How to spend more time at the zoo; Get your science cap on!

March 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Another interesting week at Edinburgh zoo and lots of interesting times ahead.

Last week one of our education officers Barry Clifford took a trip down memory lane to return to his old high school with our Outreach team and their Wildbus!

The bus was down on the west coast visiting Ayr’s Kyle Academy, New Mains Primary in Renfew and Dunoon Primary too. Barry tagged along to Ayr and led the animal handling sessions for Kyle Academys S1 and S2’s.

Barry tells us ‘I left Kyle in 1991 with funnily enough no real aspirations to work with animals at the time, so I went onto Ayr College to do computing. It wasn’t until 1997 that I did my falconry training, then volunteered at Glasgow Zoo as well as Palacerigg I realised the extent of my interest in animals. In 1998 I came to Edinburgh zoo as a keeper. Going back to Kyle Academy was fun as I’ve not been back since I left but most of my old teachers have retired now, so although I didn’t see any familiar faces it was good to be back this time in a teaching capacity and see how the school has changed.’

Barry even made it into the local press and the teachers have reported the kids had a great day.

Be a Scientist for Easter!  This Easter, Edinburgh Zoo will be taking part in Edinburgh’s Annual International Science Festival. The science festival is a two week event running from 3rd – 17th of April and this year the zoo will be hosting a range of activities from talks, debates, practical activities, a children’s sleepover and even a cow autopsy!

Talks taking place at the zoo include topics such as ‘Biodiversity in 2010’ by the IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre and ‘What does the Future Hold for Chimpanzees?’ by Klaus Zuberbuhler, the Scientific Director of the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda.

Can’t get enough of all things chimp related? Then come and see the footage that was filmed by our chimp group here at the zoo as part of the chimpcam project! Or do you love a good debate? Then come and voice your opinion on the idea of reintroducing wolves into Scotland on April 6th!

There will be plenty of activities for children to take part in too. Children can come along and try using microscopes or analysing a dung sample in ‘Zoo Lab’, make enrichment for our zoo animals and see their reaction to it in our ‘Enrichment Workshop’, see how to identify an animal by its tracks, hair or feathers in ‘CSI Animal’, or they can find out about careers in the zoo in ‘Who wants to be a Scientist?’.

These are just some of the exciting events that we will be hosting check out what else is on offer at:

Many of these days are free with zoo admission but others require advance booking! For more information on what date the event you fancy is taking place or information on how to buy tickets visit the science festival website at:

Planning Ahead! Got little one who would like to spend more time at the zoo??

Zoo Club started in September 2008 and has been very successful. The club offers lots of different Zoo activities including learning about animals with opportunities to get behind the scenes, creating art and crafts, fun and games. It’s for children aged 7-10 years old and meets on the first Saturday of every month. This year is fully booked but there should be some spaces for the 2010-2011 session starting in September.

Our topics this year have included learning about the lemurs of Madagascar, planting endangered trees, taking part in the RSPB Big Schools Birdwatch, close encounters with some owls and dissecting their pellets to find the bones and fur of the animals they have eaten!

At the end of March we will be helping our environment with a recycling project and our end of year party in June has a dinosaur theme!

Keep your eye on the education pages of the zoo website for information  on how to sign up for our September 2010 to June 2011 sessions

Zoo Club planting Aspen

Meeting Tango the Eagle Owl and Elmo the Scops Owl

Do your bit!

And don’t forget. This Saturday is WWF’s Earth Hour! Do your bit for the environment and turn your lights off at 8.30pm this Saturday 27th of March. The aim is for a billion people around the world to take part. The zoo has signed up to take part. Obviously the park will be closed by that time but will be switching off its front lights to show its support! Find out more at


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