Belfast Zoo

Belfast Zoo, Newtownabbey: Tickets, Tours, Hours, Address, Belfast Zoo Reviews: 4/5

10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
Belfast Zoo is located in north Belfast. The zoo's 55 acre site is home to more than 1,000 animals and 150 species. The majority of our animals are in danger in their natural habitat. The zoo also carries out important conservation work and takes part in European and international breeding programmes which help to ensure the survival of many species under threat. Belfast Zoo is one of the top fee-paying visitor attraction in Northern Ireland, receiving more than 300,000 visitors a year.
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Popular mentions

4.0
937 reviews
Excellent
365
Very good
273
Average
150
Poor
84
Terrible
65

Roscoll
1 contribution
Wonderful family day out
Nov 2021 • Family
A beautiful zoo. We had a lovely day.
Really friendly and knowledgeable staff. Animals seemed happy and well cared for. Although some should be phased out, in my opinion, like the lions and elephants as not enough space for them.

Cafe at top of hill was a highlight. Amazing coffee and ice cream at reasonable price. Wonderfully cheery staff and manager who should give lessons in top customer service. Lovely staff in gift shop also. Really impressed. Would recommend.
Written November 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you very much for your kind 5* review. We are glad you had a great day out and hope to see you again soon!
Written November 19, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Posse29
Warrington, UK110 contributions
Excellent value, great views from cafe
Sep 2021 • Friends
Lovely zoo, great views from the cafe at the top. Some parts older than others but everything is being updated in turn. Well worth a visit. Good value, excellent staff
Written September 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a kind review. We are delighted that you enjoyed your visit to Belfast Zoo!
Written September 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Ulstair
Belfast, UK89 contributions
Great family day out
Aug 2021
Visited on Bank Holiday and had a wonderful time. Despite it being busy, the large site and staggered booking system, plus the one way system, made the visit very enjoyable. I would challenge some other reviews here who say the attraction is run down. We visited comparable Zoos in Paignton (2021) and Edinburgh (2020) and Belfast compares very favourably with both. The animal enclosures were all of a good size and they seemed well cared for (although the Wolf paddock was too small in my view - plus the zebras would be happier in a larger, grassed enclosure - more like Edinburgh - but overall we were impressed. The only things where Belfast lags behind the other Zoos would be in catering (poor choice and so-so quality) and the shop - which was poorly laid out and had a very limited choice - these 2 things prevented a 5/5 rating - since the Zoo aspect itself was excellent.
Written September 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a kind review. We are delighted that you enjoyed your visit to Belfast Zoo! We are sorry to hear about your experience in our catering facilities. The zoo’s catering facilities are operated by an external provider, Ability Café, and we will pass on your feedback for them to review and consider for future improvements.
Written September 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

tony h
Macclesfield, UK10 contributions
Amazing zoo! Beautiful location
Sep 2021 • Family
We were super impressed by the zoo. The location in the mountains itself felt like a travel moment alone. There were many animals, kept in surroundings that seem to mimic their natural habitats. Our highlights include the giraffes, chimps, sea lions, flamingoes, bears, lions, penguins... I have been to many zoos and I would honestly rate Belfast to be one of the very Bests. Go visit and you wouldn't regret it.
Written September 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are delighted that you had a ‘zooper’ day out at Belfast Zoo and we look forward to welcoming you back again in the future!
Written September 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AllSmallThings
Ireland71 contributions
None of the cafe staff wore masks!!
Aug 2021
After arriving at the treetop cafe on a hot day we thought we would grab something nice. I walked in with my mask on only to find 4 staff members and none of them wearing masks. I find it difficult to believe they all were exempt. Needless to say I turned around and walked out. Surely staff serving food should be doing so in a safe manner.

