Edinburgh Zoo is home to the UK’s only giant pandas, a male called Yang Guang (which means Sunshine) and a female named Tian Tian (meaning Sweetie). The keepers keep a close eye on these two precious pandas, they are weighed and monitored daily from their own enclosures which feature large wooden climbing frames, tree houses, caves and ponds. They even have a hammock to relax in! Due to their rarity in the UK it is advisable to book in advance to see the pandas.
The zoo also has the largest outdoor penguin pool in Europe at 65 metres long and 3.5 metres deep, it contains 1.2 million litres of water. The lowered perimeters allow you to feel closer to the birds so you can marvel at these wonderful animals close up. If they feel like it, the penguins participate in a penguin parade which involves leaving their enclosure and stroll around the park with their keeper. This has been a tradition in Edinburgh Zoo for many years, yet don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen on your visit – it’s the penguin’s decision as to whether they wish to leave the enclosure and some days they just don’t feel like it.
The Budongo Trail allows visitors to view chimpanzees from within an interactive enclosure. Learn about the links between human beings and their closest relatives as you see them close up. The huge outdoor/indoor space houses up to forty chimps – they have outdoor climbing and vegetation which allows them to showcase all of the natural, mental and physical behaviours which you would expect them to portray in the wild.
There are many more animals to visit from lions and tigers to meerkats, koalas and reptiles, don’t forget to check the schedule as educational live talks are held from the enclosures at different times throughout the day. If your favourite animal is there – make sure you don’t miss it.
Booking in advance is preferable if you are thinking of visiting Edinburgh Zoo.