FAQs

Are you open?

Both Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project are open.

We advise you to book your tickets on our website, in advance of your visit. A limited number of tickets are available at timeslots each day and we ask you to bring your booking confirmation number and show this to the team at admissions.

If you are a Member, Corporate Member or Dual Member we advise you to also book your timed entry slot online and bring your Membership Card.

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee entry if you do not prebook your timeslot.

Tickets can be booked here.

When you visit us, we ask you to respect our colleagues and your fellow visitors’ personal space and continue to take actions to protect yourself and others.

Please also check our Updates Page for all the latest news. 

What measures do you have in place as we start to “live with Covid”?

To ensure the safety of our visitors, staff, volunteers, and animals, please don’t visit if you are suffering from an infectious disease such as COVID-19 or influenza, or if you are self-isolating.

You should follow any Government guidance on testing and self-isolation at the time of your visit.

Please remember that you have a responsibility for your own safety and wellbeing.

We ask that you respect our colleagues and your fellow visitors, respect their personal space and continue to take actions to protect yourself and others.

The Government advises wearing a face covering in all indoor spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. We therefore advise visitors to wear a face covering in all indoor spaces (unless exempt). This includes animal houses, toilets, and our admissions and retail buildings. We also advise visitors to wear a face covering in some outdoor animal walkthroughs where we feel there may be a risk of infection to our animals.

You are advised to sanitise or wash your hands regularly throughout the day. Additional facilities are provided throughout the site.

We are asking visitors to pay by card whenever possible, and some areas including our car parks and catering outlets, are operating on a completely cashless basis.

We have enhanced our cleaning regime and cleaning checks, but please let us know if you encounter any problems or have any concerns. 

I heard on the news that Bristol Zoo Gardens was closing permanently – can you tell me more?

We understand that you will have many questions, and we have prepared a video, a frequently asked questions document and news release. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be sharing more details and asking people to join us in a conversation to shape a bold new future for Bristol Zoological Society and Bristol Zoo.

We know that the closure of Bristol Zoo Gardens to the public on 3 September 2022, will come as sad news and the Zoo has a special place in the hearts of many people, but we hope that you can understand why we have reached this decision. This plan will ensure that Bristol Zoo continues to exist for generations to come, offering millions more people the opportunity to experience the magic of a new Bristol Zoo.

Bristol Zoo Gardens will continue to welcome visitors until we close to the public on 3 September, and Wild Place Project will remain open throughout the development phase until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo in 2024.

For further details on latest plans for the new Bristol Zoo and the Bristol Zoo Gardens site, please go to our microsite future.bristolzoo.org.uk and sign up to our enewsletter.

For special events during 2022 please go to the website what’s on section.

Why are you selling the Bristol Zoo Gardens site? Creating a new Bristol Zoo at the Wild Place Project site?

We have ambitious and exciting plans to develop a new, world-class Bristol Zoo at Wild Place Project on the northern edge of Bristol, which will set the standard for a modern, forward-looking zoo in the 21st century.

The new Bristol Zoo will open in 2024, offering spacious facilities, significant growth in conservation and education work and a ground-breaking, innovative visitor experience. You can find out more here: https://future.bristolzoo.org.uk/strategy-to-2035/new-bristol-zoo/ 

The move will safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society and help protect and improve the lives of threatened species, in a new world-class zoo for Bristol and the West of England.

The new Bristol Zoo will ensure future generations of children can come face-to-face with animals in nature, and that Bristol Zoological Society, which is a charity, can continue its critical conservation and education work, to protect at-risk species and habitats both in the UK and around the world.

When will Bristol Zoo Gardens close to the public?

Bristol Zoo Gardens will close to the public on Saturday, 3 September, 2022. This will be the last day that people will be able to visit Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Why is Bristol Zoo Gardens not staying open until the end of 2022?

As we are preparing to sell the site, we need a period of time to carefully move the animals, focusing on their welfare as a number one priority. This would be more challenging if the site remained open to visitors. We have deliberately scheduled this for the autumn and winter months, when the zoo is traditionally quieter.


