Posted In Education | 21st August 2019

President of Ireland opens new Discovery and Learning Centre

On Monday 20th August 2018, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, and the President of the Zoological Society of Ireland, Michael Daly and Director of Dublin Zoo, Leo Oosterweghel, led proceedings at the launch of the new Discovery and Learning Centre at Dublin Zoo. The €3 million Discovery and Learning Centre at Dublin Zoo is Ireland’s newest state-of-the-art environmental education facility which provides immersive education experiences in biodiversity, wildlife conservation, ecology and zoology. The facility is open to students, schools and colleges throughout Ireland.

The Discovery and Learning Centre is an entirely new building within Dublin Zoo and includes two classrooms, a lecture theatre and a Discovery Centre.

The launch was marked by a tour of the new Discovery and Learning Centre and the unveiling of celebratory plaque by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.

The event marks the second official visit by President Higgins to Dublin Zoo – in June 2015, the President opened Sea Lion Cove.

Discovery and Learning Centre Facilities

The two large classrooms are carefully designed to ensure Dublin Zoo’s exciting, interactive programmes and workshops will be delivered to the best standards in education practice. The lecture theatre will host lectures and educational conferences for up to 110 people in its auditorium.

The Discovery Centre is home to a full-size giraffe skeleton, a model of a southern white rhinoceros, a pair of African lions and a nesting ostrich amongst many other fascinating animal specimens. It is designed to bring visitors on a visual and tactile journey of discovery about hundreds of species. It will spark curiosity and a sense of wonder for the natural world for all visiting Dublin Zoo.

Speaking at today’s event Leo Oosterweghel, Director of Dublin Zoo, said,

“Today not only marks a significant moment in the history of Dublin Zoo, but also environmental and conservation education in Ireland.  The new Discovery and Learning Centre at Dublin Zoo is a world class facility open to any student in Ireland who wishes to further their knowledge of the environment and conservation. We have designed this facility to inspire curiosity of the natural world.

He continued, “The establishment of the Discovery and Learning Centre places Dublin Zoo as leading provider of environmental and conservation education in Ireland and we are very pleased to have President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins with us today to open this fantastic building.”

Speaking on the role the new Discovery and Learning Centre will have in education in Ireland, Manager of the Discovery and Learning Department, Aileen Tennant said:

“It’s really exciting because the Zoo Education department has grown so rapidly in the past few years, and we will be able to grow even further!”

Groups looking to avail of programmes from the Discovery and Learning Department can e-mail or call 01 474 8932. You can also find out more about our programmes here

The Discovery and Learning Department welcomes 67,000 learners annually as part of tours, formal programmes and informal camps and workshops. The Discovery Centre, which is staffed by the Dublin Zoo volunteer team is open 7 days a week to the 1.1 million visitors to Dublin Zoo.