Edinburgh Zoo is back with stunning rhinos, a hilarious peacock and a possibly pregnant panda (I hope) – Hayley Matthews

Earlier in the week we did something we haven't done for ages.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 7:00 am
Giant panda Tian Tian was looking just beautiful when Hayley Matthews went to Edinburgh Zoo (Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA)

We drove all the way out to the other side of Corstorphine to go see the birds and animals at Edinburgh Zoo.

We were really excited to see all the changes and have a really good explore of all the animals. We turned up at 11am and it was so busy, so if you do go, my advice would be to get there really early.

The highlight for me was seeing Syd the peacock getting her lunch, which consisted of a whole rat, and she was incredibly excited about it!

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We were told by the zoo keeper who was feeding her that Syd mainly eats fruit and vegetables but gets one meat treat a day. The rat was huge and she clearly knew what she was getting as she came charging up to the gate with peeping eyes and a curious stance.

In all the excitement about her lunch, Syd aptly emptied her bowels in front of us all in preparation for her lunch. The kids found this hilarious and it made their day. For three boys at the zoo, seeing a peacock do a poop before eating a rat was a massive highlight.

The keeper also told me how peacock poo makes excellent compost – I was tempted to take it away with me for my begonias.

We had a picnic and then walked over to the parks. There are now several huge parks and I have to be honest we spent a lot of time in them discovering all the fun new spaces. The one beside the penguins was great and the huge park near the hot-dog stand also went down well.

As we walked round the zoo, we heard lots of oohs and aahs which we decided to go and investigate – only to discover it was coming from the rhinos. Omg! They were stunning! One took a wee run at his football and seemed to be having fun whilst the other walked about being boss! They were very majestic, as my son’s friend said.

On seeing the hippos, I mentioned to the boys how it's my spirit animal – I'm being serious! I get a feeling about hippos that I can't really explain – maybe a past life thing. I adore them. My eldest made a joke about a big bottom and I have to be honest, I don't have much defence in that department.

After an ice cream we walked up past the tigers towards the giant panda who we saw lounging on her back in the sun whilst munching on a huge bamboo stick. Just beautiful.

No idea if she's pregnant but here's hoping we find out soon because baby pandas are just the most adorable animal.

It really was a wonderful way to spend a nice day out in the sun during the Easter holidays and the great thing is, that it’s open and welcoming visitors again.

Being a charity, we wanted to buy a few things from the gift shop to help support the zoo. The girl at the kiosk was very grateful for our contribution and told us how it all goes towards feeding the animals and their keep.

I'm tempted to get a membership as it works out very good value for money and with the zoo now open I can see us going a lot more, plus I'm hoping to see a baby bump on Tian Tian!

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