Plan your visit

Welcome to Edinburgh Zoo!

We are open seven days a week and everyone apart from RZSS members must book their tickets online in advance to avoid disappointment

Tickets are limited and may sell out during school holidays and weekends – please remember to book a ticket online in advance at least two hours before your visit, unless you are an RZSS member or their guest. As usual, RZSS members must accompany guests who can pay for discounted admission on the gate - please see the members section below for more information and sign up for member emails for the latest updates.  

With more of you planning to see our incredible animals and enjoy our outdoor spaces, it is really important to be aware of what to expect on the day, including our very limited car parking spaces, queues for entry and popular viewing areas, and more – please read the information in the FAQs below.

Please respect the ‘rules of the road’ at the zoo and our dedicated teams who are there to make sure everyone has a safe and fun day out. 

We really appreciate your support and patience and kindly ask that you read the information below before getting in touch (you can find contact details at the bottom of this page).  

Please note, on days we have our After Hours event on the zoo will close slightly earlier at 5:30.

Hopefully you can visit us soon – we look forward to seeing you!  

BOOK TICKETS

Frequently asked questions

  • Top tips
  • Tickets
  • During your visit
  • RZSS members
  • Animals, adoptions and experiences
  • Safety
  • Travel and weather

Your most asked questions, answered!

  • Does everyone need to book online in advance?

    ONLY RZSS members and their guests do not need to book in advance (please see the RZSS members section for more information on exceptions for members and their guests).

    EVERYONE else must book online to avoid disapointment, including those with prepaid tickets (prepaid ticket holders include reciprocal zoo members, admission vouchers, corporate tickets, Blue Peter badge holders and adopter tickets).

    Tickets are limited and may sell out during school holidays and weekends – please remember to book a ticket online in advance at least two hours before your visit, unless you are an RZSS member or their guest

    Last entry is one hour before closing — though we recommend giving yourself at least two hours to get around the park.

  • Is everything open as normal?

    For your safety, we still have a range of measures in place which include postponing feed of the day and the penguin parade.

    While most of the zoo is open to visitors, our saki monkey and lemur walkthroughs will remain closed for now as primates have an increased risk from Covid-19.

    Our monkey house is closed for development, but you can still spot our primates in their outdoor areas, with other cheeky monkey species throughout the zoo too!

    If you are visiting to see a particular animal or species, please check our animal FAQs. 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.

    Staff are on hand to manage the numbers of visitors in potentially busy areas.

    Catering is available throughout the park with lots of local business on site providing more choice for visitors and supporting the local community. Please note our cafes and kiosks are still accepting card payments only.

    Toilets and playparks are open with additional cleaning and hygiene measures in place.

    View our updated map

  • Can I use the car park?

    We are a city zoo, so parking spaces are very limited and only available on a first come, first served basis. Our car park is currently free to use, very popular and filling up early in the day (before 11am during school holidays).

    Please be aware that our car parking charges are returning from Thursday 1 September for everyone apart from RZSS members who can continue to park for free as part of their membership benefits. All car park users will need to take a ticket from the barriers on arrival and have this validated to exit the car park without paying full price (£10) at the machine. Find out more here.

    Travelling by bus is highly recommended where possible and our partners at Lothian Buses can drop you off right outside our gates with their regular services from the city centre (including Waverly and Haymarket train station) and surrounding areas.

    We also have a handy webpage with information about alternative parking at edz.org.uk/park

  • Do you have dinosaurs at the zoo?

    Yes! Our triceraTOP TIP this year is to explore our new Dinosaurs! at Edinburgh Zoo exhibition at the top of the hill - FREE with normal entry (and well worth the climb or short wait for our mobility vehicle!) 🦖

    Find out more about these incredible prehistoric giants who'll be with us for two years at edinburghzoo.org.uk/dinosaurs

  • Is there any reason why I shouldn't visit the zoo?

    Safety comes first and it is important everyone follows current government guidance to protect themselves and others. If you, or anyone in your household, are showing covid-19 symptoms, please stay at home. 

