What are the off-peak periods for visiting the Edinburgh Zoo?

When planning your visit to the Edinburgh Zoo, it's not just about what animals you'll see or the attractions you'll find. It's also about timing. Choosing the proper time for your day out at the zoo can have a significant impact on your experience. Beyond just considering the weather, it is crucial to consider when the zoo is least crowded. This article will dive deep into the off-peak periods for visiting the Edinburgh Zoo. By the end, you will be equipped with all the necessary information to make your visit to the zoo an unforgettable one.

Identifying Off-Peak Times

Identifying the off-peak times for any travel destination involves understanding the patterns of crowd flow. The same applies to the Edinburgh Zoo. This section will provide insights on the less busy times and days to visit the zoo.

During weekdays, particularly from Tuesday to Thursday, the zoo tends to be less crowded compared to the weekends. This decreased footfall is due to most local families being occupied with school and work. Also, avoiding school holidays and public holidays when planning your visit can significantly reduce the crowds.

When examining the time of day, it's been observed that the zoo is less crowded in the early morning hours, right after opening, and in the late afternoon, closer to closing time. Animals are generally more active during these periods too, enhancing your zoo experience.

Booking Tickets During Off-Peak Times

Once you've decided on the day and time of your visit, the next step is to book your tickets. Booking your tickets for the off-peak periods can be done through Edinburgh Zoo’s online platform. This section will guide you on how to go about it.

When you visit the website, you'll be required to select your preferred visit date. To benefit from off-peak prices, choose a day between Tuesday and Thursday, and avoid school holidays. After selecting your date, you'll then be prompted to select an arrival time. Remember, early morning or late afternoon times are usually less crowded.

It is also worth noting for members of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), entrance to the Edinburgh Zoo is free. So, if you're a regular visitor or plan to be, you might want to consider investing in a RZSS membership.

Travelling to the Zoo During Off-Peak Times

At this point, you've identified the off-peak periods and booked your tickets. The next step is to arrange your travel to the zoo during these periods. This section will provide you with information on how to get to the zoo.

Edinburgh Zoo is located just three miles from the city centre, making it easily accessible by various modes of transport. If you're coming by train, the closest station is Edinburgh Haymarket, and from there, it's a short bus ride or a 30-minute walk to the zoo.

For those driving, the zoo has a free car park, but spaces can fill up quickly during peak times. Therefore, arriving early in the morning or late in the afternoon could increase your chances of securing a spot.

Maximising Your Off-Peak Visit

Visiting the zoo during off-peak times not only means fewer crowds but also offers an opportunity to maximise your day at the zoo. This section will provide tips on how to make the most of your off-peak visit.

With fewer people around, you'll have a better chance of seeing the animals up close and personal. Make sure to check the zoo's daily talk and feeding times schedule, as these can offer unique insights about the animals.

Another advantage of visiting during off-peak times is the reduced wait times for attractions and facilities. So, don't forget to explore the zoo's various exhibits, playgrounds, and dining options.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all advice when it comes to visiting the Edinburgh Zoo. Your visit should be tailored to your preferences and circumstances. But, no matter when you decide to visit, the zoo promises a fun-filled and educational day for both children and adults alike. Enjoy your visit!

Additional Facilities at the Edinburgh Zoo

While planning your off-peak visit to the Edinburgh Zoo, it is also essential to consider the facilities available. This section will provide detailed information about the amenities you can access at the zoo.

The zoo has several facilities to make your visit comfortable and memorable. For instance, it has a car park that is free of charge for visitors. However, the car park tends to fill up quickly during peak times. If you plan to drive, aim to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon during off-peak times to find a spot easily.

Edinburgh Zoo is also equipped with cycle storage facilities for those who prefer to cycle. The zoo encourages sustainable transportation, and these facilities are available to all visitors.

The zoo also houses various eateries serving a range of food and drinks. From quick bites to sit-down meals, there are options to suit everyone's needs. As the crowd is less during off-peak times, you'll likely experience shorter wait times at these eateries.

For RZSS members, there are additional benefits. The membership team is always ready to assist with any queries or services, and members are also regularly updated about exclusive events and news.

Lastly, for those interested in the giant pandas, remember to book in advance especially during peak times. However, during off-peak periods, it may be easier to catch a glimpse of these fascinating creatures.

Exploring Edinburgh Beyond the Zoo

Your trip to Edinburgh doesn't have to stop at the Edinburgh Zoo. The city is rich in history and culture, offering several other attractions that you can explore during your visit. This section will suggest some places you could visit after your zoo trip.

Edinburgh Castle is an iconic landmark that offers stunning views of the city. If you are fascinated by history, this castle should be on your must-visit list.

The Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness are other attractions that you can explore. These offer stunning landscapes and a chance to immerse yourself in Scotland's natural beauty.

If you have an entire day at your disposal, considering a day tour to the Highland Wildlife Park is also an excellent option. It is an extension of the Edinburgh Zoo, located in the Scottish Highlands, and is home to a range of wildlife native to Scotland.


Visiting the Edinburgh Zoo during off-peak times offers numerous advantages, including fewer crowds, reduced wait times, and a more personalised experience with the animals. By planning your visit strategically, you can maximise your experience at the zoo and even explore other attractions in Edinburgh. Remember, the options are endless in Edinburgh, Scotland's captivating capital. Whether you're an adult or a child, the zoo and the city promise an enriching and memorable experience.