With summer just around the corner you may be thinking about visiting one of the biggest attractions in Bristol – the zoo.
A day full of adventure is promised with the Zoo’s 400 plus exotic animals and 100,000 plants.
The zoo has helped save over 175 species from extinction and is working on conservation and research projects across the world, from the Philippines, South Africa and Bristol’s own wildlife.
It has a clear layout and it is best to follow the path round the zoo starting at the red pandas.
Special mention has to go to the butterfly house, these friendly insects like to land on visitors faces and bodies, the keeper in the enclosure is known to give you a brief check when leaving to ensure you haven’t picked up a cheeky back packer.
And despite its age the park is friendly for disabled users with wheelchair hire available.
When to go?
Normal opening hours are 9am – 5.30pm.
Last entry is 4.30pm and animal houses close half an hour before closing time. They are open 364 days a year, closed on Christmas and 4pm on Christmas Eve.
Of course the zoo is busier around school holidays and weekends.
If you buy a ticket online its 25% cheaper than buying on the door. Prices change throughout the year – dependent on seasons and specific days – so be sure to check on the day.
One adult ticket will normally set you back £13.63, a child aged 2-14 costs £8.18, concession tickets cost £13 and carers and children under two go free.
On their website they give each day a different colour, either yellow or blue. A flexi ticket costs a little more but allows you to visit on both yellow or blue days whereas a Super Saver means you can only visit on blue days.
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What to do when you are there?
Every day there are a selection of talks on, you can go hear about the lions at 11am, giant tortoises at 12.15pm and the red pandas at 4pm among others.
You really need to make time to go to either gorilla talk and feed at 12.30pm and the penguin talk and feed at 3pm as these are spectacular.
Watching the penguins dip and dive for their food is going to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Both of these get busy quick and you want to be as close to the enclosures as possible so don’t dawdle getting there.
Summer screens will be hosting at Bristol Zoo Gardens for five days of film fun.
It promises to be a unique outdoor cinema experience.
Showing at 6.30pm from August 28 – Sept 1 will be family classics including Jurassic park, Green Book, Bohemian Rhapsody, Mamma Mia – Here we go again and Black Panther.
Special experience days
If looking at the animals in their enclosures isn’t enough for you – for an extra special treat you can also book an experience day.
The zoo offers a range of opportunities from being a zoo keeper to feeding some of the animals yourself.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is one of the few places where you can do a zoo keeper experience, an entire day of one-to-one interaction with the keeper whilst they visit all sections of the zoo.
The package lasts from 8.45am to 4.30pm, included a complimentary lunch and unrivalled access.
This experience is 16+ but there is an option for children aged 6-15 years to do the Junior Keeper experience for £125 which lasts for two hours. The zoo do a lion feeding day where you get to meet the keeper, go behind the scenes and take photos with the lions.
The once in a lifetime experience will last approx. 30 mins and set you back £150 for one or £250 for two.
If looking at the big teeth of a lion isn’t your thing, you could try the gorilla experience for £199 which will see you get close to the western lowland gorillas. The zoo also does cheaper meet and greet experiences with a selection of animals.
Getting up close and personal with red pandas or penguins will cost you £75 for one or £105 for two. Or you could go and see the lemurs, meerkats, giant tortoise or fruit bats for £69 if you fancied it individually or if you go as a pair it will be £99.
For more information check out Bristol Zoo’s website here.
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