Toilets - If you are concerned in any way about covid I suggest you avoid belfast zoo. I saw quite a number of people going in, none wearing masks even though they wore masks going into the reception at the zoo. Staff should be ensuring they remind people as in other venues. We arrived early so we left quite early, on leaving my husband used the toilets only to find the bin overflowing, clearly they are not being checked or cleaned regularly.
Written August 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are sorry to hear you were disappointed with your visit to Belfast Zoo. The zoo’s catering facilities are operated by an external provider, Ability Café, however we expect the contractor to provide the high level of customer service that we strive for and follow all Covid-19 guidelines in place. Ability Café have perspex screens installed to shield visitors from staff, and Ability Café will continue to follow government advice regarding Covid-19. Our new outdoor ‘zoo trek’ follows a one-way system that allows visitors to view the entire site while maintaining social distancing. We have set a limit on our daily visitor numbers, implemented a pre-booking requirement and have staggered arrival times to reduce long queues and visitors onsite at one time. We have installed 40 hand sanitiser stations across the site which are supported by onsite signage. Staff regularly clean toilets, benches, turnstiles and animal houses throughout the day. We have installed Perspex screens at face-to-face points in the Visitor Centre and in the catering facilities. Our Visitor Code of Conduct has been updated to include new Covid-19 rules which are also communicated throughout the zoo. Visitors are reminded to maintain social distance and wash/sanitise their hands regularly. Individuals must play their part in keeping everyone safe. We apologise that the above measures put in place did not result in a positive experience for you. We are grateful for your feedback which has been passed onto zoo management for review.
Written August 31, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

A Kanjani
Dubai, United Arab Emirates282 contributions
Amazing Zoo
Aug 2021 • Family
Amazing Zoo - well worth a visit!

We took a bus from city center / Belfast City Hall area.

There is a bus every 5 mins or so, and buying a electronic card after 9:30am is £3.50 for adults and £1.50 for children.

You can use and buses no 1a, 1b, 1c etc, make sure to reconfirm the same with the help vastly available at city center area.

It’s about 30 stops before you get off at Bellevue - and then it’s a uphill walk of about 7 minutes, with a safe footpath passage.

When we got to the entrance, we saw a huge car park as well, which in busy days was still having quite a few extra empty spaces, so if you drive it shouldn’t be a problem to find a parking which I believe is free, but please RE check the same.

You must pay for your park tickets online and it’s a simple and quick check in process.

The whole walk around the zoo takes about 90-120 minutes, depending on your speed and interest.

The markings are very clear, and they operate kind of one way access, so this way you see the whole zoo in an organized way.

The lions den is a restaurant near the entrance and serves good variety of hot and cold foods including options for vegetarians.

Very impressive and highly recommended 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and kind review. We are delighted that you enjoyed your visit to Belfast Zoo!
Written August 31, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

