Edinburgh Zoo

Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo
Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6TS

Edinburgh Zoo is among the best visitor attractions in the city. It attracts over 650,000 visitors each year and is the most popular private visitor attraction in Scotland. It is also one of Europe’s leading centres of animal conservation and is home to Living Links, an ape research project run by St Andrews University. The arrival in December 2011 of giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang (or Sunshine and Sweetie) sent visitor numbers rocketing and after almost 12 years at Edinburgh Zoo they returned to China on 4th December 2023.

Tian Tian

Located a few miles to the west of the city centre, between Corstorphine and Murrayfield and close by the Holiday Inn, the Zoo is a registered charity owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Home to over 1,000 animals (around 127 types), the Zoo's mission is "to inspire and excite our visitors with the wonder of living animals, and so to promote the conservation of threatened species and habitats." This dedication to providing a quality educational experience for its many visitors, with the emphasis on conserving the living heritage, has seen the Zoo recently awarded the prestigious Sanford Award.

The Zoo is built on around 80 acres of parkland at Corstorphine Hill. If they wish, visitors can get a free ride to the top of the hill. There they can alight to walk back down or stay aboard for the round trip. Some of the best panoramas of the city can be obtained from here.


One of the most popular attractions in the Zoo are the penguins. Many people might be surprised to learn that a king penguin at the Zoo by the name of Nils Olav has been the mascot of and honorary colonel in chief of the Royal Norwegian Guard since 1972. On August 2008 he received a regimental knighthood, sanctioned by King Harald V of Norway and on August 2023 he was awarded the title of Major General thus making him Major General Sir Nils Olav III, Baron of the Bouvet Islands and official mascot of His Majesty the King's Guard of Norway.

Chimp in the Budongo Trail

The Budongo Trail, the largest chimpanzee enclosure in the world, opened at Edinburgh Zoo in May 2008. The £5.65m state-of-the-art building, the first part of a major £77.8m master plan at Edinburgh Zoo to create enclosures that simulate the animals’ natural environment, has three living ‘pods’ of varying humidity, light and temperature as well as the world's largest climbing frame for apes.

Budongo Exterior

Closely linked to a research programme in the Budongo Forest in Uganda, the Budongo Trail will give visitors the fully integrated story from the chimpanzees’ natural habitat and behaviour to science and conservation through fun, interactive exhibits, in addition to incredible up close views of the chimpanzees.

Edinburgh Zoo
Entrance to Zoo

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