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Dublin Zoo

May 25, 2018 : 10:30 am2:00 pm

Dublin ZooDublin ZooDublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo

PGG visit to Dublin Zoo – tour of zoo with curator and staff.

Stephen Butler (Dip.Hort.Kew, Curator of Horticulture) hosted the first PGG meeting in Ireland, in Dublin Zoo, eighteen years ago. He has given the PGG a warm welcome on many occasions since then, including hosting an AGM dinner. Stephen is retiring next year and we are having one final visit while he is Curator of Horticulture. Under Stephen’s skilled and dedicated stewardship there have been enormous and exciting changes in the eighteen years since the first meeting and the Zoo now boasts plants and plantings that rival any garden.

Dublin Zoo has, like many older zoos, undergone a radical change to how animals are kept, completely transforming the old style approach that had no sign of interdependence or co-evolution, and had no attempt at creating a natural habitat for the animals. Our inspiration for new developments always comes from the wild; we try to imitate the natural habitat to stimulate not just the animals, but the zoo visitors as well, immersing them in landscaped surroundings where our design hides buildings and fences, and our planting palette reflects the wild, giving a realistic feel to each habitat.

An ecological approach to our zoo habitats gives us a unique opportunity to educate our visitors, reinforcing the importance of, and linking our animals to, habitats in the wild, and helping to make the zoo a home for conservation, education, diversity of both exotic and native flora and fauna, whilst helping to connect people and nature. Animal wellness is at the core of our designs, and the horticulture team carefully select plants that contribute to this, maybe as food, or enrichment, or by attracting insects, providing natural climbing supports, or simply screening.

We invite Guild members to come and see how we have changed the appearance of the zoo and its different habitats – African savannah, Asian rainforests, Irish farm and surrounds, African rainforest, and Pacific Coast of north and south America. Our National Collection of Libertia has been used to revise the genus, trying to correct errors in nomenclature within many of the cultivated species. Apart from coping with 1.1million visitors now, we have other unique challenges here too, from finding out which plants elephants will not touch, or how many plants can we source that gorillas will not eat or destroy, to solving soil compaction problems produced by diverse animals – from flamingos to lions and tigers, and large hoofstock such as bongo and okapi.

So please join us for this visit. If there is demand we can organise visits to other gardens over the weekend. Contact Ann Golden, on 00353876210480 or anngolden@eircom.net


Meet at 10am, for 10.30 tour, in Meerkat Restaurant 100ms from Front Entrance. This is a public restaurant, coffee etc available, no arrangements needed as PGG members can pay for themselves as they go.
Tour for approximately 3hrs, returning to the Meerkat Restaurant for lunch, a table area will be reserved but again PGG members will be able to choose what they would like and pay as they go.


Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
Entry on foot through public entrance. Limited parking available in staff car park, entrance opposite Garda HQ, intercom on gate, mention PGG and Stephen Butler.


No charge for entry. Pay as you go in Meerkat Restaurant.


Email Ann Golden for this event or tel: 00353876210480.


May 25, 2018
10:30 am – 2:00 pm
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Ann Golden
00353 876210480


Dublin Zoo
Dublin, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 Ireland + Google Map