Edinburgh Zoo is a firm favourite for summer days out in the capital. It’s world-famous for its pandas and the penguin parade, and there are plenty of other animals to see too – my favourites being the squirrel monkeys and the meerkats. But there’s much more to Edinburgh Zoo than just being a place for family outings to learn about the animals; I recently headed along for an evening hosted by Lime Venue Portfolio at the zoo to find out what else is on offer this spring and summer.
Did you know you can host your own events and functions at the zoo? You can have your wedding at the grand Mansion House, have your birthday party amongst the animals or, as we tried out the other night, you can hold a corporate event in the Budongo Trail. Organised by Lime Venue Portfolio and with activities from BlueSky, we spent the evening sampling themed food and drink to celebrate Dinosaurs Return (more on this in a minute) – Proseccosaurus cocktail, anyone, or maybe some herbivore and carnivore mac & cheese? There was some animal handling where you could get up close and personal with snakes and bugs (thankfully no spiders), or if you prefer to keep your distance you can just watch the chimps whose enclosures surround the Budongo event spaces. There were also some team building activities like an interactive treasure hunt and even cookery demonstrations. If you’re looking to organise a corporate event or business meeting with a twist, Edinburgh Zoo would be the perfect place to hold it!
So, what else is on at Edinburgh Zoo? As I mentioned, our evening had a prehistoric theme because of the Dinosaurs Return exhibition which is coming to the zoo from the 3rd April. Fourteen giant animatronic dinosaurs will be roaming round a specially created “lost world” enclosure as part of the exhibit, and you’ll also be able to learn lots more about the dinosaurs. But, extinct dinosaurs in a zoo? As well as being fun and something different, Dinosaurs Return aims to raise awareness of the importance of conservation and the threat of extinction which many animals face today.
This year’s Zoo Nights are also dinosaur themed in honour of the new exhibition. At Zoo Nights you get after-hours access to the zoo (no children allowed!) where you can enjoy cocktails and street food whilst exploring parts of the zoo, listening to live music or comedy, getting your face painted or dancing the night away at the silent disco. This year there are also fossil digs to take part in, which sounds intriguing! I went along to Edinburgh Zoo Nights last year with Lynne, and you can see a little bit of what we got up to in my vlog. It was lots of fun, but top tip: go round and see the animals first then get involved with the activities after, as lots of the animals will go to sleep as the evening goes on! This year’s Zoo Nights are on the 29th May, 5th, 19th and 29th June.
Will you be visiting Edinburgh Zoo this summer?