One of Scotland's leading visitor attractions has witnessed a surge in the number of 'terrible' reviews on TripAdvisor during the Edinburgh Festival.
Edinburgh Zoo, which has long ranked high among the country's top ten visitor attractions, has received a marked increase in the number of 'terrible' and 'poor' ratings from TripAdvisor users.
Each August, the number of visitors to the zoo increases substantially, coinciding with the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe when the number of people in the Scottish capital doubles.
But the past four weeks the zoo has also witnessed a spike in bad customer reviews on website TripAdvisor, which allows users to rank attractions using a 5-star rating system.
Since the start of August, a total of 89 visitors have left a review, with a whopping 63 per cent branding the attraction 'poor' (two stars) or 'terrible' (one star).
Terrible (one-star) reviews included on their own account for more than 42 per cent of August's reviews.
A number of those who left one-star or two-star reviews felt that the attraction offered poor value for money, while others had gripes with the zoo's general cleanliness.
John P wrote: "This zoo is a great place for kids to play but for animals you can forget it. Half of the animals advertised weren't there and apart from the penguins and rhinos the cages left a lot to be desired. Last nail in the coffin was one of the cages with birds inside....it looked like a sewer....felt sorry for the poor birds locked up in that mess....first and last visit."
And 762susanf fumed: "Best thing is the Penguins everything else is up a 1:1 hill and the animals wont be on show anyway, the Penguin cafe is staffed by off hand people who’d rather be anywhere else, the food as overpriced as you’d expect and mediocre and I’d wash my hands on the way out because everything is sticky and the floor hasn’t been swept id guess for 48 hours."
Meanwhile, there was more than one complaint about bees and wasps.
Reviewer beckycorbett said: "We were so disappointed after travelling 2 hours to get there and my son kept asking were all the animals were. The place was swarmed in bees you - we had brought a picnic and couldn’t eat it because no matter were we were in park if we pulled out the food we were swarmed in about 10 of them! One of the most disappointing zoos I’ve ever been too!"
Alanakelly25 added: "For the price of the entry fee, I was expecting a lot and was sorely disappointed. The animals we seen the most of were wasps. Most of the enclosures appeared empty and were overgrown so it was difficult to see what was inside. Saw a pandas back from a distance as the viewing section was closed. A big fanfare was made for the penguin parade and hundreds of people lined up to watch two little penguins waddling past. Not much of a parade. I definitely won’t be back."
The August figures contrast sharply with the figures for July, which show that just 36.6 per cent of zoo visitors thought the experience poor or terrible.
And if we adjust the available data once more to include all time reviews, we find that from 8,134 reviews published since 2008, a mere 14.4 per cent of visitors felt the attraction merited one star.
The Scotsman contacted a spokesperson at Edinburgh Zoo, who responded: “We continue to receive very positive feedback from our visitors and remain one of Scotland’s most popular attractions.
"Our animals are provided with varied and enriching environments, including places to hide in and foliage to explore, giving them an important opportunity to express natural behaviours. We advise visitors to make the most of our daily animal talks and feeds and to return to enclosures at different times throughout the day.”