About the zoo

Entrance sign for Belfast Zoo

Belfast Zoo is home to more than 1,000 animals and 150 species, many of whom are under threat in their natural habitat.

Some of the animals you can see include:

  • Barbary Lions
  • Red Kangaroos
  • Spider Monkeys
  • Moloch Gibbons
  • Rothchild’s Giraffes
  • Asian Elephants
  • Malayan Sun Bears.

Other highlights include:

Bird Park

The recently refurbished Bird Park contains many exotic and endangered birds, including blue-bellied rollers, hornbills and white-crested turacos.

Giraffe and elephant enclosure

Thanks to a successful European breeding programme, the zoo is home to a large herd of Rothchild’s giraffes.

A total of 33 giraffes have been born at the zoo since 1996.

Other animals you may find in the giraffe and elephant enclosure include ostriches and Grant’s zebras. You can also see meerkats, Visayan warty pigs and cape porcupines near the entrance to the enclosure.

Rainforest House

The Rainforest House is a walk-through exhibition with tropical landscaping and a constant temperature of 27 degrees.

Animals housed in the Rainforest House include:

  • 20 Rodrigues Fruit Bats
  • Fulvous Whistling Ducks
  • Nicobar Pigeons
  • Greater Necklace Laughing Thrush.

Lake side

The stunning lake side is the first main area you will see on your visit to the zoo. The area contains picnic tables, a play park and a farm.

It is home to animals such as sitatunga, crowned cranes, Demoiselle cranes and Chilean flamingos.

Plants and gardens

Belfast Zoo is located on Cave Hill and offers stunning views over Belfast Lough.

The 55 acre site contains a rich variety of plants and gardens. Native trees include hawthorn, rowan, silver birch, yew and ash.

Plants are an important part of the zoo, as the animals rely on them for food and shelter. The animals also help the plants to survive, by helping with the dispersal of seeds.

Many plants have been selected for the enclosures to try and replicate the natural habitats of the animals. The Rainforest House, for example, has dense tropical landscaping which is ideal for the species who live there.

You can find out more about the trees and plants by looking out for the special signs around the zoo.

Belfast WiFi

Free WiFi is available at this venue.

    Opening hours

    The zoo is open at the following times:

    Summer (April 1 to September 30)

    • 10am to 7pm – Monday to Sunday
    • Last admission is 5pm
    • Animal houses close at 6pm.
    • The Zoovenir Shop closes at 6pm.

    Winter (October 1 to March 31)

    • 10am to 4pm daily
    • Last admission is 2.30pm
    • Animal houses close at 3pm
    • The Zoovenir Shop closes at 4pm.

    Getting to the zoo

    Belfast Zoo is located at Antrim Road, Belfast.

    View larger map from Google Maps

    By bus

    Metro services 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F, 1G and 2A (for Antrim Road or Bellevue) depart from Upper Queen’s Street in Belfast city centre and pass by the entrance to the zoo.

    When you get off the bus, you must walk approximately 500 metres up a hill to the Visitor Centre.

    For more information, call Translink on 028 9066 6630 or visit www.translink.co.uk

    By train

    The nearest station is Whiteabbey. It is approximately three miles from the zoo.

    For more information, call Translink on 028 9066 6630 or visit www.translink.co.uk

    On foot

    The zoo is located on the side of Cave Hill, at the top of Antrim Road.

    From Belfast city centre, follow the signs for Donegall Street and Clifton Street until you reach Carlisle Circus.

    Turn right onto Antrim Road and continue along the road, past Belfast Castle. The zoo is clearly signposted from here.

    The zoo is around five miles from Belfast and walking from the city centre takes at least 90 minutes.

    If you need a taxi, try Value Cabs (028 9080 9080) or Fon A Cab (028 9033 3333).

    By car

    From the north

    Approach Belfast on the M2 motorway.

    Leave the motorway at junction four (Glengormley/Larne) and take the third exit off the roundabout. Follow this road through Glengormley for one mile.

    The zoo is on the right, just past the motorway bridge.

    From the south or west

    Approach Belfast on the M1 motorway. Follow the directions for the M2 over the Westlink.

    Leave the motorway at junction two (Greenisland/Whitewell/Rathcoole). The zoo is signposted from here.

    Take the extreme left slip road and follow the signs for the zoo.

    From Belfast city centre and Co Down

    Follow directions for the M2 motorway. Stay on the M2 until you reach the second junction.

    Leave the motorway at junction two (Greenisland/Whitewell/Rathcoole). The zoo is signposted from here.

    Take the extreme left slip road and follow the signs for the zoo.

    From George Best Belfast City Airport

    Follow the signs for Belfast city centre.

    Join the M2 northbound and leave the M2 at the second junction (Greencastle/Belfast). The zoo is signposted from here.

    From Belfast International Airport

    Follow the signs for Belfast/M2.

    Join the M2 southbound and leave the M2 at the fourth junction (Sandyknowes Roundabout). Take the third exit and join the A6 (Antrim Road) towards Glengormley/Belfast.

    Continue on the A6 for around two miles. The zoo is on your right.


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