Newest Review: ... 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. Senio... more
Bang, bang, bang on the glass................. .......
Member Name: Emma1973
Advantages: New areas being built for the animals, nice and tidy
Disadvantages: Would have liked a lot more information about the animals, some enclosures not appropriate
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!
Summary: A beautiful zoo in the heart of Phoenix Park
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