The holidays have started and it is fantastic to see so many families and friends wanting to spend their summer connecting with nature and supporting wildlife conservation around the world. We are so grateful for your support!

With even more of you coming to see our incredible animals and enjoy our outdoor spaces while restrictions are still in place in Scotland, it is really important to be aware of what might be different on the day.

Limited car parking

We are a city zoo, so parking spaces are limited and only available on a first come, first served basis. Our car park has been very popular and can fill up early in the day.

We do recommend travelling by bus where possible and our partners, Lothian Buses, can drop you off right outside our gates with their regular services from the city centre and surrounding areas.

Queuing for entry and our most popular animals

To keep you safe, we have limits on our visitor numbers and also limited numbers of people allowed in indoor areas at the same time. Even with less than half of the normal visitor numbers we’d have had on busy summer days in previous years, this means you will have to queue for entry into the zoo and into popular animal viewing areas like our new giraffes, giant pandas, koalas, hippos and the Budongo Trail.

It is usually quieter later in the day (members can arrive from 2pm without booking and last entry is at 5pm) and also during the week outside of the school holidays. 

We will also open the member gate whenever staffing allows during peak times – this is currently limited and it is not possible to advertise times in advance.

Some parts of the zoo remain closed

While most of the zoo is now open to visitors, our Wee Beasties building must remain closed until social distancing restrictions are relaxed and our primate walkthroughs are closed because our lemurs and saki monkeys have an increased risk from Covid-19.

Other areas may also be closed temporarily while we carry out some exciting new changes – Brilliant Birds will soon be home to a fantastic new mystery species (all will be revealed soon…) and most of our lorikeets have moved out to make way for a new meerkat experience area later this year.

While the Monkey House is also closed for development, you can spot our primates in their outdoor areas, with other cheeky monkey species throughout the zoo too! 

Sometimes we have to close viewing for an animal at short notice for their wellbeing and check ups by our expert vets and keepers. And although we will always do our best to help visitors see as many of our animals as possible, they may well decide to go for a nap or some quiet time in a hidden area (just like some humans we know!) Our top tip is to go back to different animals at different times of the day to give yourself the best chance of spotting them all out and about.

Booking in advance

With our visitor numbers limited for everyone’s safety, we are selling out of tickets almost a week in advance at the moment. Please remember to plan ahead and book in advance to avoid disappointment – you could also join as a member to enjoy free visits all year round and the option to arrive from 2pm without booking ahead. From Wednesday 18 August, members will no longer be required to book in advance for visits to Edinburgh Zoo. They will also be able to attend with guests and pay for their tickets on the gate. Members must accompany guests as usual – please see the members section of our FAQs for more information and sign up for member emails for the latest updates. 

No matter what time your time slot is, you can stay until the zoo closes – and please don’t worry if you are running a little late. We completely understand things don’t always go to plan and you will be allowed entry after your original time slot if needed.

If you need to change the date of your visit, please email with your booking details with as much notice as possible. Our small team work very hard to get back to everyone as quickly as they can but this could take up to 72 hours at the moment.

We will of course rearrange your visit to a day with availability if you need to self-isolate or have another emergency and really appreciate your patience - do not worry if you do not receive a reply before your original booked date. If we need to close the zoo or cancel an event for any reason, including extreme weather or a change in government restrictions, we will contact all pre-booked ticket holders by email and offer refunds or gift vouchers.

Have another question?

Our frequently asked questions are kept up to date at and we’re asking everyone to check this information carefully before booking their tickets or getting in touch for more information.

Thanks again to everyone who has and continues to support our charity – if the animals we care for could say ‘thank you’, they would!

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