Last one! Once I got back to Glasgow, my sister came to visit so I’m counting this as holiday. The best thing about having people to visit is they say things like ‘can we go see the Giant Pandas?’ and you say ‘sure!’ I’ve been thinking I should go back to Edinburgh Zoo for a while (pretty much every time I have to put together one of their mailouts for 5pm) so it was good to have an excuse.
The Giant Pandas only arrived last year so they’re still a major attraction. You need to pre-book a (free) ticket to see them at appointed times and it’s advised you do that on the website in case it’s busy though you can also get them at the ticket desk. We got ours for 3:30pm so we did everything else first.
First thing was to get the safari bus to the top of the hill where you get lovely views of Edinburgh and then walk back past the big cats. We spent ages hunting up the koalas and then they were both hiding anyway. Having been to the zoo plenty times we took advantage of the Penguin Parade to get our lunch in the restaurant so it would be quiet. The food was surprisingly good too – we shared a decent pizza for £5 and they had proper coffee and cakes too.
After that, we watched the penguins for a while and then it was panda time! I thought it was really well organised. They take everyone through in batches of 50 and you visit each panda in turn, with plenty time to watch them. Even as a small person, I had no trouble at all getting a good view and some great photos. Tian Tian was pretty sleepy but Yang Guang was much more active, jumping off his platform and coming right past the window.
Overall, I’d say the zoo is worth visiting for the pandas and the penguins, and if you like monkeys you’ll even happier as there are tons of them. There’s not a lot of big or exciting animals though, and though they’re clearly trying hard to give the animals some space, they do mostly look pretty bored.
My main complaint though is that only the main animals are shown on the map. I was keen to visit some of the animals from the No Adopters list but there was no way to find them. Where are you Swamp Wallaby, Pancake Tortoise and Laughing Kookaburra? No wonder they’re unpopular if no-one gets to see them!