“ Phoenix Park, Dublin. „
I have spent the last two summers visiting Dublin, and on both occasions I have made time to visit Dublin zoo. Situated in the vast Phoenix Park in the North West of Dublin, this attraction is a must for any visitors to the city.
There are many ways to get to The zoo, There are buses going by, or it is a 20min or so walk from Heuston Station, which has a regular Luas (tram) pass by.
On my first visit to Dublin Zoo, me and my partner drove to the Zoo, and here we did encounter an issue...there is no obvious parking. We parked on a road beside the Zoo, along with many others, and as far as I am aware, this is perfectly acceptable, but it would have been nice to find a decent car park.
The zoo is fairly expensive, especially if you are taking a whole famly: an adult costs Euro15.50, and age 3-16 cost Euro11.00. Senior Citizens are Euro12.50, and under 3's are free.
We went on a warm July morning, and the line was faily long, but it moved quickly. The first areas you find are the World of Cats, and the World of primates. Obviously at this time of the year it can be very busy, but with a bit of patience you can view some wonderfull animals, and watching the young Orangutans play about is a delight. Walking further along you pass some sub-arctic animals like snow leopards and wolves. My personal favorites were the giraffes and rhinos in the Savanna area.
Its worth getting one of the free maps avalible, as the paths twist and turn a fair bit, so it helps to check you are not heading back to an area you have already been, or have missed some of the small enclosures. At one point we walked past the Tapir without realising...
During the peak periods, there are daily feedings that you can watch, and some animals have shows, like the sealions, which happen at certain times of the day (2.15pm for the sealions). I never got to watch any due to time restrictions.
Many of the animals have large areas to run about in, although you cant help but think some could do with some more space. That said, all the animals we saw seemed happy & healthy. When we last visited, they were in the middle of building a new larger primate area. I am unsure how long that work has yet to go, but, regardless, it didnt really impact the trip much anyway. Its also nice to know the gorillas etc are getting a larger area, since currently (at time of visit), for their size, they have some of the smaller enclosures.
Food is pretty basic & expensive, and includes the usual tourist fare of burgers, hotdogs and chips etc. You might want to take some food along with you if you fancy something healthy, or have a lagre group or family.
There are also some play areas for kids, allowing weary adults a chance to have a sit down and rest.
All in all, I really enjoyed my visits to the zoo, its great for kids, and there is plenty to see and do. As I said earlier, it can be pretty busy, so its worth wandering about a bit is an area is busy, then come back later.
This review is of Dublin Zoo, situated in Phoenix Park in Dublin, a walkable distance from the city centre.
Dublin Zoo presented me with a range of emotions. My visit, in March 2011, was on a sunny morning, just after the zoo opened. The atmosphere of a zoo can be much more alluring when there are few other visitors, the sound of the animals becomes more important, and as much as a zoo can manage to achieve, it feels like you are just a little closer to the animals.
One of the first enclosures that I saw was the lion enclosure, which was quite small, and I struggled to see more than one lion. As it transpired, there was just one, a 22 year old lioness called Sheila, with the zoo waiting for her to pass away before they bring a new pride of lions in to replace her. It's a strange feeling standing looking alone through glass at an animal which looks so dejected.
This was a feeling that I had later on when looking at the tigers in their enclosure, with one tiger just pacing around the outside perimeter of the cage, time after time, entirely unaware and lacking interest in the human eyes which followed her.
These fortunately though were the only real sad moments, a throw back to the times when Dublin Zoo was much smaller, and animals were put in cages to be looked at by interested visitors. I personally like zoos, I understand the disadvantages, but they nonetheless fascinate children, and bring them closer to understanding wild animals, how they live, and what we can do to help them.
And in recent years, Dublin Zoo has been able to increase the space that it has, and has started to build larger displays so that the animals have more space to move about in. Work was going on during my visit on building a new gorilla enclosure, to replace the rather cramped conditions that they have now. With so much more space, my thoughts went from looking at dejected animals, to being able to watch the animals in a much more natural environment.
One of the zoo's largest new areas is the savannah, where rhinos, giraffes, zebras and ostrich can be seen. This area opened in 2009, and there is a large amount of space for the animals, which can be seen in various places at different times by following the path which winds around the area. When I was there, this path was cut off due to work on the gorilla enclosure, but from next year, you can walk around the entire path in one long loop.
