Our Dublin Zoo experience
I’m sure there will be some of you reading this who will hate zoo’s and think that they are doing more harm than good and that’s ok, but I’m not going to write about weather animals should be locked up or freely roaming the plains of Africa, but instead my personal experience of visiting Dublin zoo for the day with my family.
It was late Summer in 2012 my wife decided that it was about time we went on a long weekend somewhere as a family. It hadn’t been the best year for us for a number of reasons, so we needed something to lift our spirits and picked a long weekend at Dublin. The hotel room was booked the car was packed and we headed off down the A1 from Belfast.
After a fairly long drive we arrived at Eire’s capitol and weaved our way through the busy traffic before parking up the car at Jurys Inn on Parnell street. We’ve stayed at the Belfast Jurys Inn in the past and really enjoyed it, so why not repeat the experience in Dublin? The rooms were fresh, clean and of a good size with everything you need to be comfortable and staff members were always helpful and friendly. If your ever visiting Dublin or Belfast and need a place to stay then I’d recommend the Jurys Inn. Above all their prices are excellent and just right for our budget at the time. My wife on the other hand was more impressed with their power showers, as ours back home at the time was gravity fed, which meant you would have had more force from rainfall.
After a great night sleep and an amazing breakfast we were all fresh and ready for a day out to the zoo. With the sun splitting the trees above us, the day definitely started out well enough. I felt this was going to be a day to relax and enjoy. As we got to the gate there were only a handful of people waiting, so the queue quickly moved on, but this changed quickly as loads of tourists appeared from nowhere as we were paying to enter. The first thing that grabbed my attention was the size of the animal compounds, which were excellent with plenty of room depending on each species, along with a good amount of viewing space so everyone can see the animals without others getting in the way.
The first large animal we came across was the mighty Tiger. As I’m a photographer I felt it necessary to bring along my camera, for the weekend hoping to catch a few interesting pics. As I took a few shots of the Tiger I noticed that there was a wee Great Tit near the glass wall, collecting some Tiger hair for its nest from the Tiger compounds floor. This amused me and I managed a couple of shots of it secretly steeling from this mighty king.
At this point the sun was really hot and it was time for some refreshments. These came in the shape of ice cream and fizzy drinks and the staff member was very friendly and most helpful.
Next up was the Orangutan compound and one of my wife’s personal favourites. As well as the Orangutans there were a few Moor Hens just roaming around feeding. As you can see from the photos I took, the Orangutans were content enough.
The zoo generally felt open and very relaxed and very well laid out with lots of facilities to please most people. Seating areas were positioned all over the zoo so even the not so healthy can take the long safari walk and not feel like they are on a marathon. Now I mention it lets talk about the safari walk, with its wide open spaces and mixed animal life. This was a huge expanse and gave the animals plenty of room to roam around comfortably. There were a good mix of animals ranging from Giraffe and Rhino through to Zebra and what looked like some type of Gazelle. This was a magical experience for me, as it is the closest that I have come to being on safari in any zoo. Well done Dublin zoo for getting this right!
One animal that captivated me so much was the Gorilla. There were several in their own wee habitat and they genuinely looked so content. I caught a great shot of a mother with her young , that would put a lot of human parents to shame. Other more unfamiliar animals seen were Pink Flamingo’s, Lemure and Giant Tortoise, African wild dogs and Penguins which didn’t disappoint at all.
Probably the only animal habitat that did disappoint slightly was the Elephants, as I personally felt that it was a bit small, but who am I to know what an Elephant likes. As you can see by the picture below, the Lions just wanted to rest in the hot sun. They probably felt more at home in the heat than we did. Wild boar were also present and were a fine addition to the collection. There was also a reptile house present and like all reptile houses was full of reptiles and dark, so nothing different there.
Overall the visit was a total success, with only one upset throughout the whole day, which was my daughter loosing her camera, but we can’t blame the zoo for that. In a nutshell, Dublin zoo is well stocked with a wide variety of animals, well priced to entre, great facilities and excellent staff members. It was also very well laid out and ideal for some excellent photography opportunities. We headed back to the hotel to have evening dinner and to chill at an end of a very busy day. If you’re ever visiting Dublin and you are looking to have a great family day out, then you wouldn’t go wrong if you visited the zoo for the day. The children and adults alike would love it and it isn’t expensive either.