Edinburgh Zoo’s Centenary Celebrations

July 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

On Monday 22 July Edinburgh Zoo celebrated its 100th birthday. It first opened its doors in 1913 with the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) Director Thomas H. Gillespie at the reins. Much has changed throughout the Zoo’s long history as it has adapted to become a leading organisation in science, education and conservation for species both native and international. There was an array of activities and events throughout the day to mark the occassion.

Actor, John Hannah with our penguins and 100 birthday sign

Actor, John Hannah with our penguins and 100 birthday sign

Penguins have always been an important species for the Zoo and much of the day’s celebrations reflected this theme. A one-metre-high three-dimensional 100 sign was placed in Penguins Rock – the new penguin enclosure that was revamped for the centenary year.


CEO Chris West with 3ft Penguin Sculpture

There will be a life-size, three-foot tall sculpture cake of a king penguin on display in the front reception for approximately two weeks. This wonderful cake sculpture, made by local Corstorphine business 3D Cakes, commemorates the Zoo being the first collection to successfully hatch king penguins outside the southern hemisphere.

Also over the past seven months the Zoo has been collecting special birthday messages from staff members and key people within the Scottish community as well as global conservation. The birthday messages are a montage of zoo memories, their thoughts about the zoo, what is important about zoos, they role their play in the future of conservation and connecting children with nature. Speakers include wildlife expert Chris Packham, geologist and broadcaster Prof Iain Stewart, conservation scientist Prof Andrew Balmford, Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith, Scottish entrepreneur and business man Sir Tom Farmer.

Along with all this, Jeremy Peat, Chair for the RZSS and respected Scottish actor John Hannah joined in our celebrations and opened the newly renovated Koala Territory, which is home to Alinga, Goonaroo and Yabbra – the UK’s only koalas.


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