Looking for a wild day out with family and friends? Check out our list of the top five best zoos in Ireland!
A trip to the zoo has been a firm family favourite for decades and is almost a given on any trip itinerary.
Although the Emerald Isle does not have as many zoos as the likes of the U.K., those it does have proven themselves to be popular amongst both locals and tourists alike.
So whether you’re big into conservation or simply wishing to broaden your knowledge of the animal kingdom, here is a list of the top five best zoos in Ireland for you to choose from.
5. Tropical World, Co. Donegal – a must-see attraction
Dubbed one of the county’s best hidden gems, this fully licensed zoo is home to a wide range of animals.
The main attraction is its butterfly house, which sees visitors surrounded by hundreds of tropical winged insects of varying shapes, sizes, and colours.
Alongside this, the zoo also has a reptile house, a primate section, and numerous other inhabitant. All of which can be visited seven days a week. Plus, with around 70% of the site said to be sheltered, a trip here is a perfect choice, no matter the weather.
We had to include this Donegal spot on our list of the best zoos in Ireland.
Address: Hazelwood House, Loughnagin, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
4. The National Reptile Zoo, Co. Kilkenny – Ireland’s sole reptile zoo
Open all year round, this indoor sanctuary is packed with plenty of fun things to see and do.
From the animal encounter zone to the tropical walk-through, there’s lots to explore. Visitors will learn all about the various creatures, thanks to the highly educated and enthusiastic staff members.
The zoo also comes equipped with a soft play area, souvenir shop, snack bar, and both indoor and outdoor picnic areas to suit the weather.
Other interesting features about this attraction include the ability to adopt an animal and the opportunity to scope out the place before you visit using the online virtual tour.
Address: Hebron Business Park, Hebron Rd, Leggetsrath West, Kilkenny, Ireland
3. Secret Valley Wildlife Park and Zoo, Co. Wexford – an award-winning attraction
Said to be one of the best zoos in Ireland, this 14-acre family-run spot in Enniscorthy is the only fully accredited Wildlife Park and Zoo in the southeast.
Home to over 40 different species, visitors have the opportunity to interact through keeper talks, sessions for handling and feeding, and numerous other animal experiences on offer.
Other activities available include adventure hunts, arts and crafts, pony rides, and quad-bikes. There is also an obstacle course, quad train, and indoor and outdoor play areas to keep the little ones entertained.
Address: Coolnacon, Clonroche, Co. Wexford, Ireland
2. Belfast Zoo, Co. Antrim – for a mix of exotic and native creatures
Owned by Belfast City Council, this 55-acre site houses more than 120 different species, many of which are endangered or extinct in the wild. Alongside their dedication to nurturing exotic species, the zoo actively aids in breeding several native ones.
Guests can improve their knowledge by attending the daily keeper talks and feeding sessions. You can also avail of adoption packages.
Other facilities available include the Rainforest House, Bird Park, small farm, and Adventurers’ Learning Centre (play area). There is also a gift shop, various picnic areas, and the beloved Treetop Tearoom and Lion’s Den café.
Address: Antrim Rd, Belfast BT36 7PN
1. Dublin Zoo, Co. Dublin – the biggest and best family attraction in Ireland
Founded in 1831 and set on 28 hectares of land in Phoenix Park, Dublin Zoo is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s star attractions.
Visited by more than one million people annually, the park allows visitors the chance to witness over 400 different animals in spaces designed to be as close to their natural habitats as possible.
The zoo also offers a high-end Discovery and Learning Centre and various virtual programmes for educational purposes. Plus, those at home can check up on the animals using the live webcam streams found on their website.
With adoption packages also available, it goes without saying that a visit to arguably the best zoo in Ireland is a must when visiting Dublin!
Address: Saint James’ (part of Phoenix Park), Dublin 8, Ireland
And there you have them: the top five best zoos in Ireland.
Trust us when we say that a trip to any one is sure to be a fantastic day for all!