Another area which has been newly constructed is the elephant enclosure, where you walk along a path, spotting the elephants at various points along it. It certainly makes it more interesting for children, who have to play a hide and seek game looking for the elephants, although the children rarely struggle to eventually find a good viewing spot to see the elephants, they are a little too large to hide for long.
I won't go through every area in the zoo, but will say it covers a large range of different animals. Areas such as the reptile house are quite small by comparison with other zoos I've seen, but they still cover snakes, crocodiles, tortoises and spiders, and the bird cages have an interesting selection of different species. I did wonder about how easy it still seems to steal a penguin by reaching over into their enclosure, which wouldn't be the first time, as this really happened a few years ago when the zoo had to recover their penguin from O'Connell Street in Dublin's city centre.
There are generally good facilities, toilets were basic but clean, the zoo's cafe was pleasant and tidy, and the paths and bins throughout the site were well maintained. The signage in the zoo is a little weak, especially as there is no free map, this is a chargeable extra, and sometimes it's not entirely clear where various animals are housed. The zoo isn't so large however that you can't discover everything by just wandering, so this isn't too much of a difficulty.
Entry price is 15 Euros for adults, 10.50 Euros for children, although family tickets are available. These aren't cheap entry prices, especially as the zoo has placed many refreshment stands temptingly around the site in a plan to take more money from children, or more precisely, their parents. But, with some planning, watching the shows which are held every couple of hours, eating a picnic lunch maybe, you could easily entertain the kids for four or five hours here, if your children are interested in animals and don't mind some walking.
What I didn't experience was a great deal of enthusiasm from the keepers, one feeding the orangutans didn't look very engaged, there were often two or three keepers walking around talking to themselves, and I have seen at other zoos much more participation from the keepers, and approaching visitors and children to tell them more. But, I was there on a quiet visitor day, and no doubt keepers are busy. And to their credit, I caught a few episodes of "The Zoo", a TV series about Dublin Zoo filmed by RTE, and the keepers came across as very caring and engaged on that.
The engagement I saw from the zoo keepers on the show, and the way the zoo was run generally did impress me. Of course they would no doubt like more space, more enclosures, but it's great to see so much work going on, and so many improvements being made. Another complaint I would make is that they made very little of their conservation work, the zoo's web-site and the TV series contained a lot of details of how much they were doing in conservation, which wasn't signed at the zoo. It would have been interesting if it had of been, maybe giving a better all round perspective to the zoo's work.
But overall, I did enjoy my visit, it's an easy zoo to find, accessible by foot or bus from the city centre, and I remember my minutes watching the Sheila the lioness with fondness! Lots more details about the zoo can be found at http://www.dublinzoo.ie/.
I've supped a pint at the peak of the Guinness Topper, crawled around the crypts of Christchurch, imbued the best of Jamesons and got jailed at Kilmainhan, so it was time for an open-air pursuit.
Dublin Zoo is set in the beautiful Phoenix Park, a mere couple of miles from the centre of Dublin, but a lovely oasis of calm.
Parking was interesting, there are long roads running down each side of the Zoo where cars can park free, but we did notice cars had started to park on the double yellow lines! We managed to pull of the main road directly across from the entrance, There were a fair few cars parked in this gravelleved area but we manages to squeeze into a spot, only to see a sign saying 'No Parking', but having witnesses the general lawlessness of Dublin drivers we decided to ignore the signs as well.
Entrance cost us a not inconsiderable sum of 15 Euros, which we were rather chagrined to see that it didn't include a map which was a further 2 Euros.
Perhaps I should say a quick word about the prices here. The current exchange rate when we went was about £1.10 to 1 euro, so entrance in Sterling would have been about £13.50 which seems extremely expensive, but 15 Euros is reasonable for Dublin. Approximately 5 years ago when I first went the exchange rate would have made the cost around £8. So be warned when you visit, its going to seem extremely expensive!
When you first walk into the zoo its lovely, a large lake surrounded by trees and plants dominates the view, with not an animal in sight.
