EDINBURGH Zoo has been branded a “national disgrace” by disgruntled customers who claim the attraction is “empty” of animals.
The zoo is one of Scotland’s biggest visitor attractions but has suffered 40% one-star reviews on Trip Advisor during the festival period.
Complaints about the lack of animals, “extortionate” entry price, and dirty and tired enclosures have dragged the average rating between August 1 -23 down to 2.5 stars out of five compared with the overall average of four stars.
Wendy Spoon, in her one-star review on Trip Advisor, written last week, raged: “Worst zoo ever – we saw about six animals.”
Emma B, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, complained in her one-star rant: “This zoo is a national disgrace. Worst zoo in the country,”
One review from Alana Kelly, said: “For the price of the entry fee, I was expecting a lot and was sorely disappointed. The animals we saw the most of were wasps.
“Most of the enclosures appeared empty and were overgrown so it was difficult to see what was inside.”
TravellerEdinburgh rated the zoo two stars, saying: “The enclosures are very tired and hardly any animals were visible.
“I don’t expect to see every animal and am all for respecting the animals’ privacy, but these enclosures are dull and the glass is very dirty. The design makes for poor viewing. Quite a few enclosures are empty too.”
A particularly scathing review from Mattjjjj, headined “Total waste of money”, reads: “Should be prosecuted under the trade description act, it’s not a zoo! Maybe rename as what it is – a long boring walk on a hill.”
When a reporter visited the zoo on Thursday, paying £21.50, both the indoor viewing platform for the pandas and the Asiatic lion enclosure were shut closed for breeding season.
Parts looked tired and worn out and several other attractions, such as the Lemur Walk and Koala Territory were also shut up to three hours before official close of the park.
27-year-old Sarah Kelly, visiting the zoo that day, said she was disappointed with what she had seen on Thursday.
She explained: “There’s not a lot really, we saw a couple of penguins, we didn’t see the lions and it’s not much especially for what you pay.”
44-year-old Lee Robertson was visiting with his two young sons, he also said there was: “Not much at all to see.”
However, the Kent family, who traveled from Westminster, London, were more positive.
Mum Ruth said: “It is missing some of the key animals, it’s a bit light here and there, but we’ve enjoyed it, the scenery and the staff were lovely. The koalas were gorgeous and we saw the nose of the panda. It’s just some of the bits and bobs that are missing.”
Donna Rozzier and her sisters Charlie and Clare from Ipswich, Suffolk said they were extremely impressed with the zoo.
42-year-old Donna said: “We’ve had a fantastic day, we just kept going back and forth because we were determined to see the panda and we did! We’ve been here since 10.30am and been everywhere pretty much, the penguin parade is good and it’s definitely worth the entry.”
And Siobhan Gray who was visiting with her 4-year-old autistic son Caban said: “It’s quite autism friendly, they’ve been really helpful and given an accessibility map. The animals are great, a few things were closed off, but when it’s in the interests of the animals you don’t feel like you’re missing out.”
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Zoo said: “We continue to receive very positive feedback though our exit surveys and remain one of Scotland’s most popular visitor attractions.”
“Our animals are provided with varied and enriching environments, including places to hide in and foliage to explore, giving them an important opportunity to express natural behaviours. We advise visitors to make the most of our daily animal talks and feeds and to return to enclosures at different times throughout the day.”