Edinburgh Zoo is a great family day out in Edinburgh if you are ever wanting something to do. We visit at least once or twice a year depending on when the kids ask to go. Be warned, it is built on a hill and can get steep in places. Which means pushing a pram or carrying a baby/toddler can require a great amount of strength and stamina! Depending on the weather it can get pretty cold, so make sure you wrap up warm and have some proper footwear.
All About Edinburgh Zoo
Getting to Edinburgh Zoo
Getting to Edinburgh zoo is pretty easy, there are bus stops right outside the zoo and the train station (Haymarket) isn’t too far away (maybe 30 minute walk) or just catch the bus from the train station, which may be easier if you have younger children. You can also get to the zoo from Waverley train station by bus too.
Edinburgh Zoo Parking
Once you arrive you will go drive up quite a steep hill into the car park. The car park does get full on busy days. There is a charge for parking which is currently £4 for non members. On busy days when the car park does get full and you will have to find parking elsewhere. Normally this is along the main road in the red lines.
Edinburgh Zoo Prices
Edinburgh Zoo is open all year round so it is a great day out if you are looking for something to do. Although if it is very bad weather check to make sure the zoo is open as sometimes it has to close for health and safety reasons. Opening times vary depending on the time of year so check out their website.
If you are wanting to visit the Giant Pandas, then depending on the time of year you must have a timed ticket (although you can get them on the day). There is no extra cost to visit the pandas. Ticket prices currently stand at £19 for adults and £14.55 for children over 3. Children and babies 3 and under are free. It is cheaper to book tickets online for a discount.
Edinburgh Zoo Animals
The Giant Pandas are one of the biggest attractions at the zoo. However, there are a lot of animals to see at Edinburgh Zoo, and various talks at set times during the day which means you can be constantly on the move.
One of our favourites is the penguin parade that is normally at 2.15pm each day. However, the Zoo leave it up to the penguins to decide if the parade will go ahead so you may wait to see the parade but then it will get cancelled. It is good that they don’t force the penguins to do the walk especially if they don’t want too.
The tigers have recently been moved to a new section up near the lions. It is a nice big enclosure (it looks a lot bigger than the old one) so make sure you head up to that section. Just head up towards the penguins and you will find the way.
We would say the zoo is pram friendly although it can get rather hilly especially on the top section towards the Zebras…and remember if you get up to the top, you have to get back down and if it has been raining then the paths can sometimes get slippery.
There are also a couple of play areas around the park. We have been for a whole day before and not seen the whole Zoo so it is best to take your time and miss animals out so you don’t tire the kids out too much.
Food & Drinks
There is a great selection of places to eat; 2 restaurants, and a café near the penguins. There are also snack bars around the park (not open year-round though).
The Grasslands restaurant has recently been updated and is now table service. The menu is more meals and not snacks, so if you are looking for snacks head to the Penguins Café or the Jungle Food Court.
There are also picnic facilities available if you are looking to take your own food.
Tip: If you have food intolerances, ask for the allergen menu. They were very helpful in the grasslands restaurant, making sure our son’s food was bought out separately from the rest and kept away from any allergens.
Edinburgh Zoo is really good day out for all the family. It’s biggest down point is that its built on a hill. It can be rather tiring pushing the pram around, not that it puts us off visiting. If you don’t want to visit because of the hill try the Five Sisters Zoo instead. It certainly is worth the visit!
* Reviews are our own opinion. We haven’t been paid in anyway for writing this.
First published in 2016.