New Bristol Zoo

A silverback gorilla at the zoo A silverback gorilla at the zoo

Exciting plans for a new Bristol Zoo take another step forward

Teams appointed to design the new Bristol Zoo site

Plans for a world-leading zoo for the south west have taken another step forward as Bristol Zoological Society reveals the team of consultants appointed to create its new vision.

The Society will develop a new world-class Bristol Zoo at its Wild Place Project site 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.

Now Bristol Zoological Society has announced an award-winning team of architects, designers, engineers and environmental experts chosen to bring the plans to life. 

Pioneering landscape architects, Grant Associates, have been appointed as lead designers and landscape architects for the new Bristol Zoo. Through their work, the Bath-based team aims to reconnect people with nature in insightful and distinctive ways while addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction. 

Grant Associates have previously worked on the world-famous Gardens by the Bay in Singapore as well as Bristol Harbourside and the YTL Brabazon project in Filton, Bristol.

The Society has also appointed award-winning architects and urban design practice, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios (FCBS).

FCBS has an international reputation for design quality, for pioneering environmental expertise and a progressive architectural approach. The work of FCBS has frequently been recognised in major industry awards, including winning 55 awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). 

Previous work includes the Bath Abbey Footprint Project, the University of Roehampton Library and a number of projects at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Bristol Zoological Society has previously worked with both Grant Associates and Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios on the development of a new conservation research centre in Madagascar, where conservationists from the Society work to protect threatened lemurs and their habitats in the wild. 

Momentum structural and civil engineers have also been appointed, having previously worked on the award-winning multi-million pound redevelopment of Bristol Old Vic and the temporary installation of a performance space in the ruins of the 12th century Temple Church in Bristol’s Temple Gardens. 

E3 Consulting Engineers will also join the team, having been selected for their award winning, low-energy engineering designs, which minimise buildings’ impacts on the environment. Their previous work includes the welcome centre at Westonbirt Arboretum, Bath Thermae Spa, Bordeaux Quay, Theatre Royal, Bath, and Bicester Eco Business Centre.

Avison Young have been appointed as town planning advisors and will lead the proposals through the planning process. Avison Young has been involved in many of the region’s most significant planning proposals over recent years, such as for the YTL Arena Bristol and the Wave – UK’s first inland surf destination.

Specialists have also been appointed to provide additional expertise including arboriculturists, Wotton Tree Consultancy; ecology consultant Clarkson and Woods; and transport and sustainability infrastructure consultant, Hydrock, 

Francesca Fryer, Director of Transformation at Bristol Zoological Society, said: “The opportunity we have ahead of us, of a new Bristol Zoo, offers the chance to create something truly spectacular at our Wild Place Project site.

“In addition to our existing exhibits, such as the hugely popular Bear Wood, Discover Madagascar and Benoue National Park, we will create immersive new exhibits which will link visitors to our conservation projects around the world, develop new veterinary and education facilities and provide the tools for visitors to become conservationists themselves.

“We look forward to the exciting collaboration process both with our award-winning, multi-disciplinary team of designers, the Society’s in-house experts and the wider Bristol community to create a visitor attraction that will be a beacon of conservation and environmental sustainability, demonstrating and promoting how together we can save wildlife in the way we live our lives.”

The appointments follow the announcement last year that Bristol Zoological Society, which owns and operates Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project, intends to sell the Bristol Zoo Gardens site to safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society and relocate Bristol Zoo to the Wild Place Project site to create a new world-class Bristol Zoo.

Francesca added: “We are excited to share our ideas with our visitors and supporters, and to hear their feedback and ideas on how to make this a world-class Bristol Zoo for the city and the south west, that we will all be hugely proud of for generations to come.”

Bristol Zoo Gardens in Clifton will remain open to the public until late 2022 and visitors will not see an immediate change while plans are developed further. Wild Place Project will remain open throughout this time, until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo from early 2024. 

Bristol Zoological Society will share further plans for the new Bristol Zoo site later this year.

Andrew Grant, Director of Grant Associates, said: “We are honoured to have been given this unique opportunity to help shape the new Bristol Zoo as an inspirational centre for wildlife conservation. 

“The Wild Place site provides a special foundation for this ambitious project and is the perfect setting to better understand our relationship with native and global nature and biodiversity. 

“With care for animals at the heart of the designs, we are excited by the prospect of developing a sensitive, ecologically diverse, creative and memorable experience for everyone.”

Peter Clegg, Senior Partner at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, added: “Our vision for the new zoo is based around landscape, biodiversity and a sustainable future. 

“We are thrilled to be appointed to the project and to continue to develop close relationships with the zoo to further their conservation and research work. 

“We are looking forward to preparing plans that make the most of the existing buildings on site and creating new facilities for the visitors, the staff and most of all, the animals.”

Bristol Zoological Society recently launched its new Strategy to 2035, setting out its commitment for wildlife to be part of everyone’s lives and re-affirmed its mission of saving wildlife together.

This new strategy 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, in its new home at the Wild Place Project site. 

Find out more about how Bristol Zoological Society is safeguarding its future.


FAQs

Why are you moving Bristol Zoo from Clifton to the Wild Place Project site?

To safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society we are planning to relocate Bristol Zoo to the Wild Place Project site to create a world-class zoo for Bristol and the West of England. The new Bristol Zoo will offer spacious, modern facilities, significant growth in our conservation and education work and an innovative and exciting visitor experience.

Our vision for the new Bristol Zoo also provides a unique opportunity to deliver an environmentally-friendly, forward-thinking zoo, that will be a beacon of sustainability, carbon neutral and net positive for nature, all the while promoting good health and wellbeing. The Zoo will work with the communities of Bristol, continuing existing conversations and starting new ones, influencing policy and decision-makers to ensure a sustainable future for wildlife and people.

