Things to do | Posted 03 Sep 2012

Scotland’s Edinburgh is a hive of activity during the summer months and certainly the place to visit if you want to immerse yourself in some of the best festivals in the world.

While we here at Jurys Inn have loved getting pains in our sides from laughing at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August (it has over 40,000 performers in 2,500 shows you know), there’s something else that has been holding our attention in recent months.

The arrival of giant pandas Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine) to Edinburgh Zoo last December made us all sigh a collective awww, and we’ve been keeping up-to-speed with the goings on of this adorable duo on the zoo’s Panda Cams ever since.

Edinburgh Zoo is just one of four in Europe to have giant pandas, and Tian Tian and Yang Guang have certainly gone down well with visitors. In fact, so popular have the pandas been that while viewing them is free it must be done on a time-ticketed basis.

As equal-opportunity animal lovers at Jurys Inn, we must also say Edinburgh Zoo is home to many other animals that will keep little –and big – ones entertained for hours. The zoo’s Budongo Trail houses chimpanzees, and is regarded as one of the world’s most “innovative” and “interactive” chimpanzee enclosures. Edinburgh’s sun bears Somnang and Rotana are enjoying their new home with all modern features, while a new walk-through enclosure allows visitors to see the white-faced saki monkeys up very close.

If you’ve an extra few bob and want to make the memory of your visit to Edinburgh Zoo last a lifetime, then it may be worthwhile paying extra to have a keeper experience. The newly-introduced panda keeper experience costs £1000 for an hour for four people, but much more affordable keeper experiences with lemurs, rhinos, creepy crawlies and owls range in price from £50 to £70 for an hour.

Edinburgh Zoo is just one of many activities to captivate in Edinburgh, with other highlights including the Edinburgh Playhouse, host to our favourite West End productions, and Edinburgh Castle. So, our recommendation is a simple yet genius one: spend a weekend here exploring the place, and book in to Jurys Inn Edinburgh to maximise the experience.

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