Vannie Babbitt

Written by Vannie Babbitt

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Belfast Zoological Gardens, situated in the heart of Northern Ireland’s capital city, is a haven for both animal enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its rich history dating back to 1934, this stunning zoological park offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

Featuring over 140 species spread across 55 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, Belfast Zoological Gardens is not just a typical zoo – it’s a conservation center dedicated to preserving wildlife and educating the public about the importance of biodiversity.

In this article, we will take you on a fascinating journey through 19 astonishing facts about Belfast Zoological Gardens that will leave you amazed, inspired, and eager to explore this remarkable destination for yourself.

Key Takeaways:

  • Belfast Zoological Gardens is a century-old sanctuary for over 130 species, including giant pandas and African savannah animals. It’s a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and a symbol of conservation advocacy.
  • Visitors can hand-feed giraffes, interact with farm animals at the Kids’ Farm, and enjoy breathtaking views of the city while exploring nature trails. The zoo offers immersive experiences for all ages and inspires conservation efforts.
Table of Contents

A Century of Conservation

Belfast Zoological Gardens, established in 1934, has been actively involved in the conservation of endangered species for over 85 years. It has played a vital role in protecting and preserving the biodiversity of our planet for future generations.

Home to Over 130 Species

The zoo is a sanctuary for more than 130 species, ranging from charismatic mammals like tigers and elephants to exotic reptiles and colorful birds. Each enclosure is thoughtfully designed to simulate the natural habitats of the animals, ensuring their comfort and well-being.

Giant Pandas: An Iconic Attraction

Belfast Zoological Gardens is one of the few zoos in Europe that is home to giant pandas. These charismatic bears, known for their distinctive black and white markings, have captivated visitors with their playful antics and conservation significance.

Penguin Beach: A Cool Experience

Dive into the fascinating world of penguins at Penguin Beach, a specially designed habitat that mimics the rocky shores of the Southern Hemisphere. Watch these adorable creatures waddle, swim, and interact, providing a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.

African Savannah: A Slice of the Wild

Step into the African Savannah exhibit and be transported to the grasslands of Africa. Encounter majestic giraffes, graceful zebras, and mighty lions as they roam freely in their spacious enclosures, reminiscent of their natural habitat.

Primate Paradise

Belfast Zoological Gardens is renowned for its impressive primate collection. From mischievous chimpanzees to agile gibbons, visitors have the opportunity to observe these fascinating creatures up close and learn about their behavior and conservation needs.

Conservation Breeding Programs

The zoo actively participates in various conservation breeding programs, contributing to the preservation of endangered species. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts, Belfast Zoological Gardens plays a vital role in safeguarding the genetic diversity of threatened animals.

Wallaby Woodland

Enter Wallaby Woodland, a serene enclosure home to a group of friendly wallabies. Visitors can observe these curious marsupials as they hop around and enjoy the peaceful surroundings of their naturalistic habitat.

Education and Outreach

Belfast Zoological Gardens is committed to educating visitors about the importance of wildlife conservation. With engaging educational programs and interactive exhibits, the zoo aims to inspire a sense of awe, respect, and responsibility towards the natural world.

Giraffe Feeding

Experience the thrill of feeding a giraffe up close. With expert guidance, visitors can hand-feed these gentle giants, creating unforgettable memories while contributing to their welfare and conservation efforts.

Avian Aviary

Discover the Avian Aviary, a mesmerizing exhibit housing an array of stunning bird species. From vibrant parrots to majestic birds of prey, this aviary showcases the remarkable diversity of feathered creatures from around the globe.

Kids’ Farm

The Kids’ Farm offers young visitors the opportunity to interact with a variety of farm animals. This hands-on experience allows children to learn about livestock, their care, and the vital role they play in our agricultural industry.

Red Panda Conservation

Belfast Zoological Gardens is actively involved in the conservation of red pandas, an endangered species native to the Himalayas. Through research, breeding programs, and public awareness campaigns, the zoo contributes to protecting these iconic creatures from extinction.

