Dublin Zoo

The Dublin Zoo, located in Phoenix Park, was established in 1830 and it contains the biggest variety of animals in Ireland. One of the best zoos in Ireland, it is also the oldest. In fact, the Dublin Ireland Zoo is the second-oldest zoo in Europe and the third-oldest zoo in the world. (The oldest European zoo was opened in Austria in 1765.) The Dublin Ireland Zoo is famed for its lion breeding, and one of its lions actually served as the roaring king of the jungle used in MGM ads.

Besides the typical zoo fare of lions, tigers, and bears, the Dublin Zoo offers interesting exhibits about the unique animals in Ireland. In the Pets Corner and City Farm, visitors can see Galway Sheep, one of the unique animals of Ireland. These sheep were bred in the west of Ireland and not have horns. This sheep is one of the important animals in Ireland because of the use of its strong, warm wool in the textiles industry. The aviary exhibit gives tourists a closer look at some of the bird species native to Ireland. Other zoos in Ireland may offer more native species, such as the nature center located on Rathlin Island.

The entrance lodge to the Zoo was built for roughly $60 in 1833. In 1844, the zoo received its first giraffe, and the beautiful tearooms were built in 1898. Many of the zoo’s creatures are not native animals of Ireland. One of the spookier zoo stories occurred during the Easter Rising of 1916, when the Ireland animals also suffered from the violent happenings. Zoo workers were unable to get out of Phoenix Park and meat for the animals ran out. In order to keep the lions and tigers alive, the workers actually killed other zoo animals for food.

Visitors can also explore the zoo’s gift stops, which offer “quality merchandise raising money for the continued well-being of Dublin Ireland Zoo. The main gift stop is over 2,000 square feet, and offers the largest range of soft toy animals in Ireland, as well as clothing, arts and crafts supplies, stationery, souvenirs, and photography equipment. Visitors can buy photos and paintings of international animals, as well as many animals of Ireland. The zoo also has an arts, crafts, and hobbies shop called Creative Instincts. In the African Plains section of the zoo (where visitors can gander at beautiful, but certainly non-Ireland animals), Out of Africa stocks a variety of African crafts, souvenirs, and clothing items. Budding zoologists can dine at the newly constructed Meerkat Restaurant, which actually features a meerkat exhibit within the restaurant. The Stripes Restaurant, among other zoo restaurants, also offers a variety of dining options.

The Dublin Zoo is open daily, with rates for children, teenagers, and adults. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Some visitors opt for zoo membership, which offers discounted admission to the zoo for a full year.

While the Dublin Zoo is one of the best zoos in Ireland with many foreign and Ireland animals, visitors should also allow time to explain the surrounding Phoenix Park, one of the world’s largest parks. This Irish park is double the size of New York City’s famed Central Park and much larger than any London park. With gardens, lakes, sporting facilities, a castle, and much more, the park is a wonderful place to while away a pleasant Dublin afternoon. Visitors can visit the Wellington Monument, the People’s Garden, Glen Pond, and the Magazine Fort on Thomas’ Hill. As with all outdoor activities in Ireland, be sure to check the weather, and don’t forget to pack your rain gear!

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