Like many attractions across the globe, Dublin Zoo took quite the hit as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, after being forced to close for the majority of 2020 and part of 2021. Thankfully –with the help of government funding– the zoo was able to reopen its doors in April 2021, while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
One of the measures currently implemented is the temporary closure of indoor habitats, meaning the newly re-mapped route only allows for the viewing of outdoor enclosures. The zoo has also introduced a one-way system to maintain social distancing and keep footfall flowing throughout the premises.
Open seven days a week from 9:30am until 5:30pm, you can explore the new route and visit all of your favourite species – just make sure to book ahead, the zoo is currently operating on a booking-only basis.
Dublin city’s beloved zoo has been around for almost 200 years, having first opened its doors on 1 September, 1831. The zoo was originally established as a private society by anatomists and physicists, supported by wealthy subscribers. It wasn’t until 1840 that it opened to the public, housing 46 mammals and 72 birds donated by London Zoo. Visitors were invited to attend on Sundays, paying just a penny for admission.
The zoo is now home to over 400 rare, exotic and endangered animals from across the world. Here are some of the habitats currently open for viewing;
Wolves in the Woods
Wolves in the Woods is Dublin zoo’s newest habitat, and houses a pack of gorgeous grey wolves.
The African Savanna
The African Savanna is the largest habitat, where you’ll find a variety of African species, including giraffes, southern white rhinos, ostriches and zebras.
Kaziranga Forest Trail
Follow the bamboo rainforest trail to find Dublin Zoo’s elephant herd of 11 Asian elephants. See if you can spot matriarch Bernhardine, her sister Yasmin, their daughters Asha and Anak. You may also be able to spot some of the calves of the herd too.
The South American House
Home to over nine species of Central and South American animals, the South American House is the perfect vantage point for spotting monkeys, sloths and birds, among more rainforest wildlife.
Visit the Gorilla Rainforest and observe the western lowland gorillas in their tranquil habitat.
The Orangutan Forest
You can find the Bornean orangutans climbing and swinging their way through the orangutan forest. The orangutans are long time favourites in the Zoo and always attract a big crowd.
Sea Lion Cove
Watch the zoo’s Californian Sea Lions splash around their cove, and don’t miss the sea lion presentation at 2:15pm daily during the summer and on weekends throughout the winter.
Where to Eat
While the zoo’s indoor facilities are closed, there are outdoor dining and snack options available throughout the park to keep you and your family energised on your day out.
A snack along the way
Feeling peckish during your visit? There are various snack kiosks dotted along the way, as well as vending machines throughout the grounds so you can stop for a nibble and something to drink while you explore the zoo.
If you’re in search of hot food, Cove Burger Co. is sure to satisfy your cravings. Located towards the end of the trail, it’s the perfect pitstop for burgers, chicken and fries, ensuring the family is fed and ready for the journey home. Stop off for a bite to eat before moving on to visit the nearby Sea Lion Cove.
Address: Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.