edinburgh, the Zoo is quite hilly. You’ll have a much better time if you opt for flats over heels.

Picnic basket  – Edinburgh Zoo has a food court, a restaurant and several food kiosks dotted around the park. However, you’re also free to pack a picnic from home and enjoy it in one of the Zoo’s two picnic areas. Bring a blanket and enjoy lunch at the top of the hill, near the children’s play area, or relax on the grass in front of the Mansion House.

Getting there

By bus – Travelling by bus to the Zoo from our city centre apartments is simple. Catch the #26 from Princes Street and that will take you straight there. The ride takes approximately 15 minutes.

By car – If you’re driving to the Zoo, head west from the city centre on Morrison Road (A8) and continue onto Corstorphine Rd. It costs £4.00 to park at the Zoo, or you may be able to find free parking in the neighbourhoods nearby. 

Contact Details
Edinburgh Zoo
134 Corstorphine Road
Edinburgh, EH12 6TS
0131 334 9171
Opening Times
April to September: 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
October and March: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm
November to February: 9.00 am – 4.30 pm






There’s good reason why the Zoo is one of the most popular attractions in Edinburgh. For animal-loving families, it really is a magical place.

> Find out more about our special offer*

> Call us on 0131 225 2728 or fill in our enquiry form to book your stay and get your complimentary Edinburgh Zoo tickets

*Valid through 31/1/14

Written by Margaret Kay

Originally hailing from Seattle, Margaret has called Edinburgh home for just over four years. A freelance writer, she spends her time hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop – enjoying every angle of this stunning city along the way.

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