What are you planning for the Bristol Zoo Gardens site after it closes?

We are developing a design for the residential-led scheme for the Clifton site. 206 new homes will be created, located in areas mainly where there are already structures, with a built footprint that is the same as today. The homes are planned to be a range of sizes to encourage a multi-generational community and 20% are proposed to be affordable.

As part of our plans, the award-winning grounds of Bristol Zoo Gardens will be open to the public, for free, after the site is sold. This means there will be free access to the 185-year-old gardens and lake, as well as a new, publicly accessible children’s play area.

The iconic Zoo entrance building will become the Clifton Conservation Hub – a public café with indoor and outdoor seating, exhibition space, education and meeting spaces, and home to the Avon Gorge & Downs Wildlife Project. It will be the Project’s base from which they will run courses, walks, talks, school events, play schemes, and holiday activities.  

The current theatre building on the main lawn of the gardens will also be retained, providing cultural, community and educational talks, workshops, and seasonal events.

Sustainability and ecology are at the heart of the plans, with landscaping designed to improve the site’s biodiversity. In response to the ecological and housing crises, the designs will hopefully inspire others in the UK to create new communities.

New life will be given to the gardens’ existing historical features, such as the Monkey Temple building, which will be protected for future generations to enjoy. Find out more here: https://future.bristolzoo.org.uk/bristol-zoo-gardens/historic-zoological-buildings-at-bristol-zoo-gardens-will-be-protected-for-the-future/

 

Will all the animals move from Clifton site to the new Bristol Zoo?

The new Bristol Zoo, set to open in 2024 at Wild Place Project, will be home to some of the world’s most threatened species, with more than 78 percent of its species linked to the Society’s conservation work — more than any other zoo in the UK.

We won’t be taking all the animals from Bristol Zoo Gardens to the new Bristol Zoo, instead we will be taking a selection of species that are most in need of conservation, as well as linking with projects that we are working on in the wild.

We will be taking the gorilla family, some of the lemurs, the red pandas, as well as a range of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fish and birds.

The animals that will not move to the new Bristol Zoo, will be found new homes at other zoos and aquariums across the UK and Europe, as part of well-established, cooperative breeding programmes. These zoos and aquariums share our high standard of animal welfare.

 

What animals will there be at the new Bristol Zoo?

The vast majority of the animals (about 80%), which will be at the new Bristol Zoo when it opens in 2024, will be linked to the Society’s conservation work.

As well as many of the current animals at Wild Place Project, the new Bristol Zoo will include a greater proportion of species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red Lists of Threatened Species:

  • A new Central African Forest area for the gorilla troop from Bristol Zoo Gardens to live with a new group of Endangered cherry-crowned mangabey monkeys. It will also include Endangered African grey parrots, Critically Endangered slender-snouted crocodiles and an extremely rare species of West African fish which visitors will be able to see in a new underwater viewing area.
  • A newly-created conservation breeding centre will house some of the world’s most threatened species of reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, fish and birds. Almost all are categorised as Critically Endangered’ or ‘Extinct in the Wild’. This will include rare tortoises and turtles, blue spotted tree monitors, Henkel’s leaf-tailed geckos, tarictic hornbills, bleeding heart doves, Socorro doves – which are extinct in the wild – Madeiran land snails, Desertas wolf spiders, Sumatran laughingthrush, rainbow goodeid fish, and much more.
  • A new entrance area will include a new red panda exhibit as well as new entrance facilities, gift shop and cafe. 

 

Many people believed that the whole of Bristol Zoo Gardens was moving to Wild Place, but this clearly isn’t the case.

Although not all the animals at Bristol Zoo Gardens will be moving to the new Bristol Zoo, many will be. Those species not moving will be found new homes at other zoos and aquariums. Our animal teams are working tirelessly to ensure they find suitable homes where the animals will continue to thrive.  

In addition, Bristol Zoo is about much more than the animals in its care. It is also our staff and volunteers, our education provision and our conservation projects, our veterinary work, and our science and research projects. All of these teams and projects will be moving from Bristol Zoo Gardens to the new Bristol Zoo.

