Bristol Zoo Gardens marks closing chapter with a BIG Summer Send Off

Over the spring and summer months, Bristol Zoo Gardens is inviting the public to celebrate its 186-year history, ahead of its final day open to the public on September 3.

A series of special events, activities and attractions will take place from May to September, marking this closing chapter and honouring the long, rich and varied history of this iconic visitor attraction.

a red panda with an orange and white face, white pointy ears and a black body, is scratching it's face with it's foot.

Starting in May, the first in a series of events entitled ‘The Zoo and You’ will kickstart the festivities. The series will begin with a ‘Poetry and Story Competition’ launched on Wednesday 11 May, followed by a ‘Memory Show and Tell’ event on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May’, and a live art exhibition later in the spring.

These one-off events will allow the public to reminisce, and share their favourite memories and stories that span generations. 

From July 21, the zoo will mark its last summer season with the ‘BIG Summer Send Off’, a collection of fun-filled interactive activities and attractions, which will be open for the duration of the school summer holidays.

This programme of events has been designed in partnership with the award-winning and Bristol-based theatrical events company, Bakehouse Factory.

an infant gorilla holding a piece of straw in it's mouth

Simon Garrett, Head of Public Engagement for Bristol Zoo Gardens, commented: “This summer marks a significant milestone in Bristol Zoo Gardens’ incredible story. 

“As we prepare to close the gates to the Clifton site after more than 185 years, we want to ensure we give this famous zoo attraction the send off it deserves and share that celebration with visitors from Bristol and beyond. 

“As well as looking back on so many special moments and memories, our summer events will look to the future of the new Bristol Zoo, which we will create at our Wild Place site.''

The BIG Summer Send Off will feature a collaborative timeline exhibit on Bristol Zoo Gardens’ historic top terrace. The exhibit will evolve over the summer, as visitors add their own memories, thoughts and wishes to the colourful installation

The centrepiece of the celebrations will be a huge interactive art installation that will stand tall on the main lawn. With details still to be announced, this specially commissioned sculpture will mark a pivotal moment in time and captivate visitors.

Families will also have the chance to immerse themselves in a fun interactive theatrical experience especially written for Bristol Zoo Gardens’ final summer. The shared experience will take families on an adventure as they explore and learn about animals, and the positive action we can all take to protect the future of the planet.

Kate Statham, managing director, Bakehouse Factory commented: “It’s an honour to play a part in this special summer programme, which will mark a significant moment in Bristol’s cultural history. 

“There is so much inspiration to be drawn from the Zoo’s vast history, but we also wanted to ensure this family programme marked a moment in time, creating new magical memories. With this programme, you can expect lots of interaction. A festival atmosphere that will span the whole of the summer holidays.”

Tickets for the BIG Summer Send Off are now available to purchase on Bristol Zoo’s website.

Now’s your last chance to visit before the Zoo’s last day 03.09.22

Book now

Now’s your last chance to visit before the Zoo’s last day 03.09.22