Situated in leafy Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo is one of Ireland's most popular visitor attractions with close to one million visitors a year. In Dublin, it certainly counts among the Top Three attractions, together with Trinity College and the Guinness Storehouse brewery museum. From arctic fox to zebra, Dublin Zoo offers an extensive selection of wild animals in carefully landscaped surroundings.
Dublin Zoo is the fourth oldest zoo in Europe. It was opened in 1830 by the Zoological Society of Dublin. The animals were initially supplied by London Zoo, which had opened its doors only four years earlier. Only the zoos in Vienna and Paris are older, dating back to 1752 and 1793 respectively.
And here is a bit of macabre history for you: During the Easter Rising of 1916, zoo workers were unable to get out of Phoenix Park. When meat supplies for the animals ran out, zoo workers decided to kill other animals in the zoo to keep the more valuable lions and tigers alive.
Dublin Zoo Today
Dublin Zoo has been registering rising visitor figures over the past few years. Dublin Zoo's popularity is particularly linked to its successful breeding programme. A series of rare births, such as those of a bull Elephant, a Rhinoceros, a Californian Sealion and a Tapir in 2008 attracted a total of 932,000 visitors, an impressive increase of 30,000 visitors compared to the previous year. The signs are set for this trend to continue. The first birth of 2009 was a female Giraffe calf on 4th January.
The Zoo is constantly updating its animals' habitats. At time of going to press, the African Plains are undergoing re-development to improve living conditions for the Zoo's herd of White Rhinos among other Animals from the African grasslands. The African Plains have been recently re-opened.
Admission prices are €15.00 for Adults and €10.50 for Children under 16. Children under three visit for free. You can purchase various size family tickets. A Family Ticket for two Adults and two Children costs €43.50, for instance. Free entry with Dublin Pass.
Dublin Zoo spends approximately 10% of its annual surplus on various research and conservation projects benefiting animals in the wild.
Zoo Opening Times
During the main season from March to September, Dublin Zoo opens daily from 9:30 to 18:00. The extensive African Plains area closes half an hour before the rest of the Zoo, giving you ample time to make your way back to the central area. Closing times in the Winter and Autumn months vary, depending on lighting conditions, from 17:30 in October to 16:00 in November and December.
How to Get To Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo is located at the Parkgate Street end of Phoenix Park on the Northside of the city. The Zoo is approximately a 20 minutes walk away from Heuston Station. Alternatively you can take the bus number 90 from Heuston to Phoenix Park. The Red Luas tram line gets you from the O'Connell Street area to Heuston Station. The Zoo is well served by bus from most areas in Dublin. Lines convenient for the Zoo are 10/10A, 25/25A, 26, 66/66A, 67/67A, 68 and 69. There is a free car park off Lord's Walk behind the Zoo.