 

What will happen to the animals at Bristol Zoo Gardens which will not go to the new Bristol Zoo?

The animals not moving to the new Bristol Zoo will be rehomed at other zoos and aquariums in the UK and Europe.

 

How will you be celebrating the last year of Bristol Zoo at the Clifton site?

We are looking forward to celebrating the final year of Bristol Zoo Gardens with you and will be sharing exciting updates over the coming months (details will be shared on bristolzoo.org.uk). The last day Bristol Zoo Gardens will be open to the public is 3 September 2022.

What changes have you made to make sure a visit to Bristol Zoo Gardens is safe?

Site rules

To ensure the safety of our visitors, staff and volunteers, additional measures will be in place during your visit. It is essential that you read and fully understand the information below.

Do not visit if you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or are self-isolating. You should follow the Government guidance on testing and self-isolation. 

Please remember that you have a responsibility for your own safety and wellbeing.

We ask you to respect our colleagues and your fellow visitors’ personal space and continue to take action to protect yourself and others.

We advise you to book your tickets on our website, in advance of your visit. A limited number of tickets are available at timeslots each day and we ask you to bring your booking confirmation number and show this to the team at admissions.

If you are a Member, Corporate Member or Dual Member we advise you to also book your timed entry slot online and bring your Membership Card or Annual Pass.

As part of the Government Test and Trace initiative, we are encouraging every visitor over the age of 16 to provide their individual contact details. Visitors can either scan the official NHS QR code on arrival or complete a form. 

The Government ‘expects and recommends’ face coverings to be worn in certain circumstances including where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed spaces. We therefore advise visitors to wear a face covering in all indoor spaces (unless exempt). This includes animal houses, through-ways and toilets as well as our retail and admissions buildings

Please arrive at your allotted time slot – you can arrive any time within the slot, but not before or after. We are not able to guarantee entry if you arrive outside of your timeslot.

If there are children in your group, please ensure that they are supervised throughout your visit.

You are advised to sanitise or wash your hands regularly throughout the day. Additional facilities are provided throughout.

We are asking visitors to pay by card whenever possible, and some areas are operating on a completely cashless basis, this includes our car parks, and catering outlets.

We have enhanced our cleaning regime and cleaning checks, but please let us know if there are any problems.

For the safety and wellbeing of everyone, if you fail to observe the Site Rules during your visit, you will be politely asked to leave. The responsibility to keep everyone safe, is one everyone shares.

Abusive behaviour to our staff or volunteers, will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

What are you doing in response to the changes to Test and Trace?

As part of the Government Test and Trace initiative, we are encouraging every visitor over the age of 16 to provide their individual contact details. Visitors can either scan the official NHS QR code on arrival or complete a form. 

Do I need to wear a face covering when visiting?

The Government advises wearing a face covering in all indoor spaces where you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. We therefore advise visitors to wear a face covering in all indoor spaces (unless exempt). This includes animal houses, toilets, and our admissions and retail buildings. We also advise visitors to wear a face covering in some outdoor animal walkthroughs where we feel there may be a risk of infection to our animals.

Please see our map for more information.

Are you accepting cash?

We are asking visitors to pay by card whenever possible, and some areas are operating on a completely cashless basis, this includes our car parks, and catering outlets.

Is there a cash point at the Zoo?

No, we do not have a cash point on site and we are operating a cash-free site. 

What animals can I see at Bristol Zoo?

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

How long can I stay at Bristol Zoo Gardens?

Your booked time, is your arrival time – but you are free to stay as long as you wish until closure.

Please note: the Zoo closes at 5.30pm.

Where can I park?

If you do decide to travel by car, we have two car parks at the Zoo. However, parking is very limited and we cannot guarantee you a space.

There is a £5.00 charge for visitors and a £3.00 charge for Members.  Please note, we operate a cash-free site and payment must be made by credit or debit card. On the day of your visit, please follow signs indicating where parking is available.

To find out more about sustainable transport options and incentives click here.

