General FAQs

Bristol Zoological Society has temporarily closed Bristol Zoo Gardens as a response to the continuing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Please read our latest statement here.

Q: Can I purchase food at the Zoo? 

A: Yes, the Zoo has a number of excellent catering outlets that offer delicious hot and cold meals and snacks. To find out more click here.

Q: Are we allowed to bring in food to have a picnic?

A: Yes, if you wish to bring a picnic we have a number of picnic tables and benches around the Zoo, or public lawns that you can use. Please note we are unable to provide storage facilities, and barbeques are not permitted inside the Zoo.

Q: Are there any areas to eat a picnic that are undercover?

A: Yes, there is a small undercover picnic area next to our Gorilla Island, and a larger undercover picnic area next to our mara enclosure. Please be aware that on damp days these can fill up quickly.

Q: Where can I park?

A: The Zoo has two car parks and permission to use overflow parking on Ladies Mile on Durdham Downs at certain times during the year. Please note parking is limited and we cannot guarantee you a space. On the day of your visit please follow signs indicating where parking is available. If our car parks are full, there is limited on-street pay and display car parking available in the streets around the Zoo, but please note restrictions apply and these are closely monitored by parking wardens. Charges apply Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm. On-street parking in pay and display bays is free after 5pm and at weekends. Please be aware that sometimes it will appear that spaces are available in our car parks when they are showing as full. This is because on busy days we occasionally reserve additional spaces specifically for blue badge holders. To find out more about sustainable transport options and incentives click here.

Q: Is there a charge for car parking.

A: Yes, there is a £4.50 charge for parking and a £2.50 charge for members. Parking for blue badge holders is free of charges.

Q: Is there somewhere I can charge my electric car?

A: Yes, we have electric charge points in our North Car Park for guests and members of the public to charge their electric cars.

Q: Do you have designated parking available for disabled visitors? 

A: Yes, we have designated spaces in our North Car Park for blue badge holders. If these are full when you arrive, our car park team will do their best to find you a suitable space. Pay and display parking is also available in the streets around the Zoo and this may be free of charge when a blue badge is displayed. Please check parking meter information and restrictions prior to parking.

Q: Can we bring scooters or bicycles into the Zoo with us?

 A: We do not allow scooters, bicycles, skateboards, roller skates, or ball games into the Zoo. Bike racks are available near the Zoo entrance.

Q: Can visitors smoke in the Zoo?

 A: Bristol Zoo is proud to be a SmokeFree family attraction. Smoking and vaping are not permitted within the Zoo grounds. Smoking is permitted in designated areas outside of the Zoo entrance.

Q: Can we leave the Zoo and come back in later in the day?

 A: Yes, we can stamp your hand for same day return if you ask our staff at the main entrance.

Q: Can we use the shop without paying to get into the Zoo?

A: Yes, guests can just visit the shop without paying admission if they wish.   

Q: Is there a cash point at the Zoo?

A: No, we do not have a cash point on site. However, cashback is available at our main entrance until 4.30pm (summer) or 4.00pm (winter), for a charge of 50 pence or at any time from our main gate gift shop with any purchase using a debit card.

Q: I booked tickets online, but I can’t make it today. Can I use my tickets on a different day?

A: Yes, if you have booked super-saver tickets, your tickets are valid for any super-saver date in 2019, or you can pay the difference on arrival if you wish to visit on a flexi date in 2019. If you booked flexi tickets, your tickets are valid for any flexi or super-saver date in 2019.

Q: Can children come into the Zoo on their own? 

A: Children aged 14 and under must be accompanied by an adult at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Q: What animals can I see at Bristol Zoo?

A: To find a full list of our animals, gardens exhibits click here.

Q: Will everything be open on the day of my visit?  

A: We're open 364 days a year, so from time to time we may need to temporarily close areas of the Zoo to keep everything looking great all year long. Check our updates page prior to visiting to see what we’re working on. Additionally, sometimes we may need to close an area of the Zoo or an animal house at late notice, for instance if we have welcomed a new arrival or need to perform a veterinary procedure. We always try to minimise guest disruption in these cases and let our guests know as soon as possible if something has happened that is outside of our control that may impact on their visit.

