Chester Zoo is a fun day out for all ages with plenty to see and do. Growing up in Lancashire, it is a place my parents used to take us to in the school holidays. Many visitors will just turn up and wander around but if you’re planning to visit Chester Zoo this year, here is some useful information that will really help you make the most of your visit.
An Introduction to Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo is a registered conservation and educational charity, supporting over 80 projects fighting to prevent extinction in around 30 countries. Not only that but with over 20,000 animals across 128 acres, it remains one of the biggest and best zoos worldwide. The zoo has appeared on several TV shows including Channel 4’s The Secret Life of the Zoo.
Before You Go
Chester Zoo is open every day from 10 am except Christmas Day and Boxing Day when the zoo is closed. Closing times vary depending on the time of the year so make sure you check ahead for full opening times before your visit.
The zoo has a free car park and is easy to reach from the motorway. It’s also easily accessible by public transport from the nearby cities of Chester or Liverpool. Admission is free for under 2’s and carers and ticket prices start from £20 for children. The zoo also offers discounts for group bookings and annual passes and NHS workers are also entitled to a Chester Zoo NHS discount.
Chester Zoo is well spaced out and divided into four distinct areas. Each area contains animals with similar habitats alongside other facilities and attractions for visitors. The zoo is well signposted and easy to navigate.
There’s so much to see and do at Chester Zoo, that you might not know where to start! Here are some of the must-see attractions to include in your visit.
The Tropical Realm
Home to hundreds of animals including reptiles, amphibians and birds, there’s lots to see (and hear) in the Tropical Realm, including a running waterfall and beautiful birdsong.
Here you can explore the environments of six South East Asian tropical islands and view some of the world’s most wondrous wildlife. You can see tigers in the bamboo forest and observe the macaques on Sulawesi and from Sumba, you can take a boat trip down the river.
Lazy River Boat Trip
After exploring Islands on foot, you can experience them from a different perspective with a boat trip and each of the 14 riverboats is individually themed around a different South-East Asian Island.
Created by play experts, Madagascar Play is a space for kids to go wild! There are tree-top hideaways, scramble nets and a sandy beach. There’s also a dry riverbed and Madagascan grasses to play hide and seek in.
Fruit Bat Forest
This is your chance to get up close to one of the world’s most fascinating animals – bats! As you make your way through the forest and head towards the bat cave, you might even be able to feel the air moving as the zoo’s colony of bats go about their business and whoosh past you!
Chester Zoo has plenty of facilities to make your visit more enjoyable and allow you to spend a full day exploring all it has to offer.
You are allowed to bring your own food and drink to the zoo and there are lots of picnic areas available. There are also lockers for hire where you can store your belongings, so you don’t need to carry them around with you all day. If you’d prefer, you can also pick up snacks or enjoy a meal at the food court or one of the many cafés around the site. There are also plenty of toilet facilities throughout the zoo.
The zoo has a gift shop and a sweet shop, both of which accept cards and cash, and there’s a cash machine on site located by the main entrance.
Wheelchairs, mobility scooters and buggy hire are available for an additional charge and the zoo has free Wi-Fi for all visitors so you can make the most of the interactive map and guides