Dublin Zoo… where do we begin? If you’re looking for what to do in Dublin and not sure where to start, we know the answer. Don’t bother worrying about what site to start from, the Dublin Zoo is an awesome starting point for you and your family. It would prove to be one of the best family things to do while visiting Dublin. Dublin Zoo is Ireland’s most popular family thing to do. The 28 hectare park in the heart of Dublin is home to some 400 animals, where education and conservation combine for an exciting and unforgettable Dublin experience!
What’s special about Zoo in Dublin
As you might have rightly guessed, the Dublin Zoo is a zoo situated in Dublin, Ireland. It spans 69 hectares of land and has a wide variety of animals exhibited. Animals exhibited include lots of endangered species such as the fruit bat and the gold lion tamarin. Zoo in Dublin is one or the world’s and most popular Zoos. Opened in 1831, it welcomes around a million visitors a year. You know the popular and world’s famous MGM Logo Lion, right? But did you know, that Leo was born in Dublin Zoo, Ireland? Leo the Lion is the seventh lion (he is also called Leopold the Lion, Leopold, or just Leo) and by far MGM’s longest-ever used lion. He represented the most MGM films since 1957 and became the best known and favorite MGM lion.
The Dublin Zoo was first established in the 18th century precisely on 1st September, 1831 by the Royal Zoological Society of Dublin. The zoo started up operations with only 118 animals given to them by the London Zoo and they included 46 mammals and 72 birds.
Here are some facts about the Dublin Zoo that you need to know
The idea to have a zoo in Dublin was brought by medical doctors
Not exactly who you think would be angling for the building of a zoo right? Now, a hospital would have been more believable but the fact remains that doctors were the brain behind the idea of the Dublin Zoo and it was all borne out of selfishness. The doctors who were not affiliated with any of the big medical corporations needed cadavers to better understand the body systems and more often than not were forced to get specimen for their experiments by robbing graves of their dead bodies. Needless to say, it was an unpleasant task and most of them were also in fear of being caught. Animal cadavers were even harder to find. So, they came up with this awesome plan to open a zoo so that they would not only have easy access to the cadavers of the dead animals, they could also have the opportunity to study them up close and personal while they were still alive.
Dublin Zoo is big on conservation
Conservation of animals was one of the goals that were set when opening the zoo. The Dublin Zoo is concerned with the conservation of the endangered species of wildlife. The zoo is a member of the European Endangered Species Programmer, an organization entrusted with the mandate to conserve and keep endangered species alive in Europe. They do this by liaising with several zoos in Europe and the Dublin Zoo is one of them. Some of the endangered species that the Dublin Zoo is responsible for include; The saki, a white faced monkey, The fruit bats, one of the most important animals to the ecosystem of the rain forest, the gold lion tamarins, a monkey with beautiful coloring and one of the rarest animals in the world.
Areas and divisions at Dublin Zoo
The zoo is divided into 10 different areas and they include:
The African plains
Sea lions cove
fringes of the Arctic
Kaziranga forest trail
house of reptiles
South American House
Each of these areas are populated with different animals.
Fringes of the Arctic
This particular area of the zoo is reserved for animals who live in the cold regions of the world such as the penguins, Grey wolves and Siberin Tigers.
This part of the Dublin Zoo is stocked with animals that are predominantly found in the African Savanah. Some of these animals include giraffes, hippopotamuses, ostriches, zebras, chimpanzees, wild dogs hornbills and many other animals. There is also an African restaurant located in the African plains to round up the African feel.
The Asian forest
Originally opened under the name, World of Cats, the Asian forests houses lions and is designed to look like copies of two naturally occurring forests in India and Indonesia. They contain two species of lions.
South American House
The South American House is the habitat of animals that are found in South and central America. It is sponsored by Kelloggs and is home to the gold lion tamarins, the squirrel monkeys, pygmy marmosets, military macaws and other animals.
World of Primates
As you might have guessed, this part of the zoo displays different species of monkeys and apes. The area is mostly made up of islands which are also connected to each other by bridges. There are so many different species of primates that occupy this part of the zoo. Some of them include orangutans, spider monkeys,lemurs,and siamangs.
Sea lions cove
This is an artificial habitat that houses a family of California sea lions in the Dublin Zoo. Creating the Sea lions cove took a whole lot of money and determination and till today is one of the biggest tasks to be taken by the Dublin Zoo. There are too many other areas and locations in the zoo to name all of them. Just know that each of them contains animals that are particular to the area.
Dublin Zoo animal guide
Here is a list of all animals you can see at Dublin Zoo: 1. Mammals
African painted dog
golden lion tamarin
gorilla (western Lowland)
hog (red river)
lemur (red-ruffed & ring tailed)
macaque ( Sulawesi crested)
Mangabey ( Red capped & white crowed)
orangutan ( Bornean)
Oryx ( scimitar- horned)
rhinoceros (southern white)
sea lion (California)
sloth ( two-toed)
Hornbill ( Abyssinian & great indian)
penguin ( Humboldt’s)
Annam leaf turtle
green crested lizard
green tree and royal python
west African crocodile
fire belied toad
Events and activities at Dublin Zoo
There are so many things to do in Dublin Zoo. This top Dublin attraction always has a lot to offer to its visitors. From special school programes to kids camps ,workshops and amazing shows. The programs are designed for kids of all ages and adults alike. There are activities for all the family. Check out the times of all events to make the best out of your visit.