You can find out more about our Strategy to 2035 here and our plans to safeguard our future here.

What will the new Bristol Zoo be like?

The new Bristol Zoo will be an inspiring, immersive wildlife experience with conservation and sustainability at its heart. A place where animals will have the space and facilities to thrive. New exhibits will link visitors to our conservation projects around the world and provide the tools for visitors to become conservationists themselves.

What about the legacy of Bristol Zoo Gardens? Many people have fond memories and it will be missed by everyone.

We realise the significance of this decision and we recognise that many people have very special memories of Bristol Zoo Gardens. But a lot has changed and many of the animals associated with these memories are no longer at Bristol Zoo Gardens, for very valid reasons. We know there is an enormous amount of civic pride in our institution. We will embrace this sense of pride and invite people to join the conversation to help shape the new Bristol Zoo. We want to create a world-class zoo that sets the standard for a modern, forward-looking zoo in the 21st century – something we will all be proud of and where new memories can be made for generations to come. This new plan creates an exciting new chapter for Bristol Zoo and we are confident and full of anticipation for what the future holds.

Will you be investing in facilities for visitors at the new Bristol Zoo?

The new Bristol Zoo will be world class. In Phase 1 of our plans we will create a new entrance building, which will include a new café and shop. We will be investing in the site and making the visit accessible to all, from wheelchair users to visitors with special needs.

How much will the new Bristol Zoo cost?

Over the course of the next 20 years, we plan to invest £48m into capital development of the new Bristol Zoo. This will be completed in phases, with the first phase estimated for completion in 2024.

What will happen to the animals that are currently at Bristol Zoo Gardens?

The animals will either move to the new Bristol Zoo or be rehomed to other zoos and aquariums, through a planned and phased process over three years.

What animals will there be at the new Bristol Zoo?

We are developing an animal species plan that maximises the impact we can make to the conservation of wildlife. We will also be reaching out to our visitors, members and friends to join the conversation and suggest animals they would like to see.

What about Alfred? Will there be gorillas at the new Bristol Zoo?

The western lowland gorillas at Bristol Zoo Gardens will move to the new Bristol Zoo. We are a significant contributor to the conservation breeding programme of this species. Alfred, the zoo's most famous resident will be remembered as part of the exhibition in the new 'Clifton Conservation Hub’ in the zoo’s iconic main entrance building to ensure the heritage and story of the Clifton site will continue to be told.

Bristol Zoo Gardens is iconic to Bristol, so why invest in South Gloucestershire?

We need to look beyond local authority boundaries to achieve our conservation mission and to offer the people of Bristol and the West of England, a world-class zoo which delivers on our conservation, sustainability, education and outreach ambitions to help address the climate and ecological emergencies facing us all. Our proposal has the full support of the leaders of both local authorities.

How many visitors do you expect to get at the new Bristol Zoo?

We anticipate significantly growing our visitor numbers in the future. Our ambition is to become a world-class zoo for Bristol and the West of England.

How will the traffic at Cribbs Causeway cope?

As part of the first phase of the development of the new Bristol Zoo, we will work with experts including Highways England to ensure transport impacts are fully considered.

How will visitors with no cars get to Wild Place Project? Will there be buses to the new Bristol Zoo?

It is important to us as a conservation charity that we are able to offer sustainable transport solutions for our visitors. As part of this, and to ensure that those without cars can visit the new Bristol Zoo, we will work with public transport providers to develop practical solutions. We are in the early stages of planning for the new Bristol Zoo, but there are already plans in place to improve public transport near J17 of the M5 motorway (linked to the YTL Arena Bristol development) and we will ensure that there are viable transport solutions for visitors to the new Bristol Zoo.

When will the new Bristol Zoo be finished?

We plan to complete Phase 1 by 2024. This initial phase will see a new entrance building, shop and café, improved car parking and improved access to the site. It will also include state-of-the-art Conservation Learning and Medicine facilities as well as a major new animal exhibit. We will continue to invest on the site in staged phases in subsequent years.

Why change the name of Wild Place Project to Bristol Zoo? Why don’t you just name it Wild Place and keep Bristol Zoological Society as a separate entity?

Bristol Zoo has a 185-year heritage, it is well known and respected within the city, the region, nationally and internationally - not only as a visitor attraction, but for our animal care, veterinary and conservation work. Although we will be selling the Clifton site, it is important that Bristol Zoo continues and can continue its important work.

Will you be involving neighbours and local businesses in the plans for the new Bristol Zoo?

It is extremely important that the Society engages with residents and local businesses nearby.

The Society will be meeting with local residents and businesses as part of the planning application process to better understand their concerns, hopes and suggestions. It is important to the Society that we are a responsible and good neighbour.

Will you be consulting with schools to ensure that you create exciting education sessions?

The Society's education team will be working with schools to ensure that we meet the needs of schools and students in creating exciting new educational programmes.

When will the move happen?

It is anticipated that the Clifton site would remain open to visitors until late 2022. Wild Place Project will remain open throughout, until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo in 2024.

When will we find out more?

Please check our social media or website for all the latest information or sign up to our newsletter to stay in touch.

If you would like to get in touch with us regarding the plans to safeguard our future, please email us at future@bzsociety.org.uk.

More information on our Strategy to 2035 can be found here.

Grant Associates Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. Photographer: Darren Soh
Grant Associates Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. Photographer: Darren Soh


Grant Associates Bristol Harbourside. Photographer: Paul Raftery
Grant Associates Bristol Harbourside. Photographer: Paul Raftery


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photographer: Peter Cook
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Photographer: Peter Cook


Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Cardiff Reservoirs Hub
Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios Cardiff Reservoirs Hub

We are open! Pre-book your timed tickets now

Book now

We are open! Pre-book your timed tickets now