08/07/2020

Bristol Zoo Gardens to Reopen after Longest Closure in our History

We are opening our doors again next week (Tuesday, July 14) after the longest closure in our 185 year history.

We are the oldest regional Zoo in the world, and have been shut for 111 days (up to July 9) after closing at the start of the lockdown on March 20.

During that time, keepers have welcomed a host of new arrivals as life for the thousands of animals in their care has carried on.

They include a tiny tree kangaroo joey which emerged from his mother’s pouch during the closure. Staff at the Bristol Royal Infirmary chose the name Kiri for the little tree kangaroo which means ‘laugh’ in its native Papua New Guinea. 

It is the first time we've bred a tree kangaroo and Kiri is one of only two bred successfully in captivity in the UK during the past 12 months.

It’s been a busy time for the bird keepers despite the closure, as they have seen the arrival of two kea chicks, six brightly coloured sun conures, five hoopoe chicks and an African penguin chick, among many more.

Keepers and our veterinary staff have been working on site throughout the closure ensuring the animals have continued to receive the best possible care.

Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive, said: “We are thrilled to be opening our doors again and welcoming people back. We have really missed our visitors, members and supporters.

“Never before, not even during the Second World War, have we been closed for such a long time. It’s a great step forward and I’d like to thank everyone for the incredible support they have shown us during this difficult time.”

Next week we will reopen to the public with a host of additional health and safety measures in place including a timed ticketing system, one-way routes and extra hand washing facilities, to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

But Dr Morris warned that it is still a difficult time for zoos due to huge revenue losses and ongoing concerns about future revenue. He added: 

“We are very much hoping that people will continue showing us the fantastic support we have received over the past few months, and our fundraising appeal continues to be essential.”

Visitors to Bristol Zoo are now asked to pre-purchase and members asked to pre-book tickets in advance, online.

To find out more about the steps we're taking to protect visitors and staff from the spread of coronavirus, please visit our FAQs page.

We have also put additional site rules in place, which must be read before visiting. 

Bristol Zoological Society, which operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work at Wild Place Project and Bristol Zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.

In March the Society launched an appeal to ensure the future of its work ‘saving wildlife together’. The Society, which is a registered charity, has launched the BZS Appeal following the temporary closure of both its sites in Bristol in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out more, or to make a donation, visit https://bristolzoo.org.uk/bzsappeal.

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