March – September: Daily October – February: Weekends
11:15 am Asian lion
11:45 am Orangutan
12:00 am Zoorassic World- Reptiles Past & Present
12:30 pm Elephant
12:45 pm Chimpanzee
2:15 pm Sea Lion
2:30 pm Penguin
2:45 pm Giraffe
3:00 pm Rhinoceros
3.15 pm Gorilla
Dublin Zoo Prices 2018
Buy Dublin Zoo tickets online and skip the queues plus save
Here are Dublin Zoo Daily Tickets
Child 3 years and older and under 16 (must be accompanied by an adult)
Child under 3
Senior Citizens (over 65’s)
Child with Special Needs*
Adult with Special Needs*
Student (Must show valid student ID card)
2 adults + 2 children
2 adults + 3 children
2 adults + 4 children
Group prices ( 10 people or more)
Phone bookings only
Phone bookings only
Dublin Zoo Annual Pass (free admission to Dublin Zoo for 1 year)
Annual Pass Type
Dublin Zoo Price Discounts
Dublin Zoo offers discounts on entry prices for groups of 10 or more.
Visitors with special needs may admit one accompanying carer free of charge when they purchase a special needs adult or child ticket.Please bring relevant ID and a prove, such as an IAA Autism ID card, , or an associated membership card, GP letter or hospital consultant letter which confirms the visitor is unable to visit Dublin Zoo independently without the aid of a carer or mobility aid.
Annual Pass Covers:
Pass holder + 1 Adult or
Pass holder + 2 kids
Pass holder + 3 Adults or
Pass holder + 2 Adults + 2 kids or
Pass holder + 1 Adult + 4 kids or
Pass holder + 6 kids
Dublin Zoo Facilities
There is a shop, cafes, Meerkat Restaurant, kiosks, lawns and picnic tables at Dublin Zoo.
Dublin Zoo hasn’t its own car park, but there are car parking spaces around the Phoenix Park. There are also 2 car parks adjacent to Dublin Zoo and are open daily from 10 am:
1. The Lord’s Walk car park is situated beside Dublin Zoo on Chesterfield Avenue. This car park can occupy about 260 cars. 2. The Cricket Grounds car park is situated opposite the Zoo on Chesterfield Avenue. This car park can occupy about 120 cars. Both car parks open daily from 10 am.
90% of Dublin Zoo is accessible for disabled. There are 10 manual wheelchairs at the Zoo entrance.
Dublin Zoo has 9 unisex accessible toilet facilities at various locations. Don’t forget to ask Please ask for the code to the accessible toilets upon entering the Zoo.
Assistance dogs at Dublin Zoo. Dogs are not allowed into the main area of Dublin Zoo. But there is a sitting area at a location in the Zoo, which provides temporary accommodation for assistance dogs while their owners visit the Zoo. In comfortable accommodation assistance dog will stay for the whole duration of your visit and will be provided with fresh drinking water.
Group visits and School tours
Dublin Zoo is a perfect day out idea for groups of all ages and school tours Discounts for group organizers, school parties, tour operators and coach drivers.
Free entry for group organizer and coach driver*
(*Valid only for bona fide group organizers & drivers with a qualifying number of visitors. Proof of ID).
Free familiarisation visit for group organiser
€10 meal voucher for coach driver of group to be used in Meerkat restaurant**
(**Available at entrance gate. Proof of ID.)
Fast track entry and restaurant bookings available
Dublin Zoo is not-for-profit organisation, it’s a registered charity . It’s very costly to run this popular Dublin attraction- just the food spend is approximately half a million a year. This is how you can help Dublin Zoo:
It also entitles you the free entrance to Dublin Zoo for the whole year.
Make a donation
If you want to support Dublin Zoo and make a donation, call Emma Kiernan Marketing Manager on (01) 4748900 call +353 (0)1 4748900 for more information.
Adopt an animal
Do you have your favorite animal? You can adopt him and become an animal adopter.
Are you an animal enthusiast and want to learn more about animals? Then you can join an team of volunteers working together to help Dublin Zoo. There are plenty of ways you can volunteer: learning & discovery centre, guided tours, events, educational resources, kids clubs, teaching assistants, admin area and more.
Dublin Kids tips for visiting Dublin Zoo
Be aware that last admission is an hour before closing time. Arrive earlier and allow yourself more time. It’s a big area and a lot to be explored.
Kids under 16 h an adult.as to be accompanied by an adult
Bicycles, scooters, roller-skates, roller-blades or skateboards are not allowed
Dublin Zoo has no provision for left luggage.
Dublin Zoo is a great place for a picnic and there are also a few cafes
Don’t forget that Dublin Zoo offers discounts on entry prices for groups of 10 or more.
Check out the animal feeding times and all event times before your visit to plan your day in advance and make sure you don’t miss anything
How to get to Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo is located in the Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. It is easy to get there by public transport, by car or bicycle or train. Dublin Zoo from Dublin city centre: Buses: Nos. 25, 26, 46A, 66 / 66A / 66B, 67, 69 LUAS Red Line: Dublin Zoo is a 15 minute walk from the Heuston Station stop. From all over Ireland Dublin Zoo is easily accessible by train and bus services. Check the map below to get the directions for your drive or walk right from your doorstep.
Located in the Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo, is Ireland’s most famous fun thing to do and is visited about one million visitors each year A visit to the Dublin Zoo should definitely be a must on your itinerary anytime you find yourself in Dublin. It is an absolutely beautiful place with so many animals and natural beauty. You might want to make the trip to the Dublin Zoo something of a family thing to do so that your children would have the experience of their lives seeing so many animals in copies of their natural habitats. It’s an unforgettable experience. While you are there, visit the Play Forest, completely sheltered and guaranteed to have your children climbing, swinging and sliding in any weather.
Dublin Zoo Opening Times
Dublin Zoo is open 363 days per year with the only two days closed, that are bank holidays in Ireland : Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day.