Much ado about Pandas!

I apologise for the lack of post in a while – and when I was doing so well at keeping things regular! I promise it is not due to a declined interest I my blog, but more due to real life getting in the way. Two summer balls, a trip to Edinburgh, a dance performance, ceilidh, visits from friends and everyone at uni realising that we will soon all be going our separate ways means that my diary has suddenly filled up… however it does all provide valuable blogging material!

Going to Edinburgh last week was exactly what I needed as a bit of a break to get away from the world of job applications and the realisation that my time at university is very shortly coming to an end. We had a wonderful stay, and it made it so much easier knowing that everything had been paid for in advance – all we had to do was show up and enjoy ourselves! It also helped that the sun was shining. Having originally debated about booking a short trip abroad, we had the best of both worlds with warm continental weather, and saving money by staying in the UK.

One of the things which was top of both of our lists was a visit to the zoo, which I would certainly recommend. The only downside to the good weather was that some of the animals were a little drowsy, including the internationally famous pandas, but we still had a thoroughly enjoyable day wandering round. One thing I do have to ask, albeit a little controversially, is whether the pandas are worth all the attention?

Sleepy Panda

Sleepy Panda

I understand that it is a great honour for us to have two pandas in the UK, and that for many people this will be their only chance to see such an endangered animal, but the pandas seem to have taken over and I can’t help but wonder if they are attracting attention away from the other animals. I first saw pandas at Vienna Zoo a couple of years ago. I wasn’t expecting to see any so it was a surprise rather than an expectation, and there was certainly no need for the timed tickets that are required at Edinburgh.

When we saw the pandas, the male was asleep, and the female was hiding. Compared to animals such as the monkeys and lemurs who were incredibly active, they were a little disappointing. We came back later in the day when it was much quieter, and this time saw the female, who was now sitting outside. Again, it was nice to see the panda, but I wouldn’t say it was a spectacular experience. The gift shop is full of panda merchandise, suggesting that they are everyone’s favourite animal, but this again detracts from the other animals at the zoo.

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The pandas are great, and if you get the chance to see them then by all means do, but try to look past all the hype. The penguin parade is definitely still the event most worth seeing. I also had no idea that Edinburgh housed the UK’s only koalas, or that it was the first place for a koala to be born in the UK. I was excited about seeing the pandas, but I loved seeing everything else as well – Edinburgh has more to offer than two sleepy bears!

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