Is it just me or are there never enough animals on display at Edinburgh zoo ?

(37 Posts)
rookiemater Sun 22-Feb-09 16:18:31

We decided to make the first trip of the year to the zoo seeing as sun was shining.

On the way there had usual debate about whether we should become members and as DS is 2.11 and by us becoming members we get him in for free for another year we decided to go for it.

Now DS had a relatively good time and enjoyed all the outside play areas and the inside one. But Edinburgh zoo always seems to be never as good as I would imagine it would be.

They have huge animal enclosures and in one them they had a special type of mouse hmm.

Then most of the animals seem to be out of sight and DH always wants to see the big cats so we have to hike to the top and by that time DS wants his lunch. Then they had got rid of the toys in the members eating section which meant that DS was out of sorts. Then the penguins refused to go walking at the allotted time ( although this is clearly outside the control of the zoo staff)

I think its just the fact it is on a hill narks me as its actually a fair old trek to get round. Anyway, its too late we are committed to many more days out there now.

singyswife Sun 22-Feb-09 16:28:47

We are members at the zoo and have been for nearly 3 years. However, we are not renewing the membership this year as the dc's are fed up of not seeing many animals and we end up spending money so they can go into the soft play or go and feed the birds with the nectar stuff.

We used to love the zoo but I couldnt tell you the last time we were there and that is with us being members. It is def not just you.

We will be taking out a membership at west calder zoo as this is much more hands on and the animals are always willing to come and see you.

Write a letter of complaint and ask for your money back. I am sure there must be a money back clause in your membership pack.

rookiemater Sun 22-Feb-09 16:46:05

I'm glad its not just me !

We will keep the membership as tbh DS is just as happy with the play areas and provided we go 3 times this year then it will have paid for itself.

I think I will write about the removal of toys from the members food area. Every single table ( with the exception of a lone misguided old lady) had at least one toddler or baby, having the toys there was a nice distraction and meant we didn't have to rush through our lunch.

Also the public cafe is disgusting looking. DS loves the soft play area, but it is so grim sitting there and the food choices are revolting looking.

singyswife Sun 22-Feb-09 16:51:17

The food isnt too bad, but it is VERY expensive. You always have the play areas and the parrot feeding section and you can always just take the trailor up to the top and stroll back down again, I suppose there are many things you can do to make it interesting. Also you have the handling sessions which are free. Collect a ticket from the penguin shop or if that is still closed then go to the wee hotdog place opposite it and get one. This will take up some time and is something interesting for him.

christiana Sun 22-Feb-09 17:35:35

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rookiemater Sun 22-Feb-09 19:14:51

The food in the members cafe is ok, soup and filled rolls and quite inexpensive. It's just the public cafe where it is so grim.

I didn't know about the handling sessions singswife, DS would definitely enjoy those.

mawbroon Sun 22-Feb-09 20:40:41

rookie, the public cafe was upgraded last year! You should have seen it before shock

I think the chimps alone are worth the membership. I know that nailpolish would disagree with me. wink

We enjoy the zoo and can spend a large part of the day there in the summer without spending anything extra. We bring a packed lunch and stay away from the cafe.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 22-Feb-09 22:36:59

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overqualified Sun 22-Feb-09 22:56:20

Rookie...if your DS is 2.11 then won't you just have to pay for him separately when he is three and you go with your membership cards

how does that work exactly (I am also mother of an almost 3 year old!)

muffle Sun 22-Feb-09 23:01:48

Mmm I like it too. We usually get the ride up to the top (we do pay, but you can choose not to if money is tight) and stroll downhill. Big cats are often a disappointment (but we always check, SO exciting if you see one up close) but I like to think they do give the animals sufficient places to hide and that's a good thing. You can generally rely on the penguins (the underwater bit is always good IME), monkeys, chimps, parrots, lemurs, zebras and polar bear. Plus all the climbing frames etc fill up the day.

But I do agree with you about the high proportion of "crap" animals - rubbish "interesting" mouse, extraordinarily boring otters etc. And no elephants, giraffes or reptiles - boo.