    Tickets are limited and may sell out during school holidays and weekends – please remember to book a ticket online in advance at least two hours before your visitunless you are an RZSS member or their guest. 

    Most of our indoor areas are open with some limitations due to social distancing and other restrictions (you can find more information in the ‘Is everything open as normal?’ section on this page).

    Please respect the ‘rules of the road’ at the zoo and our dedicated teams who are there to make sure everyone has a safe and fun day out. 

    Remember, the zoo is located on a hill with some steep paths and stepsPlease check our accessibility map and information before visiting.

    If you are visiting to see a particular animal or species, please check our animal FAQs and be aware that our animals can explore different areas during the day and may choose to spend some time in private or simply blend in with their natural camouflage. We recommend going back to different enclosures at different times of the day.

    Some areas may also be closed for your safety or for vet checks at short notice and we cannot guarantee you will see all the animals on your visit.

    We recommend going back to different enclosures at different times of the day for the best chance to see as many animals as possible.


    Book tickets

  • Are you still fundraising?

    Yes – you can still help care for our amazing animals and protect wildlife in Scotland and around the world! Find out more at edinburghzoo.org.uk/help

Tickets

  • Can I buy a ticket on the door?

    ONLY if you are an RZSS member or accompanied guest.

    EVERYONE ELSE must book online in advance to avoid disappointment — this includes anyone with vouchers, reciprocal zoo memberships and other prepaid tickets (please book these using the prepaid ticket option and bring your vouchers or proof of other zoo membership on the day).

    There are allocated time slots for entry at 10am, 10.30am, 11am, 11.30am, 12pm, 12.30pm, 1pm and 1.30pm — we will only admit visitors during or after their booked time slot, if they have advanced online booking confirmation.

    No matter what time slot you arrive in, everyone can stay until the zoo closes.

    Last entry is one hour before closing — though we recommend giving yourself at least two hours to get around the zoo.

  • When and how can I book my ticket?

    Apart from RZSS members and their guests, EVERYONE must book online in advance  this includes carers, children under three years old and pre-paid ticket holders.

    Prepaid tickets include postponed tickets, gift admission vouchers and corporate tickets. You can also use this option for Blue Peter badge holders (prepaid child) and if you are a member at one of our reciprocal zoos.

    Tickets are limited and may sell out during school holidays and weekends - they must be booked at least two hours before an available time slot.

    (Please see the RZSS members section for more information on exceptions for members and their guests.)


    Book tickets

     

  • I am a member, do I need to book?

    No - RZSS members and their accompanied guests no longer have to book in advance for visits to Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park.

    As usual, RZSS members must accompany guests who can pay for admission on the gate – please sign up for member emails for the latest updates. 

    If you are a member of a reciprocal zoo, you still need to book a time slot online in advance – please use the prepaid ticket options and bring along your proof of membership on the day.

    Book tickets

     

  • How do I book a Blue Peter badge or 'Kids for a Quid' ticket?

    Children with Blue Peter badges go free with a full paying adult simply select the 'prepaid child' ticket option when booking online in advance and be sure to have your badge with you on the day.

    Children with Scotrail 'kids for a quid' ticket are also free with a full paying adult simply select the 'prepaid child' ticket option when booking online in advance and be sure to have the Scotrail ticket with you and valid for the same day.

    Please note that for both Blue Peter badges and Scotrail ticket offers, that it applies to one child per paying adult who is present at the time of visiting. 

  • Do you offer military or NHS discounts?

    Though we do not offer military discounts, we do offer discounts for NHS staff through nhsstaffbenefits.co.uk for special events and off-peak visiting times.

    We do also have a corporate rate which is sometimes organised directly with individual NHS Trusts and can be accessed through the NHS staff portal - if you’re not sure how to access this or cannot find a deal with Edinburgh Zoo through your Trust, we’d recommend asking your team directly as our team aren’t able to see into the portal.

  • I have a voucher or prepaid ticket, how do I book?

    The prepaid ticket options on our website can be used to book tickets if you have admission vouchers, postponed tickets or corporate tickets. You can also use this option if you are a member at one of our reciprocal zoos.

