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A couple of quick questions about Edinburgh Zoo (mainly panda related!)

(19 Posts)
QueenOfIndecision Sat 31-Aug-13 19:59:31

if anyone is still watching. we never got to see the pandas folks. i bought two tickets in the end, one for each day we were up. on neither day were the pandas on show. of course they announced panda pregnancy soon after i booked the hotel (non-refundable cheapo deal) and bought the first ticket and slot so had to risk it. it was a lovely zoo and the children enjoyed themselves, koalas and penguins were lovely. but for the cost of the travel and hotel we could've had five or six days out easily nearer to home, maybe more - so many nearer zoos without all the added cost. sad they only decide on the morning at 9am if the pandas are on show so my advice is folks - if you don't live within travellable distance from edinburgh in a day, and don't have that much money, don't risk it. i don't think we will again sad

QueenOfIndecision Mon 22-Jul-13 20:02:47

DS has map of the zoo printed out and is dancing around with it!

QueenOfIndecision Mon 22-Jul-13 20:02:25

Thanks guys. have booked panda tickets and hotel tickets x

QueenOfIndecision Sun 21-Jul-13 19:29:54

Thanks everyone for all your advice! That's all been really helpful.

I think i am going to book an early slot as hopefully we won't all be tired and grumpy from treking around the zoo and we are staying nearby the night before. reassuring to hear we will probably see both pandas, even if they aren't doing much!

Ilovepowerhoop your photos are great - DS is going to love it i reckon.

Have had a look at the festival link but it all seems to stop by 26th at the latest (which is probably why the hotels are suddenly cheaper!). maybe one year we'll come up in august and stay outside edinburgh and go to some things. but this time i think it will be the chambers street museum or the playground if the meadows if we are all a bit frazzled after the 4 hour train ride.

Thanks mumsnet.

Essexgirlupnorth Sun 21-Jul-13 17:53:37

Went last September for my grandma's birthday. They take you in groups. You get a talk about the panda's then go into the indoor enclosure. When we went they were both asleep then the boy panda woke up and started eating. Probably have to warn your DS they don't do much. Have a set amount of time in the indoor bit before you have to make way for the next group then go past the outdoor enclosure though guess you could spend some time there if they were out.
There is a land train thing that goes round the zoo. They have recently opened the penguin pool after a refurb. They used to the let the penguins out to walk round which I loved as a kid.
Museum of childhood is good. If your DS is a Harry Potter there is a cafe on one of the bridges where J.k. Rowling started writing the books. Called The Elephant Cafe.
There will probably be things going on in Princes Street Gardens too with the festival on.

ilovepowerhoop Sun 21-Jul-13 17:39:26

you can book the viewing slot online when booking your tickets so you dont need to wait until you get to the zoo

CPtart Sun 21-Jul-13 17:30:49

We went to see the pandas last year. A tip, get to the zoo early, well before it opens if poss. They only have limited tickets per day to see them and once they're gone they're gone.

ilovepowerhoop Sun 21-Jul-13 17:24:01

I went on the P7 trip to Dynamic Earth with the school and they enjoyed it and I found it quite interesting too

ilovepowerhoop Sun 21-Jul-13 17:21:58

have put photos on my profile from when we went in June with the school

jennycoast Sun 21-Jul-13 17:21:16

When we went we were taken in in smallish groups, each with a guide, into the viewing area. I wouldn't have thought there was room for 60 people in there all at once, so think they probably stagger which viewing section you are in. There's the inside space, the main outside viewing space, and then little bits either side. They are very controlling about how much time everyone has to spend in each bit, so it might be an idea to manage your DSs expectations on that front!

It was brilliant though. When we went the girl was inside lying on her shelf, so we got a really good view of her there, and the boy was outside filling his face with bamboo. They gave a really good talk about them.

Another vote for the Museum of Scotland on Chambers St. You could easily spend a whole day there, it really is fantastic - and free! There are sometimes special events on though, which might be worth checking out in advance. Any we've done were great (we still have bags of mummified apple in the car!!!).

I haven't heard anything positive about Dynamic Earth.

The art trolleys at the art galleries are good for DC too, and Modern One and Two have great parkland round them, and fantastic cafes. (Busy but good food). The trolleys go on a rota, so check out where they will be then.

The festival will still be on then, so have a look at the children's programme you only need to do one thing! and there will still be loads of street performers and general "stuff" happening in the town centre.