Biodiversity Hotspot

Belfast Zoological Gardens acts as a biodiversity hotspot, housing a wide range of flora and fauna. Its carefully designed landscapes provide a thriving habitat for many plant species, attracting insects, birds, and other wildlife to create a balanced and diverse ecosystem.

A Haven for Endangered Species

As a member of several international conservation organizations, the zoo actively participates in breeding programs for endangered species. Belfast Zoological Gardens has successfully bred and reintroduced various endangered animals back into the wild, contributing to their population recovery efforts.

Events and Activities

In addition to its extensive animal exhibits, Belfast Zoological Gardens offers a calendar of exciting events and activities throughout the year. From zookeeper talks to animal encounters, visitors can engage in a range of immersive experiences, making each visit unique and memorable.

Spectacular Views

Perched on the slopes of Cave Hill, Belfast Zoological Gardens offers breathtaking views of the city. The picturesque backdrop enhances the overall experience, combining the beauty of nature with the thrill of wildlife encounters.

Nature Trails

Explore the tranquil nature trails that wind through the zoo’s grounds, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape. These trails provide an opportunity to enjoy a peaceful walk while discovering hidden gems along the way.

A Place for Conservation Advocacy

Belfast Zoological Gardens goes beyond being a tourist attraction; it stands as a symbol of conservation advocacy. By highlighting the importance of protecting endangered species and their habitats, the zoo inspires individuals and communities to take an active role in safeguarding our natural heritage.

Visiting Belfast Zoological Gardens allows you to witness the splendor of the animal kingdom while gaining a deeper understanding of our responsibility to protect and conserve it. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a memorable family outing, this unique destination offers something for everyone. Explore the wonders of Belfast Zoological Gardens and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the heart of nature!


In conclusion, Belfast Zoological Gardens is a remarkable destination for animal lovers and nature enthusiasts. With its wide variety of species, engaging exhibits, and commitment to conservation and education, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.From the stunning scenery of Cave Hill to the fascinating array of animals from around the world, there is something for everyone to enjoy at Belfast Zoological Gardens. Whether you are admiring the majestic elephants, observing the playful penguins, or immersing yourself in the beauty of the botanical gardens, each visit is sure to leave you with lasting memories.So, if you’re in Belfast and looking for an adventure that combines entertainment and education, make sure to visit Belfast Zoological Gardens. It’s a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and a testament to the wonders of the animal kingdom.


1. How can I get to Belfast Zoological Gardens?

Located on the slopes of Cave Hill, Belfast Zoological Gardens is easily accessible by car, bus, or taxi. There is ample parking available at the zoo, and several bus routes pass by the entrance.

2. What are the opening hours of Belfast Zoological Gardens?

The zoo is open every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm during the summer months (April to September) and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm during the winter months (October to March).

3. Are there any educational programs available for children?

Yes, Belfast Zoological Gardens offers a range of educational programs for children of all ages. These include guided tours, interactive exhibits, and special workshops designed to teach children about wildlife conservation and the importance of biodiversity.

4. Can I bring my own food to the zoo?

Absolutely! Visitors are welcome to bring their own food and have picnics at the designated areas within the zoo. There are also on-site cafes and snack kiosks offering a variety of refreshments.

5. Are there any wheelchair-accessible facilities at Belfast Zoological Gardens?

Yes, the zoo is wheelchair accessible, with ramps and designated parking spaces available. Wheelchairs are also available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you're fascinated by wildlife and nature's wonders, don't miss our captivating articles on renowned animal sanctuaries, breathtaking landscapes in Northern Ireland, and extraordinary zoos across the globe. Discover the incredible stories behind Twycross Zoo, where dedicated staff provide a haven for rescued creatures. Explore the awe-inspiring beauty of Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases the raw power of nature. Lastly, journey to Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, which offers a unique glimpse into the lives of countless species from around the world.

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