Having a full uninterrupted weekend available is uncommon so when we have one, we (I) like to make plans, and last weekend we decided to go to Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park. The last time I went to Dublin Zoo was about 5 years ago and I remember really enjoying it so we got take away shakes from Slim’s Kitchen, packed our £3 Tesco meal deal sandwiches and made our merry way. There are many ways to get to Dublin Zoo but we chose to drive and make a day of it. It took about 1 hour 45 minutes (don’t forget if you’re driving from the North there’s a toll of €1.90 each way!). Parking is a bit on the scarce side, in fact there’s no official parking for Dublin zoo though there is plentiful free on street parking or the Lord’s Walk car park and at the Cricket Grounds car park in Phoenix Park itself.
The queues are quick and efficient though you may find it even quicker to book online and enter through a ‘non queue’ entrance. Once in you will immediately see how vast the zoo is so it’s worth mentioning older folk and young children may find it a bit of a struggle as it is a whopping 28 hectares (nearly 2.5 acres or 280,000 square metres).
The variety of animals is tremendous and most importantly their living/roaming areas are nothing short of spectacular. Zoos are a bit debatable but I can honestly say these animals have plenty of space, are well looked after and have as natural an environment as I’ve ever seen. Not to mention Dublin Zoo is heavily invested in many recognised breeding programs and conservation programs which I personally believe to be really important.
You’ll notice walking around that the Zoo has really invested in making it more of an experience than a normal track around various enclosures, the whole environment flows together and when they say ‘African Savannah’ – they mean it! You’ll walk through trails filled with greenery to view the elephants and around an African style trek to see the giraffes, ostriches and zebras who are all kept together on a lovely vast open plain. Be sure to check out the Meerkat Cafe with a viewing area for of course Meerkats! You can also catch a time-lapse video I took of them on my Instagram here.
The penguin space is wonderful too with really insightful talks from the keepers during feeding time which was very popular and the viewing gallery for the Sea Lions was both above and below the water meaning that it was a great experience for children. In fact the learning experiences for children in particular are fantastic. I’m not a parent but I could see the zoo was really invested in teaching the younger generation with learning areas around the grounds and interactive areas for a real hands on experience.
We had a fantastic day out and I’d recommend Dublin Zoo to anyone looking for something to do.