Join us for the BIG reveal of Bristol Zoo Gardens’ historical archive, during The Zoo and You celebration event Join us in celebrating Bristol Zoo Gardens’ 185-year history at ‘The Zoo and You, Memory Show and Tell’ one-off event, as we reveal hidden gems and rarely-seen treasures that shine a light on the Zoo’s history, before it closes to the public on 3 September 2022.

This must-see event takes place on 28 and 29 May and anyone can get involved.

Rarely-seen artefacts on show will include photographs, film footage, signage and records, from the Zoo’s long and varied history.

Our archive includes a letter from Charles Darwin and an animal order list dating back to 1836 – Bristol Zoo Gardens is the fifth oldest zoo in the world, the oldest outside of a capital city, and the first to be called a ‘zoo’. Throughout its rich history it has been pioneering, leading the way in conservation, the breeding of threatened species, and animal welfare.

We hope seeing these items will provide a fascinating insight, and for some it will bring back fond memories for visitors who have enjoyed many a day out at the Zoo, and for whom the Zoo has been part of their family history.

Share your memories

We are also inviting visitors to share their own personal keepsakes and favourite memories, moments and stories that span generations.

Gather friends and family for a fun day out, as you laugh, reminisce and share your much-loved memories of Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Join in our fun social campaign #TheZooAndYou to share your favourite memories, tagging us on Facebook using @BristolZooGardens or Instagram using @bristolzoo. We wait excitedly! 

Remember Wendy the elephant?

Or maybe you have family members who rode Rosie the elephant during the 1940s and 50s, or perhaps they saw her on one of her walks into Clifton Village. Perhaps you have a family story about Alfred the gorilla who resided at the Zoo between 1930 and 1948. Or maybe you came on a first date to the Zoo, were married here, or witnessed your child’s first steps on the main lawn? Whatever memories you have, we would love you to share them with us – new and old alike!

Learn about the Zoo’s history

A programme of fascinating talks will take place to share the history of the iconic site and show the important role Bristol Zoo Gardens has played in world-renowned conservation work.

Bristol Zoo Gardens has welcomed many thousands of visitors each year, since opening in 1836. In total, Bristol Zoo Gardens has welcomed more than 90 million visitors. It has been home to tens of thousands of animals and earned international acclaim for its conservation breeding programmes.

Visit before we close to the public

Don’t forget Bristol Zoo Gardens will close on 3 September 2022, before the new Bristol Zoo opens at Wild Place Project in 2024. Throughout that period, Wild Place Project will continue to welcome visitors as usual. For up-to-date information on our Strategy to 2035 and plans, please go to our microsite and sign up for the enewsletter.

Check out the website for news of other ‘The Zoo and You’ events, including a Poetry and Story Competition, and our big summer celebrations.

We are open! Pre-book your timed tickets now

Book now

We are open! Pre-book your timed tickets now