    Please choose the relevant ticket type and be prepared to show your advanced booking confirmation alongside proof of any memberships or prepaid tickets on arrival.

    Children with Blue Peter badges go free with a full paying adult simply select the 'prepaid child' ticket option and be sure to have your badge with you on the day.

    Book tickets

     

  • I need to change my ticket dates, is this possible?

    If you need to change the date of your visit, please email info@rzss.org.uk 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.

    Please note: it may not be possible to rearrange your visit to a date that is already fully booked.

  • I got an error message when booking or didn't receive a confirmation email, what should I do?

    We are very sorry if you've had trouble booking tickets online – occasionally our charity’s website gets a little overwhelmed and needs some support. Please rest assured that we are on the case!

    In the meantime, if you see an error message instead of a confirmation page, or do not receive a confirmation email, please check if the payment has come out of your bank account before trying again – if needed, we will accept this as proof of payment for entry into the park and you do not need to email us to arrange this.

    Refunds for accidental multiple payments can be requested by emailing your request with your full name and the last four digits of the payment card number to info@rzss.org.uk. These will be paid as soon as possible.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

During your visit

  • Do I need to wear a mask?

    In line with government guidance, face coverings are encouraged in all indoor areas.

    Masks are not provided so please do bring one along with you.

  • Is everything open as normal?

    For your safety, we have introduced a range of measures which include postponing feed of the day and the penguin parade.

    While most of the zoo is now open to visitors, our saki monkey and lemur walkthroughs will remain closed due to the high-risk of Covid-19 to primates.

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

    If you are visiting to see a particular animal or species, please check our animal FAQs.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.

    Staff are on hand to manage the numbers of visitors in potentially busy areas.

    Catering is available throughout the park. Grasslands Restaurant and Penguins Café are open for limited indoor and takeaway service.

    Please note our cafes and kiosks are still accepting card payments only.

    Toilets and playparks are open with additional cleaning and hygiene measures in place.

    View our updated map

  • Do I need to book to see the giant pandas or giraffes?

    No - the only booking slot you need is for entry into the zoo. 

    Once you're in, there is a free flow system in place and staff are on hand in busy areas where we have to limit numbers.

    You may have a short wait for your turn in the best viewing spot, but do not have to book a specific time for panda or giraffe viewing.

    Read the latest update about our giant pandas

    Our giraffe habitat opened to visitors in summer 2021. You do not need a separate booking for the giraffes, though you may have a short wait for your turn in the best viewing spot.

    Find out more about our giraffes

  • Can I bring a picnic or will the cafes be open?

    Yes! As always, you are welcome to bring a picnic with your own food and non-alcoholic drink.

    Catering is available throughout the park with lots of local business on site providing more choice for visitors and supporting the local community. Please note our cafes and kiosks are still accepting card payments only.

    There are picnic tables available which are regularly cleaned and placed with plenty of space in between. We simply ask that you remember to take your rubbish away with you with consideration for our other visitors and the safety of our animals (our penguins will try and eat just about anything that blows into their pool!)

    Penguin Cafe Menu

     

  • Will the mobility vehicle and other accessibility services be running?

    Our new electric mobility vehicle is up and running with zero emissions - please ask our admission team on arrival for more information.

    Wheelchairs are also available for hire on a first come first served basis. They must only be used by one visitor a day and will be thoroughly cleaned each evening and morning before hire.

    Steep slopes and steps are signposted with alternative routes and there is an updated mobility map available for visitors.

  • Will the gift shop be open?

    Yes! In line with Scottish Government guidance, our gift shop is open. A face mask must be worn when visiting the shop and you may have to queue at busy times and numbers are limited indoors for your safety.

  • Where can I see Dinosaurs! at Edinburgh Zoo?

    Our triceraTOP TIP this year is to explore our new Dinosaurs! at Edinburgh Zoo exhibition at the top of the hill - FREE with normal entry (and well worth the climb or short wait for our mobility vehicle!) 🦖

    Find out more about these incredible prehistoric giants who'll be with us for two years at edinburghzoo.org.uk/dinosaurs

RZSS members

  • Do members have to book in advance?