If our car parks are full, there is plenty of on-street pay and display car parking available in the streets around the Zoo, but please note restrictions apply and these are monitored by parking wardens. Charges apply Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm. There is additional on street parking on Clifton Downs, a short walk from the Zoo. This is free for up to 5 hours.

Is there a charge for car parking?

There is a £5.00 charge for visitors and a £3.00 charge for Members.  Please note, we operate a cash-free site and payment must be made by credit or debit card.

Do you have designated parking available for disabled visitors? 

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 surrounding 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.

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

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

When are tickets being released?

We release tickets on a one-month rolling basis. We will not be pre-advertising the exact time the ticket slots will be released for sale, so as to help prevent technical issues. We anticipate that demand may be high and we have taken steps to anticipate potentially higher volumes of website traffic, but we must also try to reduce the pressure on our website to ensure people are able to successfully organise their visit.

Do Members and Corporate Members need to book?

If you are a Member, Corporate Member or Dual Member we advise you to book your timed entry slot online and bring your Membership Card or Annual Pass.

A limited number of tickets are available at timeslots each day, and so we are continuing to recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

A dedicated Members booking page is available here.

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee entry if you do not prebook your timeslot.

What do I do if I can’t remember my Membership number?

Please make sure you have the Membership numbers for all your group before starting to book your tickets.

If you don’t have the Membership numbers of those you’re trying to book for, please email us on info@bristolzoo.org.uk. To help us process your email quicker please send us the full names of all Members, and first line of your address. This helps us to find the Membership numbers you need.

We are receiving a high number of email enquiries, and are responding to them as quickly as we can. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Whilst I’m waiting for my Membership numbers, can I buy timed tickets and then request a refund when I have my numbers? I don’t want to lose out.

Please do not ‘hold’ a time slot by buying tickets and then asking us for a refund after you have all the Membership numbers you need. Please only book your timed entry slot once you have all your Membership numbers. Our tickets are non-refundable.

I’m a Member and I’ve booked to visit on multiple occasions. Do I have to turn up for them all?

Yes, we ask that you turn up for all your booked slots. If you book and do not visit then you are unfortunately stopping others from visiting and limiting the revenue we can generate to care for the animals and carry out our conservation work.

Can I move my booking to another day or time?

Due to the number of enquiries we receive, and the need for our team to welcome and manage visitors on site, we are currently unable to move bookings to an alternative date or time.

Can I have a refund if the weather is wet, cold or hot?

Our tickets are non-refundable and we won’t issue refunds if the weather is 'too wet, cold or hot.' We are confident that you can have a wonderful time, whatever the weather!

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

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

Will I be allowed on site if I have a booking, but it’s not for the right entry time or date?

We ask visitors to arrive at your allotted time slot – you can arrive any time within the slot, but not before or after. If you arrive at a different date / time from your booking and allocated timed entry slot, we are unable to allow people to enter with tickets for the wrong date or time.

Can visitors smoke in the Zoo?

Bristol Zoo is proud to be a smoke free family attraction. Smoking and vaping are not permitted within the Zoo grounds. Smoking is permitted in designated areas outside of the Zoo entrance. You will need to collect a wristband from the shop.

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

No, however if you need to leave the grounds to have a cigarette then we will provide you with a wristband so you are able to re-enter.

Will everything be open on the day of my visit?

We continue to reopen areas wherever possible, so please also check our Updates Page for all the latest news. From time to time we may need to temporarily close areas of the Zoo to keep everything looking great. 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 and that may impact on their visit.

What areas remain closed?

We continue to reopen areas wherever possible, so please also check our Updates Page for all the latest news.

Will the shop be open?

Yes, the shop will be open.

Will the cafés and kiosks be open?

The Hide Restaurant 

Open daily for dining in.

Our menu includes a range of tasty dishes from British beef burgers and MSC sustainable fish and chips, to pizzas, pastas and healthy salads. We have a new children’s menu as well as a gluten-free ingredient menu (GFI). 

Alongside our food menu we have a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, hot drinks and of course our scrumptious cakes.

Hungry Monkey

The ideal stop for rumbling tums, with Cornish pasties, homemade sandwiches and hot and cold drinks. We’re also serving Marshfield’s organic soft scoop ice cream, kids’ lunch bags, and cakes. 