anitax
Bangor, UK1 contribution
Run down and empty!
Aug 2021 • Family
Don’t think we will bother visiting again. More than half the enclosures were empty, very little animals actually there to see. The whole place just looks very run down and not well looked after. Actually felt sorry for the animals having to live like that! The enclosures were dirty and any animals that were behind glass were hard to see because the glass was so dirty. The play park was great but not worth going just for that.
Written August 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we are sorry that you were disappointed with your visit. We endeavour to make the animal habitats as natural as possible for the animals in the zoo. As such, there are certain areas in their habitats where they can go for privacy, resulting in them not always being outside where visitors can easily see them. Unfortunately, at the time of your visit, some of the animals may therefore have been out of view. There are, however, many animals in the zoo that can be seen at all times, both outside and inside including the Asian elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes, Grant’s zebras, farm animals, spider monkeys, gibbons, monkeys, Visayan warty pigs, Barbary lions, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos, chimpanzees, gorillas, the rainforest house, the reptile and amphibian house, California sea lions and penguins. We can assure you that animal care and welfare are our top priority. The zoo is home to more than 120 species, many of which are facing increasing threats in their natural habitats. We work collaboratively with zoos and conservation organisations around the world to ensure the future survival of these species through shared knowledge and breeding programmes. We are a member of several industry bodies including BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria), EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) and WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquaria). These bodies set out standards of animal care, enclosure requirements and animal husbandry. We are also regularly inspected to ensure that we meet the necessary legal standards for zoo licensing. Belfast City Council is committed to a programme of continual improvements for Belfast Zoo. In recent years the zoo has welcomed a renovation and extension to the reptile and amphibian house, the development of the Buzz Stop which is home to Irish black honeybees, upgrading of lion habitat boundary and development of a new marmoset and tamarin complex. The zoo is in the process of developing a range of other exciting improvement projects. The zoo continues to maintain and improve the 55-acre site to ensure that all animals are cared for in the best way possible. Enrichment is used to encourage natural behaviour and to provide stimulation within an animal’s environment. Enrichment techniques are varied and can include basic enclosure design such as climbing frames, planting, pools and sun lamps. We also try to keep animals in the group sizes which replicate their natural behaviour in the wild, including pairs, family groups or large extended groups. We introduce food related enrichment which encourages our animals to forage for their food (as they would in the wild). For example, our Asian elephants have pipes hidden in the sand which they must put their trunks into to find their treats, the Malayan sun bears have wobble feeders, and we provide the chimpanzees with treats in an artificial termite mound which requires them to use tools to get the food out. We also have termite mounds for our giant anteaters and in hot weather we provide frozen treats for the bears, apes and lions, which is both challenging and a great way to cool them down. We also introduce enrichment which stimulates an animal’s senses. For example, we provide bags with different scents for the lions and bears. Enrichment is a key part of providing the best care possible for our animals. We are committed to identifying, developing and managing new and innovative enrichment techniques.
Written August 13, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Selina McG
1 contribution
Heartbreaking to watch the Elephants
Aug 2021 • Family
Last time I will visit Belfast zoo,it’s a absolute disgrace.Totally heart breaking to watch these beautiful big animals pacing back and forward,they look like they have lost the will to liv.......it actually brought tears to my eyes to watch this,I was not the only visitor to notice this,not one person spoke not took photos ,everyone just stared in silence ,only to agree “this is actually quite sad”These beautiful big animals are demented looking and I cannot understand why in this day and age these animals are kept in chains for our amusement....shame on you Belfast Zoo !!!!
Written August 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We can assure you that animal care and welfare are our top priority. The zoo is home to more than 120 species, many of which are facing increasing threats in their natural habitats. We work collaboratively with zoos and conservation organisations around the world to ensure the future survival of these species through shared knowledge and breeding programmes. We are a member of several industry bodies including BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria), EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) and WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquaria). These bodies set out standards of animal care, enclosure requirements and animal husbandry. We are also regularly inspected to ensure that we meet the necessary legal standards for zoo licensing. Belfast Zoo is a sanctuary for elderly, non-breeding female elephants from difficult backgrounds. Yhetto was born in a Burmese logging camp in 1977. The stars and numbers which you can see branded on her rump are a reminder of her tough start to life. She was then moved to Krefeld Zoo in Germany in 1980 where she performed daily shows and was hired out for events and circuses. Sadly, she was bullied by Krefeld’s other elephants. In order to avoid injury, she was separated from them and her feet chained to the floor for up to 14 hours a day. For comfort, she would bob her head from side to