    RZSS members and their accompanied guests no longer have to book in advance for visits to Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park.

    As usual, RZSS members must accompany guests who can pay for admission on the gate – please sign up for member emails for the latest updates. 

    If you are a member of a reciprocal zoo, you still need to book a time slot online in advance – please use the prepaid ticket options and bring along your proof of membership on the day.

  • Can we use the members gate?

    Our members gate is normally open from 10am between 1 April – 30 September, and during Edinburgh school holidays and weekends, with the gate closing one hour before the zoo closing time. 

    We have signs on the entry to the car park to let everyone know of any changes. Please check by the car park barriers before going up the hill.

    When the gate is closed, please enter through our main admissions building – RZSS members and their guests do not need to book in advance.

  • Can we bring guests?

    Yes – you can bring guests and buy their tickets for a discounted rate on the door as you arrive. 

    Members must be present when guests enter the park. 

    If you or anyone in your household are showing Covid-19 symptoms, please stay at home.

  • Can I come if I am a new RZSS member?

    Yes. Any RZSS member with confirmation of membership is welcome – you need to show this and a valid form of photo ID on arrival.

     

  • Can I become a member?

    Yes! You can join us as a member online now. You will receive a confirmation email straight away which you can then use as proof of membership when visiting.

    While we have social distancing measures in place, we encourage you to purchase your membership before you visit rather than on site.

  • How do I check the status of my membership or renew?

    To check the status of your membership, or to restart/renew your membership, please contact membership@rzss.org.uk.

    We are receiving LOTS of messages and will get back to you as soon as we can. Thank you for your patience.

  • I don't have a membership card, what do I do?

    If you haven’t received a card yet, please don’t worry – your confirmation email or letter together with a valid form of photo ID is all the proof we need.

    If you would like another confirmation sent to you, please contact membership@rzss.org.uk.

    For the moment, we will not be issuing new membership cards at reception in order to minimise contact on your visit. We are also working on testing new cards on our membership system and hope to begin issuing these soon!

  • When will my new membership start?

    If you sign up for membership online, then your membership will start the day you sign up unless it is a gift and you have specified another date.

    If you would like to sign up and pay by direct debit, please contact the membership team on membership@rzss.org.uk and you can specify when you would like your membership to start.

Animals, adoptions and experiences

  • Are the animals okay?

    Yes. Throughout this time, our keepers and vets have been continuing to give our animals the best of care and working hard to keep their routines as normal as possible.

    Many of our keepers are wearing masks and taking even more precautions to protect the animals and themselves.

    All of the amazing animals in our care are ambassadors for their relatives in the wild and play a critical role in raising awareness of the threats facing their species and others.

    As our planet’s rich biodiversity declines at an alarming rate, zoos and wildlife conservation charities like the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland are more relevant than ever before. We are in a unique position to provide a safe haven for threatened species, protect animals in the wild, foster deep and lasting connections with nature and inspire the conservationists of the future.

    Find out how you can help at edinburghzoo.org.uk/help

     

  • Do I need to book to see the giant pandas or giraffes?

    No - the only booking slot you need is for entry into the zoo. 

    Once you're in, there is a free flow system in place and staff are on hand in busy areas where we have to limit numbers.

    You may have to wait for your turn in the best viewing spot, but do not have to book a specific time for panda viewing.

    Read the latest update about our giant pandas

    Our new giraffe habitat is now open to visitors. You will not need a separate booking for the giraffes, though you may have to wait for your turn in the best viewing spot.

    Find out more about our new giraffes

  • How long are the giant pandas staying?

    Yang Guang and Tian Tian will return to China at the end of 2023 following an agreement to extend their stay by two years.

    Over the last decade, they have helped millions of people connect with nature, so it is fantastic that they will be with us a little longer before we say goodbye, especially as the pandemic has made it much harder for people to visit them.

    Plans will be made to convert our giant panda habitat at the zoo for a new species to arrive. We will decide on the species over the next year, with a crucial factor being how we can support conservation in the wild. 