Coffee & Ice Cream Shack  

On weekends our Coffee Shack offers a range of Rainforest Alliance coffees and Fairtrade teas, as well our luxury hot chocolate, plus sandwiches, cakes, crisps, and dairy farm whippy ice cream and mini tubs.

West Lawn Ice Cream Van

Grab a refreshing drink or cooling soft scoop ice cream and take a break on the West Lawn!

Good to know: 

  • We are accepting contactless card payments only. 
  • Please note that undercover eating areas are very limited. 
  • The Hide restaurant continue to keep COVID measures in place for the safety of our visitors and team members.

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

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

We have an undercover picnic area next to our Mara enclosure. 

What happens if I start to experience Coronavirus symptoms, or need to start self-isolating, after I have pre-purchased my ticket?

If you start to display symptoms of Coronavirus, or begin a period of self-isolation after you have booked your ticket, we will happily rearrange your visit for an alternative date and time. Email us at info@bristolzoo.org.uk with your booking confirmation number and your name.

I have a complimentary ticket / gift voucher / free ticket with my Animal Adoption, how do I redeem this?

Unfortunately you will not be able to redeem gift vouchers or complimentary tickets online at this time.

Please arrive at admissions with your complimentary ticket and a member of the team will look after you.

If you are coming with complimentary tickets in a group of more than 10 people, please contact us in advance by emailing info@bristolzoo.org.uk with details of your voucher/ticket and your preferred time and date of visit.

Please be aware that the number of timed tickets available is strictly limited, and we are unable to process requests at short notice, so please contact us well ahead of your preferred date.

How are you protecting the animals? Can Zoo animals catch COVID-19?

None of our animals are displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus. To date there has been no evidence to suggest that the majority of zoo animals are susceptible to COVID-19.

However, as a precaution, we have been taking additional biosecurity measures with certain animals including big cats and non-human primates as well as some other animals in our care. In some cases, we have moved barriers to increase the distance between animals and visitors as a precaution.

We are liaising with other zoos to ensure we have the latest information available and will continue to monitor the situation. No animals at Bristol Zoo Gardens or Wild Place Project are showing any evidence of having contracted Coronavirus and our veterinary team will remain vigilant.

We also advise visitors to wear a face covering in some outdoor animal walkthroughs where we feel there may be a risk of contaminating our animals

When will ‘Animal Experiences’ start again?

Animal Experiences will not be restarting at Bristol Zoo Gardens. 

We have contacted those who had an Animal Experience booked and postponed as a result of COVID-19 to rearrange their experience at our sister site Wild Place Project.

If you had an Animal Experience booked and have not received our email or have any questions about your booking please contact info@bristolzoo.org.uk

What is the BZS Appeal?

The support of our friends, donors and funders is vital to realise the vision for Bristol Zoological Society and enable us to fully reach our conservation, sustainability, education and outreach ambitions for the future.

To find out more, please see our BZS Appeal page and contribute if you can.

I have a further query, how do I get in contact?

Please email the team on info@bristolzoo.org.uk with your query and contact details, and we will come back to you as soon as we can.

I have sent an email but haven’t yet received a reply.

Thank you for contacting us, but please bear with us as we endeavour to work through email requests during these unprecedented times. We will be in contact as soon as we can, and in the meantime thank you for your patience and understanding.

Can children come into the Zoo on their own? 

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

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

Your Zoo entry ticket will give you access to all exhibits, displays and talks within the Zoo (please note that talks have been temporarily postponed to enable us to keep visitors, staff and volunteers safe). Experiences which are subject to an additional charge include a children’s carousel, and our aerial rope adventure, ZooRopia.

To find out more information about ZooRopia, including restrictions and opening times, please click here. 

Please check the Updates page for latest information on activities which are available.

Is the Zoo suitable for people with disabilities?

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.

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.

Are dogs allowed in?

No dogs are permitted in the Zoo with the exception of assistance dogs. Restrictions apply. Please click here for more information.


We are open! Pre-book your timed tickets now

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