Having forgone the map we were pleased to see an extremely large map on a big stand which showed all the different areas of the zoo, cafes, toilets, etc.
My advice? Ignore it. The zoo is obviously undergoing some refurbishment with animals being moved to new areas and its most disconcerting to turn around a corner heading towards the tiger and, well, grey, big ears, a trunk, funniest tiger I ever saw, looks just like an elephant!
The first animals we saw, by following the seemingly innate human way of going left was a pair of African Hunting Dogs, and boy, did they look bored. They just trotted round in the same pattern and had been doing so for quite a while as you could see where the grass had been trampled down. I did feel sorry for the poor things.
Next up was tigers, two beautiful animals obviously waiting for their dinner, slightly impatiently next to the keepers gate!
What was nice was that they did not have bars surrounding the pen, instead a fence with full glass panels ensuring the animals a bit more privacy, but an absolute delight for the children when it comes close up.
There was one thing I would have liked to have see, and that was some more information about the animals. There was a sign saying what they were, where they came from and a small bit of trivia but I wanted more.
Its not enough to say they are endangered, I want to know why they are in this zoo, is it part of a breeding programme or had they been rescued. I have seen in another zoo an explanation that the tigers were there after being rescued from a circus in China. That's the kind of thing I want to see, and I'd like to see it for every animals.
We also came across grey wolves in a nice big enclosure, different monkey islands with plenty of trees and ropes, except for the orang utans who had little more than one large bare tree.
The gorilla enclosure was too small, but they are going to have a nice new massive island in the middle of the lake with more space and privacy.
I was pleasantly surprised by the 'The Plains of Africa', giraffes, Oryx, rhinos, zebras and ostriches shared the biggest space I have seen outside of a safari park.
Beware if you fancy taking a penguin home, and it would be very easy to reach over the fence and grab one. Of course you don't need to take it home you could let it out on O'Connell Street, but there's now CCTV's to stop a repeat of the above incident which happened a couple of months ago!
There are quite a few more animals including elephants, rhinos, hippos and lions. Though I'm not entirely sure a forest setting with trees and shrubs, etc can ever be described as being anything like a natural habitat for lion , more reptiles, primates, etc. And for some reason another more improved enclosure of African Hunting Dogs.
Those dogs obviously made an impression on me and they are evil looking things because I had a nightmare about them! I'd just finished a dance routine in a shopping centre (which is just so unlikely!) when a madman released a pack of them, but we managed to defeat them. However security spy services came to take us away because of it and somehow I ended up naked! Now that just goes to show how scary they are!
I though the Farmyard area was quite good for the little ones, they got to see the sheep, pigs, cows and goats close up and learn about how we use them.
Other facilities were good as well, the toilets were perfectly clean and tidy and scattered throughout the zoo, it was also nice to see gents baby changing facilities as well. There was also ample picnic and play areas as well. There no green areas to stretch out a picnic blanket and relax though. One picnic area is conveniently placed next to a small outlet which sells ice cream, coffees, drinks, etc. Theres a take-away place which does the usual zoo themed burger means, not bad at approximately 5 Euros. Although there only limited seating outside there isn't any of those huffy signs that tell you not to sit there is you have bought your own food. There were child seats available and a young lady constantly cleaning up.
There also quite a large gift shop near the exit, but hurrah! You don't have to go through it to get out, you can avoid it completely! Its not bad to be honest, kids will be able to find themselves something for 1 Euro and 50 cents, a nice runner, or pencil up to 50 Euros for handcrafted goods from Africa, and all the books, soft toys, pictures, etc in between.
The most misbehaved animals at the zoo were predictably the humans. And I can't decide which ones are worse, the little humans for behaving the way they do, or the big ones for not teaching them better or joining in.
At every zoo I have been to there has been 2 signs that constantly appear, I'll repeat them here;
'DO NOT BANG ON THE GLASS'
'DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS'
Are they that difficult to understand? The first one means do not take your hand and bang it on the clear pane in front of you.
Constantly this happened, we saw only one adult making her children read the sign again and telling them off. At one point we saw an adult banging on the glass next to his kids.
The second is also quite simple, although we didn't see it, it was obvious from the wrappers and bits of food in the lake and some of the pens around that people have tried this.
