The only zoo in the UK with resident koalas, Edinburgh’s second biggest tourist attraction is also home to a pair of mating pandas
Ranked as Scotland’s second most popular tourist attraction after Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo’s visitor numbers have been boosted by the recent loan of a breeding pair of giant pandas to Scotland by the Chinese government, an attraction that has brought the zoo a new level of national recognition. The pandas are popular in their own right, while a number of possible pregnancies have kept them in the headlines.
Opened in 1913 and owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the zoo also houses rhinos, lions, zebras and many other animals. It’s currently the only zoo in the UK to keep koalas and was the first ever zoo to keep and breed penguins, with their enclosure being one of the hits of the tour. The Budongo Trail is also a recent and popular addition, a special building used to house the zoo’s chimpanzees.
Built onto the side of Corstorphine Hill, the higher points of the zoo offer great views out across the Pentland Hills to the south of the city. There are two main dining areas on site – the Jungle Food Court is a fast food area aimed at groups with children, while Grasslands Restaurant is a more formal choice, selling stone-baked pizza, baguettes, pastas and salads.