If you only have one free half day though, I'd head to Chambers Street!

badguider Sun 21-Jul-13 17:12:20

Oh, and there are two places to see the pandas - first you go into the bit to see them if they're inside then you walk round to the outside side. Obviously it depends where the pandas are which is best.
I've no idea about the 30/60 thing but again that first tour is probably the best. I doubt it's related to which of the pandas is out - more likely to be the number of guides. Eg busy times = 60peopke with 2 guides and quiter = 30 people with one guide.

ilovepowerhoop Sun 21-Jul-13 17:10:13

I went with the kids on a school trip (there were about 50 children in total) and the pandas are kept in separate enclosures as they fight if left together - they each have an outdoor and indoor bit. When we went they were both in their indoor areas asleep! A guide tells you a bit about them and then you can take photos (with the flash off).

badguider Sun 21-Jul-13 17:09:00

I went to see the pandas for professional reasons and we went for the first morning slot. It was great as we didn't queue just went straight there.
I think they are both in their enclosure almost all the time but the zoo are only willing to guarantee you'll see one in case one needs to see the vet. They would never send both to the vet at the same time.

pizzaqueen Sun 21-Jul-13 16:59:16

yeh there is a bus to the top but sometimes big queues for it.

portolbello beach is also good on a nice day, just a short bus ride. There's the commonwealth swimming pool too which has a reasonably priced softplay and cafe. Lots of other pools round the city too.

our dynamic earth is a good day out for a wet day but I think its expensive and have heard mixed reviews on it.

QueenOfIndecision Sun 21-Jul-13 12:56:55

Thanks Pizzaqueen.
i have looked up the museum on chamber street and think the DC would really enjoy this.
Am a bit worried about the walking with a slightly stroppy 4yo DD but visiting from top to bottom sounds a great idea - looks as if there is a bus?? to to the top and then we could gradually walk down.

wonder if anyone know the answer to my panda questions? (or if i am picking up the panda obsession!)

pizzaqueen Sun 21-Jul-13 09:41:46

sorry I don't know the answer to your panda question. there is a lot of walking involved in edinburgh zoo its very hilly (that's the only reason I haven't taken my two year old yet) so beware kids may tore quickly. maybe plan your visit top to bottom?

but Edinburgh chamber street museum is fantastic and free, you could easily spend half a day there. There's a great big playpark on the Meadows and museum of childhood on the royal mile is also free and worth a visit.

if you are happy to travel slightly outside of Edinburgh (20mins) there's also the five sisters zoo in west lothian which is a fab independent zoo, the have great selection of animals adventure playground and softplay.

QueenOfIndecision Sun 21-Jul-13 09:39:24

Thanks Twooter, we are going to go right at the very end of August when the hotel rooms seem to halve in price, so presumably it will be a bit quieter then.

Twooter Sun 21-Jul-13 09:36:50

In August it will be hideously busy because of the festival, so hard to get cheap hotel rooms etc. however, there are loads of good street performers so just head for the royal mile.

QueenOfIndecision Sun 21-Jul-13 09:33:32

right a little context so i don't appear too deranged in asking this - DS is obsessed, totally obsessed by zoos. He talks about them from morning till ngiht and is going to be a zoopkeeper when older (he is 7). he has been asking for months to go to edinburgh zoo because pandas are his no 1 favourite animal.

we are going up on the train at the end of august me, Ds (7) and DD (4).
i am trying to book a panda ticket and given the huge distance we are travelling to get there, expense on hotel etc i really want to make sure we see the bloomin pandas.

i've looked about booking the panda slots and it seems that sometimes there are slots for 30 people, other times slots for 60. it also says that at some times there is only one panda on display (as i expect the poor things need a rest etc). i am a bit concerned that if DS only sees one panda (although i do appreciate the pandas needs must come first btw) he will be pestering me to visit again to see the other. does anyone know if there are particular times of day you get to see both pandas (on the whole, obviously i realise if a panda is ill or wahtever it may be different) ? is it when there are 60 rather than 30 people going around? or is there something totally different? do you get to see with two small dcs when there are 60 people? what time of day is best for seeing pandas in general?

please help - sorry if the questions seem so frivulous but it is such as big trip for us (cost and hassle wise) i want to make sure it goes well.

ps any other general tips / comments re edinburgh - we'll have an extra half day there and i would like to do something else (cheaper) the DCs would enjoy - please advise!

thanks x

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