Thursday, March 29, 2018

A guide to Dublin Zoo: how to make the most of your visit to Ireland’s largest animal attraction Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • There’s more to this attraction than animal enclosures, including keeper talks and kids’ conservation workshops
  • Make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to watch your favourite animals being fed
  • You can save more than £25 per family on entry if you buy the right ticket 
Tigers, rhinos and red river hogs – and plenty more besides – await at the largest zoo in Ireland and one of the oldest in the world. From beating the queues to hailing the gelato bike or eating with views of the meerkats, we have all you need to know to make the most of your day out.
Here's all you need to know ahead of your visit to Dublin Zoo
Here's all you need to know ahead of your visit to Dublin Zoo
How to get there
Located in Phoenix Park in Dublin 8, Dublin Zoo is easy to get to by bus, train, bike or car, and on foot. From the city centre, take number 25, 26, 46A, 66/66A/66B, 67 or 69 bus, or the Luas Red Line to Heuston station and walk for 15 minutes. If you’re driving, there’s no car park at Dublin Zoo; you need to use the nearby Lord’s Walk or cricket grounds car parks.
The zoo is open every day except Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day (26 December), opening at 0900. Closing times vary; see the website.
How to book tickets
Avoid the queues by booking your tickets online ahead of your trip. Adults are about £15.50 each, and kids under 16 are £11.50. Children under three go for free. You can save money with a family ticket – two adults and two children cost about £43, and two adults with four children is £50. You can also book kids onto conservation workshops (from about £22) or on week-long summer camps (about £125), where they sleep right next to the animal habitats.
Dublin Zoo covers about 69 acres of Phoenix Park and is home to around 400 animals from almost 100 different species, but it’s handily divided into different areas based on the animals you’ll find in them and where they come from.
A trip to the African Savanna is like going on safari – watch giraffes and zebras grazing on the open plains and look out for hunting dogs prowling in the grass. This is where the rhinos and ostriches hang out too, and if you’re lucky, you’ll also see chimpanzees searching for treats left by the keepers. If you’re here for the elephants, head straight to the Kaziranga Forest Trail. Around 10 elephants call these dramatic rock arrangements, waterfalls and tranquil pools home, so you’re quite likely to spot at least one of them.
The Asian Forests at Dublin Zoo are inspired by the Gir forest of India – the perfect place for Asian lions to roam. Tortoises and parrots call the South American house their own, as do several types of monkey, but you’ll have to look really carefully to spot the Goeldi’s monkey, which blends into the forest so well that it was only discovered in the 1900s. The two-toed sloth is a little more obvious.
To really understand your favourite animal’s unique quirks and mannerisms, factor in feeding time. Feeds vary throughout the week and year; you’ll be given a list of times when you get to the zoo. The most exciting – and entertaining – feeds are the wolves (usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings) and the penguins (1430 daily). There are talks by keepers and experts every day too.
Don’t miss the family farm, where visitors of all ages are invited to get up close and personal with pigs, sheep and cows. There’s even a model cow you can learn to milk.
Make sure you see everything by picking up a map at the entrance or downloading one in advance. Set aside at least three hours to really get the most out of your visit.
With so much to see and do at Dublin Zoo, our guide has got you covered 
With so much to see and do at Dublin Zoo, our guide has got you covered 
Where to eat, drink and buy souvenirs
Meerkat restaurant is so-named because you can watch the cheeky creatures from the comfort of your seat as you tuck into a light lunch or proper meal – or rather, they’ll watch you. There are lots of options for kids and for vegetarians.
Coffee, cake and sandwiches are available at several cafés dotted around the zoo, and you’re never far from a kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and tempting snacks. You’re welcome to bring your own food to the zoo too, to set up on one of the lovely lawns or at a picnic table. And if you crave an ice cream in summer, just wait for the gelato bike to pass you by and shout.
Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop on the way out. It’s a haven of cuddly toys, T-shirts, stationery and books, as well as being the place to collect any photos you’ve had taken by the pros during your day.

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