Q: If it is raining, will I still be able to see the animals? 

A: All of our animals have off-show areas they can access at any time if they wish, so we cannot guarantee that you will see a particular animal. However, we have several animal houses with indoor viewing so there’s always plenty to see, whatever the weather. If you cannot see an animal first time round, we recommend that you pop back later to see if you can spot it then. Attending scheduled talks and feeds is also a great idea as this tends to be when the animals are most active.

Q: Are there any activities in the Zoo which are not included in the admission ticket price?

 A: Your Zoo entry ticket will give you access to all exhibits, displays and talks within the Zoo. Additional experiences which are subject to an additional charge include a children’s carousel, a bouncy slide, activities within our Activity Centre, and our aerial rope adventure, ZooRopia. To find out more information about ZooRopia, including restrictions and opening times, please click here

Q: Is the Zoo suitable for disabled people?

A: The Zoo is more than 180 years old. However, most of the Zoo is accessible for wheelchair users and those with walking difficulties. To find out more information about access, including details of wheelchair and mobility scooter rental, please visit the Facilities and Accessibility page of our website click here.

We have developed a visual story to support visitors with autistic spectrum conditions, to help them prepare them for their Zoo visit, and to introduce them to some of the experiences they might have while they are visiting. Click here to download the story.

Q: Are dogs allowed in?

No dogs are permitted in the Zoo with the exception of assistance dogs associated with Assistance Dogs UK (ADUK). Please click here for more information.

Q: What activities are available in the Activity Centre?

 A: Run by our Zoo volunteers, you can find out about conservation at the touch tables or enjoy some hands-on activities: face-painting, temporary tattoos, brass-rubbing, drawing colouring-in and badge-making (additional costs may apply).  

Group FAQs    

Q:How long will a visit take with a group of school children?

A: Allow four hours, especially if you want to include an education session.    

Q: Is there anywhere to eat our picnic if it’s wet?

A: A: Yes, there is a small undercover picnic area next to our Gorilla Island, and a larger undercover picnic area next to our mara enclosure. Please be aware that on damp days these can fill up quickly. Additionally, for selected group visit packages it is possible to reserve indoor picknicking during our winter months.

Q: How far in advance do I need to book?

A: Our advice is to book several weeks ahead, or even months if you want to book an education session. This is especially important if you are bringing a large group (100+) and you want to come on a specific day.    

Q: Do I need to pay in advance? A: You only pay in advance for your education session. The entrance fees can be paid for on the day you visit, or you can be invoiced after your visit, as long as you have pre-booked and we have secured your details. Please note you will also need to bring headed paper from your organisation on the day you visit to be invoiced.   

Q: Will I receive an information pack?

A: We will send confirmation when you make a booking. If you’re looking for detailed information on the Zoo, ideas of what to do as part of your day or resources such as trails then refer to the education section of our website.    

Q: Does the Zoo have a risk assessment?

A: Risk assessments are available on our education pages, follow the links for Risk Assessment Guidelines (for the Zoo) and Risk Assessment Guidelines (Education Sessions).    

Q: Is there a coach and minibus drop-off and parking?

A: There is a coach drop-off and pick-up point directly outside the Zoo on College Road. During our busiest summer period, marshals will be on-hand to direct your coach to a safe setting-down area. There is free coach parking for 15-20 coaches available on Cumberland road and space for 12-15 coaches on Parrys Lane. Please call Bristol City’s Coach Hotline for the latest information on 0117 922 2975.

Q: What entrance should we use?

A: Public, group and education visitors should use the main entrance opposite the Downs.

Q: Can we order goodie bags from the shop in advance?

A: Yes. You can order goody bags in advance of your visit. Prices start at £2 per bag and could include items such as pencils, badges and postcards. Please email retailsupervisor@bristolzoo.org.uk to make an order or for more information.    

Q: Can we reserve a table in the restaurant?

A: For selected group visit packages it is possible to reserve indoor picnicking during our winter months.


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