    Read our giant panda FAQs for more information

  • I’m an adopter and I get free tickets as part of my adoption, what do I do?

    If you have not yet received your adoption pack in the post, please email membership@rzss.org.uk with your details. They can send e-tickets across to your inbox for you to use and will get your exciting adoption pack to you as soon as possible.

    Please also email membership@rzss.org.uk with your details if your tickets expired while we were closed. We can arrange for new tickets to be sent to you.

    If you are a silver, gold or platinum adopter, we would also recommend sending an email when you have booked your visit, so that we can ensure your name is up on the adoption sign.

  • Where can I see Dinosaurs! at Edinburgh Zoo?

    Our triceraTOP TIP this year is to explore our new Dinosaurs! at Edinburgh Zoo exhibition at the top of the hill - FREE with normal entry (and well worth the climb or short wait for our mobility vehicle!) 🦖

    Find out more about these incredible prehistoric giants who'll be with us for two years at edinburghzoo.org.uk/dinosaurs

Safety Measures

  • What safety measures will be in place?

    We are doing everything we can to make the zoo safe for everyone which means your visit will be different to normal.

    Safety comes first and it is important everyone follows government guidance to protect themselves and others. If you or anyone in your household is showing covid-19 symptoms, please stay at home.

    Edinburgh Zoo has large outdoor spaces and we have all of the required measures in place for our staff and visitors, including:

    • Limiting visitor numbers with advanced online booking required
    • Frequent cleaning in high contact areas and additional hygiene precautions
    • Adding and signposting handwashing and hand sanitiser stations around the park
    • Postponing all feeds of the day and penguin parade to avoid crowds
    • Opening our cafes for limited services with card payment
    • In line with government guidance, face coverings are encouraged in all indoor areas.

    Toilets and playparks are open with additional cleaning and hygiene measures in place.

    Please read the other FAQs before getting in touch with any further questions. 

  • Will toilets and playparks be open?

    Yes. Toilets are available throughout the park and are designated for one household (troop) at a time to allow for social distancing.

    Playparks will are open with additional cleaning and hygiene measures in place.

  • Do I need to wear a mask?

    In line with Scottish Government guidance, face coverings are required in all indoor areas for visitors, including our admissions building.

    Exceptions can be made for children under 12 years old, people with breathing difficulties and those with disabilities where the use of masks would be distressing or make communication difficult.

    Masks are not provided so please do bring one along with you. A small selection of face coverings along with ‘go-safe packs’ are available to purchase at the entrance.

Travel and weather

  • Can I use public transport to get to the zoo?

    Safety comes first and it is important everyone follows current government guidance to protect themselves and others. 

    If you or anyone in your household are showing covid-19 symptoms, please stay at home.

    Remember you can arrive in style on one of the regular zoo themed Lothian Buses. Service numbers 12, 26 and 31 will drop you right at our doorstep and back into city centre!
  • Can I use the car park?

    Yes! Although we are a city zoo, so parking spaces are limited and only available on a first come, first served basis. Our car park is currently free to use and has been very popular, which means it can fill up early in the day, especially in busier periods such as school holidays.

    Travelling by bus is recommended 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.

     

  • Do I have to pay for parking?

    No. Everyone can park free of charge in the zoo car park until further notice.

    Please remember we have limited car parking spaces available but you can arrive in style on one of the regular zoo themed Lothian Buses. Service numbers 12, 26 and 31 will drop you right at our doorstep and back into city centre!
  • Will severe weather affect our visit?

    Sometimes! We always do everything we can to stay open and welcome you to the zoo, but extreme weather can take this decision out of our hands (and paws...) and mean closing parts of the park, including the very top of the hill, to visitors for everyone's safety.

    Please do check the weather forecast and our website before travelling.

Have another question?

Please bear with us (pun always intended) - we are receiving LOTS of messages and emails and will try to get back to everyone as quickly as we can.

Like many other charities, we are working with a smaller team at the moment and will not be able to answer phone calls at this time.

We really appreciate your support and patience and kindly ask that you read all of the information available before getting in touch.

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