Attracting more than 295,000 visitors annually, Belfast Zoo is one of the top tourist spots in Northern Ireland. Check out our guide to Belfast Zoo with details on its residents, how to get there and top tips for an enjoyable day out at the zoo!
Belfast Zoo is on a 55-acre site, located in North Belfast at the top of the Antrim Road, where more than 1,200 animals and over 140 different species have set up home. And what makes Belfast Zoo much more than just a tourist attraction is the fact that the majority of species housed here are rare and endangered animals – wildlife conservation is most certainly at the heart of Belfast Zoo.
Take Lily, the Barbary lion, who has recently been joined by her brothers Boris and Charlie in Belfast Zoo. Barbary lions are extinct in the wild and zoos such as Belfast Zoo remain this species only hope of survival. There are a total of six Barbary lions in Belfast Zoo although Lily is due to leave for another zoo (as part of an international breeding programme) – and she’s also about to embark on a career in TV, as she’ll feature on Animal Planet during Autumn 2008!
Other ‘celebrities’ at Belfast Zoo include Jasmine, the two-toed sloth, who hangs out in the Rainforest House along with a whole host of buddies including red-footed tortoises, greater necklace laughing thrush, Rodriguez bats and speckled mouse birds.
Or pop over to see Snickers the sea lion have a splashing time while you can also check out the penguins as they waddle and nose-dive their way around their enclosure. You can also view the magnificent white tiger, elephants, zebras, giraffes, gorillas and a whole variety of monkeys from an Emperor Tamarin to a Javan Brown Langur.
And as you make your way around the zoological gardens you’ll not be short of food and drink options with the Ark Café, Mountain Tea House and refreshment kiosks all serving snacks and beverages. The Zoovenir Shop will let you pick up a memento for your visit with a variety of gifts on sale.
How to get here…
Belfast Zoo is really easy to get to, as it’s located at the top Antrim Road in North Belfast. To get there by bus take the 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G or 2A from Belfast city centre.
If you’re driving, take the M2 Motorway, exit at junction two (Greenisland/Whitewell/Rathcoole) and follow signs for the Zoo from here. There is free car parking available and it’s worth noting that there is disability access to all zoo exhibits and facilities.
Find out more about Belfast Zoo.
Need somewhere to stay for the night? Have a look at our Belfast hotels page. Hope you enjoy your visit to the zoo!