Dublin Zoo actually had a hippo die after some idiot threw a tennis ball into their pen, the female hippo ate it, it then completely blocked her lower intestines and they couldn't save her!
If you intend going to the zoo please take notice of the signs!
Dublin Zoo is clean and tidy with no litter around but this was due to the staff that constantly go around picking up the litter. Is it really that difficult to carry the remains of your lunch 2ft to one of the many bins around, obviously so. People, please don't let your kids get away with it, there are peacocks loose in the zoo who could eat something that could harm them. Oh and stop being so disgusting yourself!
Dublin Zoo is a nice place; we easily spent 6 hours there so it is worth the money. And they are obviously trying to make the enclosures and areas more appropriate for the animals, but I do want to see more information on why the animals had to be there.
The best place for animals is in its natural habitat, well for some, for others it's a dangerous place, but that's our fault. 2nd best is obviously a safari park but they can't monitor breeding programmes, and zoos, not perfect but an evil necessity.
At least Dublin Zoo is trying, and it is a good day out for the kids, hopefully when we visit again the animals will all be in their new enclosures and we can get a map which shows it properly!
Dublin zoo is a haven of peace and quiet within the bustling city of Dublin. Situated in the middle of Phoenix Park, it is easily accessable by bus, car or on foot. The bus stops right outside Phoenix Park and the zoo is only a couple of hundred metres past the entrance.
Having been to many zoos and wildlife parks in my time, I must say Dublin Zoo for me was by far the best. It has an impressive array of animals and wildlife, all of which are very easy to spot within their enclosures. One of my favourite animals is the Red Panda. They had 2 of them, in an enclosure which did not have high trees in it, therefore you could see the animals very well. It is a large zoo, well spaced out, therefore if you have mobility problems it may not be ideal. The African Plains area where the lions/tigers/rhinos are was so large an area that I couldn't walk round it so had to bypass that part. All in all though we found it an excellent day out, and they do have a lot of benches dotted about to sit on should you need a rest.
Some hotels have vouchers for money off if you check their leaflets. The hotel we stayed at had £2 off an adult entry.
I would definately go back to Dublin Zoo next time I am in Dublin and would recommend it.
Dublin Zoo is located in the pleasant surroundings of Phoenix Park, a few miles to the west of the city centre. It can be reached via bus or possibly via Hueston station with a bit of a walk. Bus is definitely the best option if you're not already nearby. Just ask your hotel or tourist information exactly which one to get, and ask the driver to tell you when you should get off if you're not sure - they're usually ok with this.
The Zoo itself is a further little walk in from the entrance to the wider park. The entry fee is really rather expensive indeed at 15 euros for adults and 10 euros for children. There are special family deals that can be had, but there are a number of these - so check their website.
As for the overall experience, I have to say I was a little disappointed with Dublin Zoo. The layout is perhaps more attractive than the likes of Belfast, because it's very spread out with some nice lakes and walkways. This gives the feel of there being less people around even when it's quite crowded. Even so, the animals on display left a feeling of disappointment.
Granted, it was winter when I visited, and a lot were hiding, but there was also a whole half section of the Zoo still under refurbishment, and hence closed off to the general public. I feel like they should have made this more obvious to people on the way in, or even offer it for half the price. But no chance! This is Dublin after all, and everything is extortionate.
Don't get me wrong, it's probably opened up now, and you are now surely likely to see a greater variety of animals than I ever saw (again, check their website for more thorough list), but I think this was slightly dishonest of them.
What I can say is that the animals that were on display were very nice to see. There was certainly a decent amount going on in the way of shows, feeding etc. This zoo gets a lot of visitors, so naturally it's better funded than the likes of Belfast.
Even so, if in Dublin my advice would be to give it a miss, unless you or your children are really keen on seeing some animals. Check beforehand that every section of the zoo is open, and rememeber that it is going to set you back a hefty amount getting in with a few people. Also bear in mind that the gift shop and in house cafes are of a similar level of expense, so you may want to prepare for that. In total the whole experience could cost you 70 or more Euros, and do you really want to spend that on a ZOO?