Members' cafe food is fine though in summer we always take a picnic instead - the big rectangle of grass opposite the big public cafe (the soft play one), just up from the penguins, is great for that.

muffle Sun 22-Feb-09 23:03:29

When my DS turned 3, I had to get him his own membership card, but they did let him stay on mine until the time came to renew it (so he was actually 3.5 before it stopped being free).

mawbroon Sun 22-Feb-09 23:04:06

overqualified - if your child is 2 when you take out memebership, they get in free with you until your membership expires.

My ds was 3 in October, but will get in free until our membership expires in June.

So if you are thinking of getting membership, now would be a good time to do it!!

mawbroon Sun 22-Feb-09 23:05:44

Oh, I find it pongs a bit much of fish and penguin poop there. I normally eat as far up the hill as we can.

overqualified Sun 22-Feb-09 23:06:02

great thanks mawbroon!

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 22-Feb-09 23:12:45

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muffle Sun 22-Feb-09 23:17:09

You're not the only one SGM. We often go with friends who seem to love the tiresome beasts. I stand there thinking "DULL! DULL! I want predators!"

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 22-Feb-09 23:19:33

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mawbroon Sun 22-Feb-09 23:23:36

The otters are fab if you see them in play mode.

Early in the morning is a great time to see stuff. I have even seen the Wolverine!

And I love the wee squirrel monkies.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 22-Feb-09 23:26:33

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completelyabsolutely Mon 23-Feb-09 09:22:32

Singyswife - I think Five Sisters in West Calder is on the brink of closing down due to lack of funds so it might not be the best idea to take out a years membership there - you might not get too much use out of it.

rookiemater Mon 23-Feb-09 11:59:40

Oh dear I think I'm coming across as some sort of pampered princess here.

I'm not expecting all the animals to be queued up in a line for me wearing tutus, although that would be good.

It's just when I was a child and in fact even as an adult I get a great sense of anticipation before going to the zoo or wildlife park. Now with DS we go through his book to identify what animals we are going to see. But when we get there because the animals are fairly broadly spread and then we hit a few enclosures with no one there DS loses interest fairly rapidly and is more excited about the play area. He was much more engaged when we went to Gorgie Farm a few weekends ago because he could see all the animals up close and it was a manageable size to walk round. Perhaps I just have unrealistic expectations about a 3 year olds attention span.

Regarding the cafe, I know I could bring a picnic, but in this day and age when everyone is aware of healthy eating it seems inexcusable for the restaurant to be the way it is. Compare it for example to the Botanics or East Links farm, both of whom seem to offer a good selection of nutritious and enjoyable food.

Will try Mawbroons tip and go their early some time, hopefully the animals will be all perky then !

muffle Mon 23-Feb-09 12:15:47

Gorgie Farm, now that makes me lose the will to live.

muffle Mon 23-Feb-09 12:17:31

Didn't think you were a princess btw - I know what you mean. My DS is easily distracted by all the play areas at the zoo and lacks the excitement I had as a child too - but that's because we go there often I think.

rookiemater Mon 23-Feb-09 12:30:07

Ah I think I'm coming to the crux of the problem. I find Edinburgh zoo disappointing relative to the amount of money we have paid to go in. Also its v annoying when DS pipes up with "Mummy I want to go home" an hour into a visit, maybe that won't be an issue now we have the annual pass.

Gorgie is a 1 hour attraction and we put a couple of quid in the tin, so if it doesn't work out then its no big deal.

Muffle what do you find so awful about Gorgie Farm ?

muffle Mon 23-Feb-09 12:45:40

Yes annual pass makes a big difference, then the zoo is yours to come and go as you like.

Now I will sound like a princess! but I find farm animals sooooooooo boring (I know they're probably not really but...) and I don't like GF precisely because it takes such a short time and is not a decent day's activity IYSWIM. There's nowhere nice to sit for a picnic, it's grotty and smelly and there's poo and mud everywhere.

It's near us so friends are always wanting to go and I'm internally screaming "NOOOOO I'd rather stick forks in my eyes". I just feel that I have stood around in the freezing cold staring at a sheep enough times thanks. Luckily DS is not that into it either, he prefers the zoo.

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