Best Zoos in the North and Scotland

Friday 05th July 2024

Curious about all the zoos and animal-themed attractions you can visit in the North and Scotland? We've put together some of our favourites on our network, from world famous zoos to small picks with some truly wonderful wildlife residents.

Edinburgh Zoo

Location: Edinburgh
Tickets: £26.50 adults, £17 kids (under 3s go free)

Edinburgh Zoo is a historic attraction that’s been welcoming visitors since 1913 and it continues to be one of the UK’s – if not the world’s – top animal parks. You’ll find it just west of the city centre on Corstorphine Hill and it’s Scotland’s second most popular attraction after the epic Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Zoo has been a safe haven for some incredible creatures over the decades, with over a thousand animals currently calling it home. Did you know this Scottish zoo is the only place in the UK where you can see Queensland koalas? It was also famously the first animal park in the world to breed penguins, and you’ll still spot plenty of these monochromatic marvels at Penguins Rock.

As well as housing an impressive selection of creatures from around the globe – from quirky reptiles and rare birds to big cats and cheeky primates – Edinburgh Zoo runs numerous conservation programmes. This includes educational events and workshops for local schools, plus their Conservation Action Team (CAT) which allows kids to discover more about how to care for and respect wildlife.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Location: Doncaster 
Tickets: £27.99 adults, £22.99 kids (under 3s go free)

Big cat lovers should make a beeline for the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. This safari-style wildlife park sits just a short distance from Sheffield and Doncaster, and it’s easily one of the best zoos in the North East.

Giraffes, meerkats, hyenas, tigers, otters and polar bears are just a handful of the creatures that are well-cared for at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. You can stroll around and spot them relaxing in spacious enclosures that have been specifically designed to mimic their natural habitats.
You could also time your visit with one of the Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s many educational talks. These special daily events allow you to get a little closer to certain species and ask experts any burning questions you might have about the animals’ daily lives and habits. Why not venture over to Point Lobos to chat to the sea lion rangers about these majestic marine animals?

SEA LIFE Scarborough

Location: Scarborough
Tickets: from £18 adults, from £16 kids (under 2s go free)

Right on the edge of the east coast, SEA LIFE Scarborough is home to over 2,500 sea creatures. As well as going on a dive into an amazing underwater world with the incredible ocean tunnel – and seeing penguin island, the otter river and a rescued Loggerhead turtle – you can also enjoy a trek through the new Rainforest Adventure experience.

SEA LIFE Scarborough is also home to Yorkshire’s only Seal Hospital, rescuing over 30 injured seal pups every year, before rehabilitating them and releasing them into the wild.

The Deep

Location: Hull (29 minute walk from the railway station)
Tickets: £21 adults, £16.25 kids (under 3s go free)

Another location which offers a spectacular aquatic experience is The Deep Aquarium in Hull. The Deep is home to over 5,000 marine animals including sharks and rays, colonies of penguins and sea turtles, and the UK’s only pair of green sawfish.

This award-winning aquarium contains many different kinds of underwater environments, from the past to the present and from the tropics to the poles. And a ride through the Endless Ocean glass lift means you can fully immerse yourself in the ocean world.

Also known for conservation, The Deep offers a unique chance to understand more about these amazing underwater creatures. Dive shows and penguin feeds take place daily, as well as touch-pool sessions which give families some time with animals native to British shorelines.

The Butterfly House at Williamson Park

Location: Lancaster (30 minute walk from the railway station)
Tickets: £5.00 adults, £3.50 kids (under 3s go free)

A wonderful animal-themed attraction worth seeking out on the edge of the Lake District is the Butterfly House within Williamson Park in Lancaster. At the foot of the Ashton Memorial, the former palm house is now a rainforest home for many species of animals, including butterflies and tortoises.
The 0.5-acre site is the perfect place to spend a few hours with kids thanks to its smaller size and more personal approach. The butterfly house also has a mini zoo, with meerkat, marmoset and mini beast enclosures, where you can get up close to the animals.

Want to make your visit extra special? Make sure you get to the park at the weekend and during school holidays at 11:30am to meet one of the zookeepers, and learn more about the lifecycle, habitat and diet of the animals.

Keen to see some incredible animals this summer? Remember to check before you travel and book your tickets in advance on our website or using the TPExpress app.

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