Story and Poetry Competition ​To celebrate the final summer at Bristol Zoo Gardens, we are inviting you to enter The Zoo and You Poetry and Story Competition, to capture your thoughts, feelings and memories about the 185-year old attraction.
Watch poetry tutorials

Bristol Zoo Gardens has been working with the acclaimed Bristol City Poet, Caleb Parkin, to create a series of must-see online poetry classes with top tips and advice on honing your literary skills. Get creative and join in celebrating Bristol Zoo Gardens through the written word.

The competition opened on 11 May, with the release of a new poem, inspired by the Zoo, by Bristol City Poet, Caleb Parkin, titled What We Animals Do. The competition closes on 30 June 2022.

Watch Caleb read his fantastic poem in the video below.

How to enter the competition

The competition is open to anyone and will be categorised by age groups 11 and under, 12 to 17-year-olds, and 18 and over.

To enter, download and complete the entry form and send it to

All entries must be received by Thursday 30 June 2022.

Entries to The Zoo and You Poetry and Story Competition will be judged by Caleb Parkin, Bath-based poet Pey Oh, and literary scholar Dr Samantha Walton.

Read our terms and conditions for full details on the competition.

Shine a light on your memory

We will capture the incredible memories and moments that you share with us as part of a special exhibition to mark the final year of Bristol Zoo Gardens after it closes to the public on 3 September 2022, and some will be included in our special timeline on site during our last summer.

We can’t wait to read your stories and poems, which recall or imagine experiences, and look ahead to leafy futures for Bristol Zoo (our Wild Place Project site will remain open until it becomes Bristol Zoo in 2024).

Be creaturely creative and visionary in your writing!

Fantastic prizes for our literary champs!

Entrants will have the chance to win a family ticket, a goody bag AND have their entry displayed in the new Bristol Zoo and the Clifton Conservation Hub. Shortlisted winners will

also be invited to participate in an official prize-giving event at Bristol Zoo Gardens, as part of the venue’s summer celebration programme.

For schools

The online classes will be shared with schools across the city to encourage primary and secondary pupils to participate. If you are a teacher and would like to receive the online classes please email

Summer celebrations

The Poetry and Story Competition is part of a series of exciting events, activities and exhibitions that will take place over the course of the summer months to celebrate this closing chapter for Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The historic Clifton site will close its gates to the public on Saturday 3 September 2022, before the new Bristol Zoo opens at Wild Place Project in 2024. Throughout this period, Wild Place Project will continue to welcome visitors as usual.

Stay in the loop

To find out more about Bristol Zoological Society’s future plans visit

For the latest news and updates from Bristol Zoo Gardens follow us @bristolzoo on Instagram, @BristolZooGdns on Twitter, and @BristolZooGardens on Facebook. Join in our social campaign #TheZooAndYou by sharing your favourite memories of Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Or sign up to our enewsletter at the bottom of the page to hear about our thrilling summer events and receive exclusive content.

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