I know some people are totally against zoo's and don't encourage people to visit them. Their arguement being that the animals are captive rather being returned to the wild. I can see their point of view but on the whole I feel the majority of zoo's do a fantastic amount of work in helping to conserve wildlife in it's natural habitat, by the study and techniques they have learnt over the years working with these amazing creatures. Dublin Zoo is definitley in that category.
On a recent trip to Dublin my partner and I visited Dublin Zoo, which is located in Phoenix Park, and you can easily get there on foot from the city centre, or by bus (Nos 10/10A, 25/25A, 26, 66/66A/66B, 67/67A, 68,69) or by using the new Phoenix Park Shuttle to Dublin Zoo. Starting at Park Gate St, beside Heuston Station and the Luas Line, it takes a circular route inside the park, stopping at Dublin Zoo, the Visitor Centre, the Papal Cross and Farmleigh.
The Phoenix Park Shuttle operates 7 days a week. Weekdays 7am - 6pm / Weekends and Public Holidays 10am - 6pm.
The zoo opened in 1830 and is open to the public 363 days of the year, only closing on Christmas Day and St.Stephens day. Opening times are always 09.30 and closing in the winter varies from 16.00-1700. During the peak March-September the zoo is open 09.30-18.00. I advise getting there as early as possible to avoid large groups and school parties.
Admission prices are accurate for 2009, so check the website for this year www.dublinzoo.ie
Single Tickets Price
Child over 3 and under 16 Euro10.50
Child under 3 Free
Senior Citizens Euro12.00
Special Needs Child Euro5.50
Special Needs Adult Euro8.70
Student (Must show valid student ID card) Euro12.50
Family Tickets Price
2 adults + 2 children Euro43.50
2 adults + 3 children Euro49.00
2 adults + 4 children Euro52.00
Group Prices (In parties of 10 people or more) Price
Dublin Zoo MembershipAllows free admission to Dublin Zoo for one year. Dublin Zoo members are also admitted free to Fota Wildlife Park (Cork), as well as Chester Zoo, Edinburgh Zoo and Paignton Zoo in the UK! Individual Membership is suitable for two adults.
Membership Type Price
Family Membership Cover:
Member + 3 Adults or
Member + 2 Adults + 2 Children or
Member + 1 Adult + 4 Children or
Member + 6 Children
The layout of the zoo is very good, and is a very enjoyable walk between enclosures. The array of animals is great with everything from A to Z, Afican Hunting Dog to Zebra with everything inbetween. When visiting a zoo I usually get round quite early and quickly first to get any photos without peoples hands and heads bobbing in the way, so I always go for the most popular enclosures first; big cats, primates, penguins & meerkats. I then normally take a break followed by a more steady walk round to have more time at each enclosure.
After we entered the zoo we turned left and followed the path and the first enclosure we came across was the the Sumatran Tiger, now the really good thing about Dublin Zoo is that on some of the enclosures they have clear glass, full height sections right next to the path so it is possible to really get up close to some of the animals if they want to. We did notice the tiger kept pacing along this section. As it was quiet it was a great photo opportunity to get my partner in shot with the tiger to give an idea of scale. She knelt down at the path and sure enough the tiger wandered past and it made for a great photo, but as soon as the photo had been taken the tiger had decided to do a full stretch up against the glass and must have easily reached the 7ft mark. As my partner looked round she got a bit of a shock and the quickened heart rate certainly woke her up that morning!! :-)
Another favourite on our trip round was the otter, these creatures fascinate me. I do have some living in the river only a couple of miles from my home, but as yet I have not been fortunate to spot them. So seeing this little character darting about its enclosure and getting up close to the glass because of its curiousity was really excellent.
Dublin Zoo has worked hard to maintain excellent standards of habitat for their animals, and some of the conservation work/presentations were really very good. They are constantly looking for ways to improve and keep people coming back to help support them.
Everybody will have their own personal favourites and young or old Dublin Zoo is a great place to visit. You will not be short of places to stop and get a drink or bite to eat either.There are several cafes and kiosk around the zoo serving delicious sandwiches, hot coffee, pizza, ice cream but on our visit we decided due to the weather to try the Meerkat Restaurant. They serve a range of food to suit every taste and while you sit there the Meerkats watch your every move, very entertaining. Simples!!!
Worth a return visit, next time I'm in Dublin!!