side. She will still bob occasionally, but this behaviour is gradually disappearing due to the daily care and attention we give her. However, it is unlikely to ever completely stop as it is a comfort behaviour. Occasionally, because of her background, you will see her moving logs around the enclosure. Dhunja arrived in April 2009 from Hannover Zoo, in Germany. Dhunja was born in 1973 and spent most of her life in a circus. In 1998, the German authorities confiscated her from the circus and gave her a home at Hannover Zoo. They removed her from the circus because of her poor health, and the bad conditions she was being kept in. She bears several scars from her circus days, and her slightly deformed back legs are a result of poor diet and being chained for long periods as a calf. Her circus history has not only physically affected her, but she has been left with some behavioural problems. Occasionally, you may see her swaying and bobbing. Belfast Zoo has lots of experience of working with and rehabilitating former circus elephants and Dhunja joined our non-breeding herd on the recommendation of the European Breeding Programme, the German authorities and Hannover Zoo. Belfast Zoo changed its animal husbandry techniques from ‘free contact’ to ‘protected contact’ in 2008. This management technique means that elephants and keepers never share the same space and all training is carried out in a safe environment, and on the elephant’s terms. This is for the elephant’s health and welfare, but also for the safety of zoo staff. However, our keepers do work with the elephants through barriers via the process of protected contact and this allows them to carry out essential medical care with minimal stress. Each elephant is invited to take part through positive reinforcement (such as their favourite foods) but this is optional and they do not have to do so. They have the freedom to choose. However, Dhunja and Yhetto are extremely social and are, in fact, extremely fond of many of the keepers.
Written August 13, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Nicole Lynch
Belfast, UK6 contributions
Long, uninteresting
Jul 2021 • Family
My husband and i took my two brothers (12 & 13) & our 10 month old niece on saturday 31st July. We had a great day, however we were very disappointed with the zoo itself. It seems very run down and not very well maintained. There are very few animal, you were lucky to get 1 animal in its enclosure and if u did get one it was far away and you could hardly see it. Plenty of monkeys, felt like i was at a monkey park rather than a zoo tbh. The best part was the giraffes and elephants. Lots of penguins too. The tree top cafe was swarming with wasps so that was pretty unpleasant, we ended up packing up and going elsewhere. Any animals in behind glass windows were hard to see as glass was stinking and steamed up with condensation. Its a real shame and pity because this place has massive potential to really be a great zoo, especially considering it was nearly £40 for us all to go. The shop on the way out is shockingly bad though, prices are extortionate and there was very little stock. We made it a great day for what it was, but ill not be rushing back.
Written August 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write a review, we are sorry that you were disappointed with your visit. We endeavour to make the animal habitats as natural as possible for the animals in the zoo. As such, there are certain areas in their habitats where they can go for privacy, resulting in them not always being outside where visitors can easily see them. Unfortunately, at the time of your visit, some of the animals may therefore have been out of view. There are, however, many animals in the zoo that can be seen at all times, both outside and inside including the Asian elephants, Rothschild’s giraffes, Grant’s zebras, farm animals, spider monkeys, gibbons, monkeys, Visayan warty pigs, Barbary lions, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos, chimpanzees, gorillas, the rainforest house, the reptile and amphibian house, California sea lions and penguins. Belfast Zoo stocks a wide range of souvenirs to suit a range of budgets and carries out regular stock takes to ensure an adequate supply of stock. On some occasions we may experience high demand of a particular item due to unforeseen circumstances or delays with our suppliers due to Brexit. We apologise that stock levels were low on the day of your visit. Unfortunately wasps are a recurring problem at this time of year, particularly around areas with food and bins, however we and our catering provider try our best to actively manage them with regular removal of nests, regular emptying of bins, use of closed-topped bins and using sprays. In previous years we have used wasp traps however as we now have several colonies of black Irish honeybees in the zoo, we have reduced the number of these to key locations in the zoo to avoid adversely impact our bee population.
Written August 13, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

relaxingbelfast
Belfast, UK183 contributions
Burning calories
Aug 2021 • Family
When I was small my mum took me for a day out in the zoo wow such a treat. It was in the old part of the zoo.
Time moves on I then took my 2 sons they loved it. And today I got to take my granddaughter.

Safe for me to say I still walk away from here with lovely memories.

It's all up hill and I'm not joking the older I have got the hard reality of it all really hit me today. Thankfully there is a lot of areas you can sit and have a rest with fabulous views of Belfast to enjoy.

The animals are very well taken care of. But I still sad for them stuck in the small areas they have to live in.

I think it would be a last visit for me, if you are going for a visit take good walking shoes, rain coat, jumper believe me you can get all the seasons in 1 day there.

Enjoy making memories ❤️
Written August 1, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for taking the time to write such a kind review. We are delighted that you enjoyed your visit to Belfast Zoo!
Written August 31, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Showing results 1-10 of 915
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing