“ Clifton, Bristol BS8 3HA. Telephone +44(0)117 973 8951 Fax +44(0)117 973 6814. „
We visited at the weekend with family over from Sweden and here's my feedback!
- The twilight section was indeed very twilight, to the extent that we could not see any creatures/animals within the exhibition at all. Whilst I appreciate that these animals are nocturnal, the displays are pointless if you can't see anything within them.
- Overall the Zoo feels quite tired, it felt that it needed to get some painting crews in to spruce up the place and give it a fresh coating of colour, particularly towards the canteen area.
- We were disappointed with the pricing of the ZooRopia, after paying a fee to get into the zoo, we didn't expect to be asked for an additional £7 for children (for a 5yr old), £8 for adults to enter this very small facility. We appreciate that it is an independently run service, but it still sits within your premises and therefore represents Bristol Zoo.
- The attraction showing the bug/rat/mouse infested home perhaps purposely smells of rodent wee, but beyond the false guise it does seem that those animals are never/rarely properly cleaned out, nor have they sufficient space to run around. I personally felt quite a bit of sympathy for the animals.
- Space comes at a premium, but with almost all of the exhibits, we felt that the animals were cramped into enclosure that were simply too small for them, particularly the lions, monkeys and bats - these all animals that like/need space to run, fly etc.
Overall we had a great day, the parrot talk/demonstration was very impressive and the staff are all friendly and informative. Feeding the Marikeets was incredible and the Meerkats were adorable! Just a few tweaks and it'll be perfect.
However, in my opinion Paignton Zoo still remains the best zoo in the South West.
I recently visited Bristol zoo after my trip to Somerset. My cousin went to Bristol university and recommended that I visit the zoo gardens. I paid £12.50 to get in which I though was very reasonable compared to other zoos I have visited across the country! Car parking was £3 for the whole day which wasn't too bad, but other zoos don't tend to Charge for the use of there car park, I'm not too bothered though due to the fact I had a great day!
Located just outside Bristol city centre, its very easy to find by the signs and your sat nav, I had no trouble finding it. It's in a lovely area which is very appealing to look at. You will have no trouble finding it. You can access it by car or a bus from the city centre.
Students are £12.50 and adults and £15.00. I'm not sure how much kids were, but they weren't very expensive. You can go as a family which gives you a discount, there are various offers of prices when you arrive. You can also have your day entry ticket refunded if you buy a season ticket for the park. It's not too expensive and won't break the bank for a good quality day out! I was happy with the entry fee. The cost of food and drink within the zoo is very expensive, it's worth doing yourself a packed lunch because it's much cheaper that way. A bottle of water in one cafe was over £2! Which is ridiculous.
They I have a great variety of animals to look at, from an aquarium, to a bug world, lions, monkeys, gorillas, birds, butterfly's, bats, seals, penguins and many many more. There is a huge array of animals and they all are kept in great enclosures. Unlike other zoos I have visited, the animals actually have enough room to live a happy live! All seemed to be content and none looked distressed or in pain or anything bad. I have nothing bad to say about the welfare of the animals. I was really happy!
They have lovely plants and flowers all over the park and it's such a pleasant experience. They have large grassy areas to picnic on and to chill out on. Everything is unkept to an extremely high standard. Its a pleasure to be there for the day. The whole park is covered in flowers.
Things to do:
There are lots of talks on throughout the day where keepers tell you about the animals and how they look after them, it's really educational for younger children! I learnt a few things too. They also do feeding so you get too see them be fed, the seals feeding time was the best! They were really friendly and have us a little show. The animals seemed happy to show off to the crowds. The seals liked to splash the visitors which was rather funny to watch :) you can also feed birds yourself. There are parks from the children with a mini water spasm area! You can also do an adventure climbing activity over the park which looked like fun! This comes at an additional cost, I'm not sure how much it costs but it looked good, adults and kids can do it. There is so much to do at the park.
Everyone was really friendly and helpful at the zoo, they point you in the right direction and all had smiles on there faces! There were very welcoming and made the experience even better. I was really impressed with the way the staff made the day enjoyable. They were All chatty and gave you extra information about the animals you were looking at. The park was laid out really well too, the map helps you out because it's such a huge place! There is enough to keep you busy all day long :)
Overall I had a great day! I would definitely go back if I was in the area. We were there all day and never got bored! I'm not a kid anymore but I had a briliiant day :) its on of the best zoos I have been to. They do a lot of charity work and help out wild animals. They are great for animal welfare! A perfect day! Thanks Bristol zoo :)
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a charitable organisation dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and habitats. It is located in the Clifton area of Bristol and covers an area of 12 acres. This might seem small compared to attractions of a similar nature, but they have really maximised their space without compromising on providing the best possible habitats for their animals. The zoo is open from 9am-5.30pm and I usually spend 5 hours here on a typical visit.
It is quite a walk to get there from the town centre so I would recommend getting the local 8 or 9 bus which leaves at various points through the city centre. This is particularly helpful if you have travelled by train to get to Bristol, as the pick up point is just outside the main entrance. They run roughly every 10-15 minutes during peak daytime hours so you will never have to wait too long. When you get to the zoo there are bus stops right outside the entrance. There are several offers on that combine travel and entry, which will reduce the cost for some visitors. Check Bristol Zoo's website for current details here http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/special-offersactivities
There are reduced entry fees for children under three (free!), children ages 3-14, family tickets (2 adults and 2 children), 15-18 year olds, students, senior citizens, disabled adults, disabled children, and carers (free!). You can choose to give a voluntary Gift Aid donation of ~10% per person. This donation will be used to help support international breeding programmes at the Zoo and crucial conservation projects in the wild.
A few notes upon your arrival. There is most usually an ice cream van parked up on the lawn space right in front of the entrance gates. For those of you with kids, bad luck! It's pretty nice to treat yourself to a cold ice cream once you've finished your day at the zoo if you can wait that long :) Once you enter the Zoo you head straight through the shop, and into the gardens where there are food vendors and vending machines scattered all over the place. In my opinion it's pretty handy, but I would suggest taking a picnic with you as it can all add up. The Coral Cafe has recently undergone a makeover but it is mildly over-priced and there is not a good range of foods. Basic fast food and deli fare, which is expected from this sort of location. There is a large picnic area in the middle of the zoo, and plenty of benches where you can sit. Make the most of this, especially if the weather's good, and bring along your own food. There is another food option during the summer months, where they have outdoor barbecue food being freshly cooked, but the choice here is limited to burgers or sausages in buns. They smell delicious but are expensive! There are toilets and changing facilities available in various locations around the zoo.
Now on to the important stuff - the animals! I live just outside of Bristol and visit Bristol Zoo often. Zoos are one of my favourite attractions, and I maybe biased being local but Bristol is my favourite of them all. There are loads of different animals and plants for you to see, and most of these are arranged into zones which make it very easy for you to find your way around. I usually take a circular route round the map, going back to my favourite ones when I'm done. The nice thing about Bristol Zoo is that you don't have to do an excessive amount of walking, everything is nicely organised and they have made the most of the space available to them. Now, animals you will be able to see at Bristol Zoo range from the big ones like lions, gorillas, hippos, right down to tiny ones like guinea pigs, bats, meerkats. Exotic ones like okapi, cassowary, red panda, and common ones like tortoises, butterflies, and even rats!
By far, my favourite animals at Bristol Zoo are the Pudus. I had never seen one before visiting here, and they are small deer from Southern America. They are absolutely adorable and the first thing I visit every time I go back now!
The outdoor exhibits are grand, but what I really love are the indoor areas. These have been expertly designed and show off a wonderful array of creatures to their absolute best.
'Twilight World' is a nocturnal zone featuring low lighting and densely camouflaged enclosures. You might have to spend some time spotting the animals in these displays as they like to hide away and can be inactive sometimes, but it is a real treat and is quite wonderful to see these animals and how they behave. The sand cats and mouse deer are my favourites.
The Reptile House is a heated indoor area where you get to see a wide range of frogs, lizards, snakes, and there is a large pool for the Caiman crocodiles. It can get crowded in here but be patient and take the time to walk round the whole lot, it's worth it.
The Aquarium is really good, there are large tanks displaying various simulated environments and the type of fish that would inhabit them. The size of some of these fish is awe-inspiring. There is also the all-important walk-through tunnel that everyone loves at aquariums!
'Bug World'... well I can't really comment fairly on this as I usually skim past as quickly as I can. I dislike bugs a lot. But there is a very cool section where you can watch ants working and there are magnifying pieces of glass in the windows so you can observe easily. There are also a few more fish tanks. At the end, just before the last section and exit there is a bee hive which connects to the window outside with a tube and you can watch the bees coming in and out to make honey. Pretty cool!
'Monkey Jungle' and 'Lemur Walk-through' provide you with a chance to get up close with the animals, and the staff here are exceptionally helpful and knowledgeable.
Seal and Penguin Coasts. These are fabulous, you can view the penguins from above and watch them feed, the continue walking round to the seal enclosure where you can see the seals swimming and basking. You walk round again to what looks like the exit, but this actually takes you underneath the enclosures and there are viewing areas so you can watch the animals underneath the water! This is really an exciting part of the zoo, especially the part where there is a tunnel for you to walk through where the penguins swim over. Love it.
'Zona Brazil' is a tropical area where you can see animals such as capybaras and tapirs. Nice but you have to go through an extremely hot and smelly small indoor area to get through to the outdoor enclosures, which is not a very nice experience.
'Forest of Birds' is an indoor aviary with a number of exotic looking birds. This is a fairly limited space but the building is beautiful, and upon your exit you can walk through the Lorikeet enclosure, and for a small sum you can buy a little pot of nectar with which to feed the birds. They are very confident and will not hesitate to perch upon you to get the food. Watch out for mess!!
'Butterfly Forest' is a walk-through is which is filled with butterflies. This is a spectacular area and you can spend a long time in here just watching and spotting for all the butterflies. It is hot and humid, and my glasses tend to steam up, so to stop that try breathing on the lenses first before you go in.
There are plenty of shows available for you to view and enjoy. The best one in my opinion is at the Terrace Theatre on the main lawn, and is an interactive display aimed at kids that runs hourly from 12pm. There are several animal specific talks as well, including lions, gorillas, butterflies, meerkats, lemurs, prairie dogs, penguins, and seals. Check times upon visiting and make the most of your day.
There is an education centre for children and Bristol Zoo promotes an extensive amount of conservation projects. I haven't checked this out too much, other than when my friend went to get his face painted in the kid's centre. The staff seemed very nice in there, and they were fun while keeping a watchful eye on everything.
One of the main attractions now is 'ZooRopia', a tree-top climbing course that gives you an altogether different look at the zoo. This is available for anyone over the age of 5, including disabled persons. The course is 5 metres high and uses a harness system. You will be fastened in by an instructor, and then you're free to make your way around the course knowing you are safely secured at all times. Please note that this comes at an additional cost, and tickets can be booked at the main Zoo entrance, subject to availability.
All in all I love going to Bristol Zoo, and will remain a frequent customer. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
I regularly visited Bristol Zoo as a child as it isn't too far from Wales. Getting there is easy for everybody however. After taking a train to Bristol Temple Meads, you can take a bus from outside the station to Clifton. The drivers are helpful if you're not sure which bus to take.
The zoo itself isn't that large and is easily seen in a day. The thing that struck me was how well organised it is. The zoo is split into several definitive areas such as the Seal and Penguin coast, the Reptile House and Zona Brazil.
You won't find too many large animals at Bristol Zoo. They were phased out over the last 20 years. Exceptions to this rule are the 2 Asiatic lions and the gorillas. Both appeared to have suitable enclosures however. I'm a big fan of themed areas in zoos and all the rainforest enclosures are superb here, really creating a natural enviroment. The reptile house is extremely impressive, with a large variety of species.
There is a lot of educational material here on a variety of earth issues, such as global warming and recycling.
There are several places to get a little snack and one main restaurant/cafe where things are a little expensive. The gift shop is also pricey.
Bring your children here and you'll be guaranteed a great day out for the whole family.
2010 prices Prices with and without voluntary donation
Adults £11.81 £13
Child (3-14) £7.27 £8
Child (under 3) Free Free
2 adults & 2 children £34.54 £38
Concession: 15-18 yrs / student / senior citizen / disabled adult £10.45 £11.50
Disabled child £5.63 £6.20
Carer for disabled adult (if required) Free Free
Open daily from 9am to 5.30pm in peak season from 26 March 2010, closing at 5.00pm off-peak (as of 26th October 2010).
Times and prices taken from official website.
I've been wanting to take my twins on a day trip somewhere all year but I'm limited as to what I can do with 21 month twins on my own especially as I don't drive. I asked my darling 15 year old brother if he fancied a trip somewhere and we both agreed on Bristol Zoo as it was a fair distance to go to get us out of Newport for a few hours as a break yet not too far to struggle with two babies.
A FEW FACTS
Bristol Zoo is open daily from 9 to 5.30 peak time and closing at 5pm off peak. It is shut on Christmas day!
These prices include the voluntary donation;
Child (3-14) 7.75
Under 3 - Free
How to get there
You can get to the Zoo by train, bus and car. As I live in Newport and don't drive I can only really tell you about the bus journey. I get off my train in Bristol Temple Meads train station and just as I go outside there are buses which stop there, either 8, 8a, 9 or 9a, you can get on either of these buses there or back as they drop you off right opposite the zoo or pick you up from the bus stop right outside.
If you are interested in travelling by car I have found directions on the Bristol Zoo's very own website, these being;
From the M5: J17 take the A4018 then follow brown elephant signs. From Bristol City Centre: follow the brown elephant signs and/or signs to Clifton.
Before paying a visit to Bristol Zoo I find it worthwhile to google any offers or even look on Bristol Zoo's own website to see what offers are available. This week when I went they had an offer on that if you travel by train and you can print off a First Great Western voucher you could pay two for one on entry so long as you had both your voucher and your train tickets.
When you pay you are provided with a map to guide you through the zoo and help prevent you from getting lost - although I would say there are signposts dotted about almost everywhere pointing you in directions of many areas of the zoo so hard to get lost as well as the fact it is not an overly huge zoo so it won't take you all day to find the exit.
When you enter the zoo you immediately walk through the giftshop selling extortionately priced gifts such as named mugs and cups, keyrings, puzzles, soft toys - most of this in an animal theme. Such a clever yet annoying place to stick the shop. Clever as you have no choice but to walk through it whether you are entering or leaving, whether you like gifts or not you are instantly drawn in by bright colours and odd shapes it's hard not to take a peek, and even harder to get past the crowds.
You don't have a certain trail to follow when visiting the zoo and can spend as long as you like venturing through and enjoying every aspect like I try to. I will try name some of the most fascinating scenes and activities that you can pay a visit too when you're at Bristol Zoo.
Zona Brazil - Here you follow a wooden path to discover the threatened species that would otherwise be found at coastal rainforests of Brazil. It is a little humid inside the building but quite interesting to look at. Everything about each area is realistic and wonderful, this one is no different. It is replicating a forest, with giant leaves, trees and branches and many animals scurry around and within them - these contain animals such as giant rodents otherwise known as the capybara and even birds.
Twilight World - Here you find yourself inside a building which does become quite dark and small. All the nocturnal animals are housed here including naked mole rats which worried me a little they were the strangest creatures, sand cats, rats and mice as well as bats.
Aquarium - Surrounded by tanks large and small you enjoy the beautiful underwater world of fish. So many colours, sizes and shapes some beautiful and some shockingly ugly. One of these many fish include Clown Fish - Have you seen Nemo? He's a clown fish!
Asiatic Lions - Behind glass and many trees you can see two Lions, one female and one male. Sometimes it can be difficult to see them behind all the bushes and trees but once they are out near the glass they really are an astonishing sight. You can sometimes watch the Lions be fed which is amazing as you sense the hunger and the want in these strong yet beautiful animals. There is just a glass pane between you and these lions sometimes which can be a little startling but its a brilliant experience.
Butterfly World - This is a building that reminds me of one of those garden centres that are randomly placed on a motorway somewhere lol. When you step inside you are greeted and almost attacked by flowers and greenery with butterflies all different colours and sizes flying around. Beware as they show you no mercy and are willing to fly at anything as well as land anywhere. If bugs give you the creeps and flying things make you squeamish I would avoid walking in here.
Primate Enclosure - A large glass enclosure full of branches and ropes containing orangutangs and other monkeys who swing about playfully and gleefully.
Flamingos - Situated in a huge enclosed area you walk through the doors across a small wooden pathway but here you can stand and admire the (pale) pink flamingos flitting around in their very own pool and river.
The Monkey Area - Here in large glass protected areas are branches and bushes full of various monkeys swinging and hanging, they are very entertaining to watch. You then come to the gorillas who can either be inside behind their glass or outside on their very own climbing frames and swings.
Seals and Penguins - I really enjoy this area you get to follow a wooden bridge past all of the penguins in their designated area containing water and pebbles it is a stunning sight and the penguins are plentiful. As you carry on walking you come to the other side where the seals are either laying on rocks, playing with the waterfall or swimming freely upwards and under trying to entertain. As you carry on walking you can either cut off straight back to the rest of the zoo or you can continue your walk underground where you are faced with a giant pane of glass so if the seals are swimming underneath you can see them in action swimming gracefully yet playfully underneath. You then walk under tunnels under the water which is a little blurry to look through but when the seals swim past it is amazing to see them so close.
There are many birds scattered around for you to look at too especially in the bird forest, including the Lorikeets (such colourful birds) which you are able to feed which can be great fun for adults and children alike. This is part of the new area in the zoo called Explorers Creek - there is a water play section for children, a bird house and the walk through parrot feeding area.
Throughout the zoo to stop your kids getting bored (not that they will) or just to add a bit of extra fun there are challenges dotted about such as 'How fast can you run' where each child runs down a specific strip and their speed is recorded on the screen in front of them - a bit of competition and fun and games for the young'uns!
There is an activity centre for children too which is run by volunteers.
There is a park for kids to play on and an assault course which involves walking along a course high up in the air and gliding down to the ground when you've finished.
Even younger children are catered for as there are a few rides near the cafe, of course it is pay per ride, and there is also a merry go round too!
The zoo is wheelchair friendly, which also means prams are able to be taken too - although prams can cause alot of problems. Me being somebody who took a pram of course, a double one too I found it quite difficult when it was busy to manouvre the buggy around certain areas without bumping into somebody or somebody getting in the way. If you manage to go on a quieter day (not in the summer holidays in other words lol) it should be a breeze walking about.
It is quite tiring walking about taking in all the excitement so luckily there are plenty of benches and seating areas scattered around for a break, grassy areas are plentiful if you are planning on sitting down in a large area for a picnic maybe - especially handy if you're taking your own food. If you do not plan on taking your own food there is a cafe, which as you have probably guessed is quite pricey but they provide both hot and cold foods. There are plenty of toilets and baby changing rooms available which always seem cleaned and well looked after. Vending machines are also dotted around here and there containing snacks, ice creams and drinks. If a picnic, the cafe of the vending machine is not your thing they often open a gazebo where they can cook BBQ style food such as Burgers or Hotdogs!
Bristol Zoo attracts many including animal lovers, day trippers, families, large groups such as school kids etc as not only is it a brilliant day out but it is educational too. Staff at Bristol Zoo often do talks about their animals, their times can either be found on boards within the zoo or in the maps provided.
Everything is laid out to make it easy to navigate around the zoo and it's enclosures without getting totally lost.
Although the zoo can seem quite small there is plenty to do and often I have walked out thinking did I really take it all in, I tend to rush round at first with all the excitement and then take a slower walk around to really enjoy the sights and the animals we have been provided with. This Zoo really has provided many fun and enjoyable days out for both adults and children in my family. There is so much to do and despite the fact it's not the biggest zoo there are some amazing things to see and fun things to do! It is definitely worth every penny you pay upon entry and for those people who like to visit regularly it may be worth looking up the Memberships where you pay an annual fee.
If you would like to find out more about Bristol Zoo Gardens then visit their site, http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/. I'd reccomend this as a day out to absolutely anbody it's fantastic fun!
I love the zoo. I have been to all local zoo's and wildlife parks, including london zoo. I am quite the keen animal lover. I havent always driven either so it hasnt always been easy to get to other zoo's. i drove to bristol, so i am unsure how close it is to train stations and other public transport. but it was very easy to find without a sat nav or anything and i live about three hours from bristol. it was very reasonable pricing even with the donation. without a donation it was £11.36. food and drink as you would expect was still overpriced, but nowhere near as bad as some of the zoo's i had been to. you could get a reasonably sized soft drink for just over a pound. I was very impressed with the range of animals. in comparison to some, bristol zoo is relatively small. it took us little over 2 hours to get round the whole thing taking time to stop at each animal. aside from 2 lions who in my opinion didnt have enough room and a stunning massive gorilla there are no more big animals. but what it lacks in big animals it more than makes up for in little ones. it has fruit bats, which ok, its a bat, dont sound that fantastic. but i had not seen fruit bats in any other zoo, and they were brilliant. you could walk into a free flying enclosure and see them. would definately recommend. and they have slow loris's. you should you tube slow loris's, as there's a video of one being tickled which is fantastic. these are endangered i believe and between those and the fruit bats alone my trip was well worth it. however it doesnt stop there. there's a butterfly enclosure and exhibits about how much rubbish we throw away and an aviary and plant gardens. and of course penguins and otters and that sort of thing. theres also a giant tortoise who's pretty impressive. a great day out.
Bristol Zoo is located towards the outskirts of Bristol in Clifton, close to the famous suspension bridge. It's outrageously good fun and has a great range of animals that never fail to amuse.
Lions, Crocodiles, Lemurs and Gorillas are joined by the weirder or rarer Pudu, Lorikeets, Red Pandas and my personal favourite the Slow Loris (Youtube it, they're crazy cool.). The full amount of animals, birds, fish and insects is really big and it will take you about half a day to see them all.
A few points stood out on my last trip. Firstly, the enclosures are really inventive. The aviaries have crashed planes, thick foliage and streams; the nocturnal areas are fitted like a house; the penguins area an artic cliff. Secondly, interaction is high priority here and it creates some great memories. You can wander into the Lemur enclosure, and, if they aren't sunbathing, they'll often come and inspect you. Feeding the Lorikeets with Nectar is great fun as they perch on your arm.
Another great feature are the animal shows. The open air variety has parrots, racoons, eagle owls and anteaters wandering around mere feet away. Another, closer show is disapointing, a stick insect is just not that interesting even if you do get to touch it!
Adults go in £11.36, kids £7.04 but concession rates and group bookings can lower this. Get there early in the day, queues can be long to get in and also the earlier in the day often the more awake some animals are, especially the nocturnal. Theres a good cafe and many shops on site.
It really is a good day out for anyone of any age. Great stuff!
Bristol Zoo Gardens is located about 10 minutes out of the centre of Bristol. It contains a great deal of animals along with some beautiful gardens and is definitely worth a visit as we all had a really good day.
It is home to many animals including gorillas, lemurs, penguins, seals, lemurs, asiatic lions, red pandas, giant tortoise, meerkats, gibbons, otters, hippos and fruit bats. The animal enclosures are of a good size and it is easy to see each animal because each enclosure has various viewing points. The park is well laid out and has many signposts meaning that you are unlikely to miss anything. There are various talks and feeding times in the park which are advertised well.
There were a number of different houses including twilight world, butterfly forest and a bird house which would shelter from the rain but the majority of the park is outdoors so therefore it is best if you visit on a nice day. There is a play park and an activity centre which appeals to children.
There are toilets at various points around the park, these are well signposted and very clean. There is also a number of food outlets in the park including pizza and a barbeque. However, if you bring your own food there are plenty of benchs and places to eat including a large lawn near the beginning of the park. The park is easily accessible and wherever there are steps there are also ramps meaning that it is easy for both pushchairs and wheelchairs to get round.
There is now a section of the park called Zooropia which involves a tree top rope course, designed to make you feel like a monkey. This involves an additional charge. There is a gift shop at the entrance of the park which stocks a good range of things including soft toys, stationary, mugs, sweets and drinks.
The park is open every day 9-5.30.
I really enjoyed my day at the zoo, I felt there was lots to do here and lots to see. I was very pleased that all of the animals were easy to see and the park being well signposted meant that we got to see everything. The park was well laid out meaning that things of more interest, especially to children were dotted around the park rather than being all together. My favourite part of the zoo was the seals, especailly as you have the opportunity to walk under the water and see them from two angles.
I would definitely recommend the zoo as a day out to anyone and it is especially enjoyable for families. I thought it was very good value for money as all day can be spent there.
Waking up yesterday morning and realising there was actually sunshine in the sky we decided a trip to the zoo was in order! I'm a big fan of zoo's and the kids enjoy them a lot. Having visited all the other zoos in a two hour radius of our home we opted for Bristol Zoo.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is set in 12 acres of land and is a registered charity. It is situated just outside of Bristol, in Clifton and is easily reachable by both bus and car. It is worth noting that using a First Bus to get to the zoo means you can get discounted entry.
Upon arrival we saw that there were a number of car parks to choose from. Even though the sign said the car park was full for the closest one to the zoo entry we decided to give it a go anyway as from the roadside we could see there were infact spaces available. On entrance to the car park you are greeted by an attendant who collects your £2 parking fee and directs you to a space. I found him to be very patient, friendly and helpful. The £2 fee is not bad value when comparing it to a number of other places who charge you in excess of £5.
When parked we wandered down to the zoo entrance which was about a 3 minute walk away. Along the way there are disabled parking spaces which are closer to the park for those who need it. We then joined a rather long line to buy tickets, if your tickets are pre bought or you are a member then you join a different line which was non existant. Whilst in the line we were greeted by a member of staff who explained that because they are a charity if you filled in a form for gift aid they could receive an extra 28p per pound
After purchasing our tickets we were given a park map and proceeded on outside. We were first greeted by the primate enclosure. This included orangutans amongst other species. The monkeys were up and playful and a couple were keen to pose for pictures. There were a number of viewing points so if they were hid away you could probably still spot them easily. Next to these were the flamingos.
We then continued up the easy to navigate track and found the lions. The first time we came here we could only spot the male and he was asleep. However, when we returned later on in the afternoon it was feeding time so both the male and female were cornered off into a section of their pen. This was truly amazing as the male kept pacing up and down and was very close to us. It was a fantastic experience for the kids as I dont think they have ever been that close to a lion before and had such a fantastic view.
After the lions we progressed onto Twilight World which housed all of the nocturnal animals. This included a mongoose, various rats and a sand cat. The end of this house was particularly interesting as it was made to look like an everyday house and they had various rodents living in cupboards and microwaves! Next to this were the fruit bats who were easy to see, there were a number of these so the kids were entertained for a short while.
Next were the giant tortoise. We could spot 3 in the house and it was obvious that one was a baby due to it being a lot smaller than the other two. These were good to see due to their sheer size as up until my holiday in Italy 2 weeks ago, I'd never seen one of these before! Next to the tortoise was the Reptile House. Although not being a big fan of reptiles this was relatively interesting and housed a number of species including frogs, turtles, geckos, chameleons and lizards. There was also a nursery section containing baby animals and eggs. However, the best part of the reptiles were the crocodiles. There were 2 in the enclosure and they stayed very still and when they did move they only moved in slow motion! They were fantastic to see and to be so close to, the enclosure had no roof so you felt as though you were very close to them!
Next to this, there was a small aquarium which housed a number of different fish including piranhas and clownfish (nemos!). This was of a good size and there were a number of different things to see. Opposite this cluster of houses is a large lawn area which a number of people were sitting on to have a picnic. Next to this is Bug World although somehow we managed to miss this!
You then enter another primate area which is very large and houses a number of different species. The monkeys are all easy to see and are a wonderful variation of colours and sizes. There is also an armadillo in the 'Monkey Jungle' which was great fun to watch. There are a number of ring tailed lemurs who were all easy to see and the kids enjoyed watching these for a short time.
You then come to the gorilla and okapi house. Both were easy to see. The okapi was stood at the back of its enclosure and eventually came forward to give everyone a closer look. The gorilla was napping when we arrived but he was right up close to the glass which meant you could see him well.
After this you came to the seals and penguins which were highly enjoyable. To begin with you walk round at ground level and we saw a number of penguins led on the rocks in the sunshine. The seals were more interesting and one was sunbathing on a rock and he was huge. There were many more in the water and one was just rolling over and over which was humorous. They were not shy and were very close. You then have the opportunity to walk underwater and see the penguins and seals. We chose to do this and in the house there are a few other underwater species to see. The seals come first and they were great to watch and you could recognise ones that you had seen earlier. The penguins you couldnt really see as the water was misty and there was algae stuck to the tunnel.
You then have the opportunity to see 2 pygmy hippos. Although to begin with they were both underwater, in turn they stuck their heads out and eventually got out of the water. These were very interesting and again you had a fantastic view of them as they were so close. You can then walk around to see the otters, we spotted 2 in the enclosure but unfortunately they spent the majority of their time under the water.
There are then a number of bird enclosures, we walked very quickly around these as the kids weren't particularly interested. There was however a very small member of the deer family here which was very interesting to watch.
Next you are greeted by more primates including lemurs and gibbons. These were all up and ready to play so provided light entertainment for a while. The meerkats are also located here which are always fun to watch.
We then progressed onto the butterfly walk through which housed a huge number of butterflies. You are offered a sheet of species when you go through in order to see how many you can spot. One of the butterflies kept landing on one of the children-much to her delight and there were a number of brightly coloured and different looking species that we had never seen before. One kind even had see through wings! The prarie dogs are also located here which are similar to meerkats and are worth taking a look due to a litter of puppies!
Finally we went through the Lorikeets, which are fantastic looking birds. You get the opportunity to feed them for a small extra charge (70p for a pot or £1 for two). My partner was the only one brave enough and soon enough he was covered in the brightly coloured birds! There are also a number of other birds to look at.
Upon leaving, the gift shop was a good size and not overly priced. For example you can get small hanging monkeys for £6, childrens cups for £3, pencils for 55p...
There are a number of toilets and places to eat situated around the park. There is a snack bar, pizza place and a bbq from what we spotted. There are also a number of vending machines stocking ice cream, drinks and sweets. Toilets are well signposted and are also visable on the map you are given upon entrance.
Prices are as follows. However, I would recommend picking up a leaflet before your visit as ours contained a free child voucher (with a full paying adult). You can pay with or without a voluntary 10% contribution to the park, these prices are with the contribution.
Concession (15-18 yrs, student, senior citizen, disabled): £11.00
Family of 4: £36.50
Under 3's are free
The park is open daily from 9 until 5.30 (peak season) or 5 (off peak)
I would recommend visiting Bristol Zoo as it proved to be a fab day out for all the family. A great time was had by all and I believe it to be fantastic value for money when compared to similar attractions. There are a number of things to do here and you can easily occupy yourself for a whole day.
For more information please visit http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/
Situated right in the centre of Bristol this zoo is really easy to get to (although parking can be a nightmare) I usually take the bus and if your not a member you also get discouted entrance with your bus ticket. Whist Bristol zoo Gardens is fairly small theres still loads to do with some fab new attractions including the sea reef which was still being built last time I visited. Last year they introduced a butterfly garden which my daughter loves. The animals within the zoo seem to be happy and well cared for the lions and gorillas being my favouite. There is a bug house, dark house, reptile house and aquariam all of which are really well maintained. For lunch there is a large restaurant and also a pizzaria in a cabin outside you can buy pizza then sit on the green to eat. For the kids there is also a fantastic play area which is split between ages.
Bristol Zoological Gardens are situated in one of the more affluent areas of Bristol - Clifton with many high status properties surrounding it. To me it was originally built as a plaything for the many rich families in the area.
The zoo is close to a vast expanse of open space Clifton Downs and not far from another famouse landmark, Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge, which depending on how you travel can be viewed high above the River Severn that follows the course of one of the main roads.
It was founded in 1835 by a group of eminent local citizens and not only is it the fifth oldest zoo in the world, it is the oldest that is not in a capital city. 220 shareholders raised the capital to buy the land on which it sits and many of their descendents still have some limited involvement today.
The purpose of zoos today has changed and it's no longer seen as an amusement, but scientific study, conservation and preservation.
I visited the zoo quite often as a child with my dad - as a local coach company in Taunton used to run day trips to the zoo and Weston Super Mare during the Summer, which was generally 3 hours at the zoo and then the afternoon at the beach. That was over 30 years ago, and the general layout has changed very little since then.
My last visit was about 1.5 years ago, and to me there have been very few major changes and I used to love looking at the polar bears (before they were put down - as they'd gone mad), which has subsequently been replaced by a penguin and seal habitat area with underwater viewing. Some of the other changes are the reptile house, nocturnal house, bug exhibition, tropical aviary and outdoor play area.
The main buildings however haven't changed, and they are unable to expand.
I love Bristol Zoo because it is compact, flat and has the majority of animals that I like to see at a zoo, and the new penguin/seal enclosure gives a closeup view that you won't find too easily. Their bug area is very good and the black widow spider in the loo is highly convincing. So too is the rodent area which gives a good insight into domestic life with rats, mice etc everywhere.
Yes, they have monkeys, lions, snakes, elephants and it is a venue that you could spend a good few hours walking around, and reading about animals too.
There are parking spaces at the front of the zoo, and at busy times alternative parking can be found nearby. There is also a bus service (which I've used on many occassions) from the main train station (Bristol Temple Meads) that stops right outside, or if you feel energetic, you could walk from Clifton Down rail station on the Severn Beach line - which is quite a distance!
I would certainly recommend Bristol Zoo as a great half-day out.
If you'd like to find out more please use the link below which includes pricing and opening times:
Bristol Zoo is an oddly designed structure in that it is totally enclosed within Clifton Town itself, its high perimeter walls preventing man from entering and indeed, more importantly for the inhabitants of Clifton, prevent beast from escaping.
Situated between Clifton Down and Clifton College, Bristol, this quirky and quaint zoo was first opened to the public in 1836 and has seen many changes over the years during its long and interesting history.
The zoo caught the nation's attention during the 60's when Johnny Morris and his institutional series Animal Magic was broadcast on television. Johnny would act as a zoo keeper and have a voice for all the animals there.
Present day prices for entry are £12.50 per adult and £7.75 for children between the ages of 3 and 14. Children under the age of 3 are admitted for free. There are concessions available for the disabled, and for those who are going in a group of 10 or more, so it is well worth checking out the prices for reductions.
The zoo has its own car park that charges £2, but to save on this expense you can park your car further up from the zoo along one of the side streets, thus avoiding this added expense.
As a young boy I spent many enjoyable trips to Bristol Zoo. My father was a collier from the South Wales Valley and during the 'miner's fortnight' my family and I would happily travel the considerable distance from Wales to Bristol to view the wondrous animals that were on display.
In those long gone days they had polar bears, giraffes and rhino at the sanctuary, but alas, these type of animals are no longer exhibited at Bristol zoo.
I remember seeing those giraffes with their incredibly long necks, and eyelashes that any Hollywood actress would die for, puckering their lips and stretching their elongated necks to reach the lush green leaves that were temptingly dangling from trees that, as a youngster, seemed to reach the bright blue skies towering above Bristol itself.
My fondest memories of those young and innocent days however, were of the two enormous elephants. One was an Asian elephant named Wendy, who was brought to the zoo from a logging camp in Thailand at the tender age of just twelve months. The zoo then brought over a companion for her, an African elephant called Christina.
These elephants are gigantic in their own right, but being a toddler they seemed appreciatively larger, and I was always fascinated and astounded at their sheer gigantic size as they used to lumber and lurch over to the edge of their enclosure and inquisitively offered out their lengthy trunks ready, as I thought, to scoop me up with.
I clutched mum's hand tighter, hoping to negate this threat, feeling confident that if it came down to a tug of war between the elephant and mum, with me as the rope, then good old mum would win the day for sure, wouldn't she?
Over my many visits to the zoo since, Wendy the elephant always held a special place in my heart and would always be my first port of call. Her female companion Christina died after being her constant companion for over twenty years. The zoo tried to get another companion for Wendy but unfortunately they bullied and upset her so it was decided to leave her alone.
Wendy never seemed the same after her companion's death. You could almost feel the sadness emanating from Wendy, and the once mischievous sparkle that was always present in her eyes that had endeared her to many appreciative visitors, was now sadly replaced by a sorrowful stare.
I last saw Wendy at Bristol zoo in 2001. As far as I could discern she appeared lost and frightened. Her trunk, that threatened to drag me away from my mother's grip all those years ago, now flopped listlessly and uninterestingly towards the floor. She could barely walk and seemed to be in some sort of pain.
A year later she sadly died. She had been suffering from a joint pain, but despite all attempts to ease the pain, poor Wendy could not even have some restful sleep due to the incessant pain and it was reluctantly decided to have her put to sleep.
Bristol zoo has changed almost out of recognition since those early childhood memories of elephant, giraffe, rhino and polar bear.
Oddly enough, when you arrive in Clifton, brown elephant signposts point the way proudly to the zoo despite there being no elephants inhabiting Bristol zoo since Wendy the elephant's sad demise.
Going through the zoo's entrance, the owner's have 'thoughtfully' placed the gift shop in the same spot. Effectively, therefore, you can not enter or leave the zoo without passing through the shop. The gifts there are not cheap by any means, and of course, passing through with your children will inevitably allow them to see that pretty pencil with a rubber monkey on the top of it. If they are anything like I was when I was young, constant nagging would soon have dad opening his wallet, ensuring it was somewhat relieved of a few bank notes!
Having navigated the shop, hopefully, with children satisfied and the purse or wallet not suffering too many withdrawal symptoms, then you can proceed into the zoo area itself, passing some beautiful trees and shrubbery along the way.
Food is readily available via The Pelican Restaurant which serves hot meals and sandwiches throughout the day, and The Flaming Cafe, which sells snacks to take away. Both outlets unfortunately, are not as competitive, price wise, as they should be, and my advice to anyone thinking of visiting is to bring your own food, sandwiches and drink along with you.
The zoo itself is rather small in comparison to others, being only twelve acres in size. As you leisurely stroll around the zoo it soon becomes apparent that most of its smallish size is oddly taken up by gardens, lawns, picnic areas and trees and lakes, not really leaving any real sizeable amounts of space available to the animals.
I get the feeling of it being a rather pleasant parkland, rather than a zoo, with large lush green expanses of green lawn lined with trees, such as Sweet Chestnut, Limes, Rowan and Corsican Pines adorning the edges and walkways of the grassy areas.
The animals themselves, for the most part, are housed mainly along the zoo's perimeter walls, with the lawns, lakes and children's play areas adopting a more central location.
There is however, an abundance of attractions available to keep both infants and adults occupied during a visit.
Gorilla Island, which is home to five western lowland gorillas. Salome and Romina are the females and Jock is the male. Jock has fathered two youngsters, Namoki and Komale. These large, black haired apes are generally active during the day, awakening at dawn to forage for juicy leaves and shoots which they select and peel themselves. I have been fortunate enough during one of my visits, to see the male drum-beating his chest and growling wildly, making noises that can be heard from miles away!
Another of the must see attractions is the Asiatic Lions enclosure. This now houses two of these Asiatic lions named Moti and Kamal. It is fascinating to watch during feeding time as these large powerful and fearsome predators stealthily draw ever closer to their meal, grabbing it swiftly in their muscular jaws and then running off with it, often climbing a tree or the large rocky incline that has been strategically placed there, in order to digest their 'prize' at their leisure.
Many other attractions are available at Bristol zoo that includes The Aquarium, Monkey Jungle, Bug House, Twilight World, Zona Brazil, Butterfly Forest, Reptile House, Seal and Penguin Coast and a whole host besides. There will certainly be something of interest here to satisfy any curious and interested lover of animals.
Overall, I think Bristol zoo is well worth an occasional visit. Children will love the Activity Centre and the Seal and Penguin Coast,where it is possible to view their swimming habits and antics via transparent underwater walkways.
After viewing the animals there are plenty of benches and seats strewn around the zoo where you can take that much needed rest, admiring the lush vegetation, plants, trees and shrubs as you do so.
I must lastly acknowledge that despite the obvious advantages a zoo may offer us, I also appreciate that many of the animals have been taken away from their natural habitats and may have no choice of what type of food they can eat and when they can eat it. Combine this with their unchanging environment and they they can soon become bored and stressed.
A wonderful place for day trips. I have visited many times over the years living in Bristol and have enjoyed every trip - both as a child and an adult. It has a range of different animals so everyone is kept happy. My favourites are the seal and penguin enclosure where you can watch them swim underwater and the Gorilla island - in recent years there have been two young babies born and as they grow up it has been fun watching them grow - they are very playful and are often out on the Island.Another favourite is the Lemar walkway where they will happily wonder about around you so you can watch them up close.
There are also (but not to my taste!) reptile and insect houses and aquariums - but I skip through those a bit quickly!
It can get busy and the car parks at peak times do become quite full but buses from the centre are very regular - it is situated in Clifton so it doesn't take long to get there. Prices are 12.50 for adults and 7.75 for children 3-14 but tht isn't too bad since you can spend a whole day there.
There are plenty of food outlets and the main Pelican restaurant which are lovely but can be pricey so probably worth bringing a picnic - there are many benches and places to sit so you can do so comfortably and then you don't have to queue either. Although the pizza stand is very nice!
The gift shops offer lots of toys for the kids too - especially a huge range of cuddly toys, although you have to walk through it to get to the exit!
I am just looking forward to some brighter weather so I can return! the zoo constanly changes and helps with animal conservation and it is always a pleasure to visit.
Having not visited Bristol Zoo in many years, probably since being a young girl myself, i decided to take my two boys and my friend and her little girl for a day out there. Looking forward to a really good day out we set off quite early in the morning to make the most of the day. We packed a picnic and took this with us as food halls at places like this tend to be quite expensive.The zoo opens at 9am and closes at 5.30pm during peak times and 5pm during off-peak times. They allow you last entry into the zoo an hour before it closes. There are toilets and a baby changing room situated towards the beginning of the zoo.
Admission prices are as follows-
For an adult its £10.88 this is without a voluntary donation if you choose to give a donation the price for an adult goes up to £12.00
A childs price is £6.81, £7.50 with a donation. Children under three go free.
A family ticket which consists of two adults and two children costs £31.74 and £35.00 with a donation.
Senior citizens/students/disabled adults cost £9.52 or £10.50 with the donation.
A disabled child can enter the zoo for £5.31 or £5.85 with a donation. A carer can go in free. Upon paying you are given a map of the zoo to follow as you walk around, they also give the children a quiz sheet to fill in on the way round, they have to find the answers at different places around the zoo. My first impressions of the zoo as we entered were good but as we started walking round i did become slightly disappointed as we soon realised there were no longer any elephants or giraffes. There were lots of animals to see including the two lions as you enter the zoo.They have lots of monkeys there (monkey world) which we spent quite a while in there as the children loved to see the monkeys swinging around, playing and fighting with each. Other areas in the zoo include bug world, where there were bugs of all sorts that you could have a look at, they made the exhibits quite interesting as they were not just in glass cases for example they had a black widow in a toilet with a clear cover over the top so that you could still see it. They have a family of gorillas, these were actually quite boring to look at as they really didnt move and just sat still but at the same time they were quite intriguing to look at just because of the sheer size of them. There is a twilight zone to walk through which is quite dark inside and you really have to look closely inside the glass cages to see what is in there.There is a Brazil zone with monkeys and birds to look at.The seals and penguins were a big hit with the children and after walking round up top to watch them they have an underground viewing area which was really exciting to see them swimming under the water. There was lots of fishes to see in the aquarium all different colours and sizes. At one point you get to walk through some tunnels and you can see the fish and sharks swimming all around and above you. Next we moved onto the reptile house which was my eldest sons favourite as they had small crocodiles, lizards, snakes, frogs and terrapins. Just outside the reptile house were two giant tortoises, the biggest that ive ever seen. There are a couple of hippos but these were quite smelly so we kind of rushed through there but there were lots of people standing round looking at them. At dinner time we went and sat under the undercover picnic area, there were plenty of tables and chairs even though it was quite busy. The children then enjoyed having their faces painted and temporary tatoos applied in the activity center, this cost a little extra and is not included in the admission price. Before we left we went to the adventure playground and bought icecream from one of the machines that are dotted around the zoo. Every where we went in the zoo there was always plenty of information on the exhibits which was quite interesting to read. It was very clean all around the zoo, no rubbish any where and there were plenty of bins around as well. The exit takes you through the shop but i was surprised as things in there were quite reasonably priced.
I am fortunate in that I live just outside of the city of Bristol, it is a city with a lot of attractions, one of the most popular being Bristol Zoo Gardens. My family used to plan huge days out at the zoo when we were younger, we'd take a picnic and spend the whole day touring the zoo, playing on the greens and having a fantastic time. After a gap of several years not going, we had entered the world of teenager and were to cool to be seen out with family, we all decided one day that it would be nice to go again, they had a lot of new enclosures that we had not yet seen and it would be nice to see how it had changed since our last visit.
While it was disappointing that many of the big animals had been moved on, due to space restrictions, we still enjoyed our visit and started to go there more and more frequently. Eventually we decided we'd be better off as members (saving a lot of money) and have been for nearly 5 years. My husband even proposed to me there within the seal and penguin enclosure.
A little history-
Bristol Zoo Gardens was founded in 1835 and opened to the public in 1836. It is the fifth oldest Zoo in the world, and the oldest one that is not in a capital city. In the 1920s and 1930s the zoo saw much improvement, some of the buildings constructed then still survive - for example the Aquarium and the Pavilion. During the Second World War some of the flowerbeds were switched over to vegetable growing and many of the animals had to be evacuated to safer areas. In 1953 the World's first nocturnal house was opened here. In 1967, the Severn Bridge opened giving the zoo its biggest attendance ever (1,134,488 visitors). In the early 1980s the zoo saw much redevelopment including the opening of the Reptile House in 1981, the Monkey House in 1983 and the re-designed Aquarium in 1986.
The main visitor entrance is attached to the main gift shop, a series of desks, manned by friendly staff, are there for you to buy your tickets. There is also a small entrance at the rear of the park, this opens seasonally. You are led up a small corridor, from the main entrance to electronic doors which lead you straight out into the zoo grounds. You are able to hire wheelchairs and electronic scooters/wheelchairs here. Members do not have to wait in line (unless theres lot of them!) and are greeted by a member of staff who simply scans their card and lets them through.
You are immediately faced with a gibbon enclosure, the recently improved flamingo aviary and just down to the left one of the main attractions- the lions. If you choose to cross to the flamingos and turn right instead of heading to the lions you are led down to the Clifton Pavilion, as you follow the path around you come across a small eating area and eventually come to the hilarious prairie dogs (dont be alarmed by the cages with cat flaps, this stops the birds pinching their food) There is no specific route to follow, in fact its quite pleasant just to wander the zoo taking in the lovely gardens as well as visiting the animals.
There are many animals at Bristol Zoo, the current main attraction is the Gorilla house and island. 3 adult gorillas live here, a very impressive male and 2 girls, in the last few years both females have had babies and there are currently 2 adorable young gorillas, who should be able to stay at the zoo until they reach sexual maturity at 15 years old. During the summer all the gorillas venture out onto their island surrounded by water (allowing guests an almost complete view from wherever they are in the park) and no doubt in the years to come the adorable babies will become bolder and more adventurous and will provide much entertainment on the island.
Other animals include Okapi, Meerkats, Penguin, Seal, Pudu, Giant tortoise, red pandas, lemurs, tamarins and more(all available for sponsorship). There are a variety of animal houses including reptiles, aquarium, nocturnal, insects, Zona Brazilia (featuring tapirs, Capybara and more) and the Wallace aviary.
The newly improved monkey house now features a lemur encounter, you enter through a double gate system, within the monkey house, where red ruffed lemurs run around quite happily, there are staff on hand to look after animals and guests as well as provide talks on the animals, this has become a popular feature since opening in 2006. It is pushchair and wheelchair friendly, it even has a sanitary hand wash by both entrance and exit for those health conscious visitors. The enclosure is open topped and allows the animals to cross to Gorilla Island if they desire, it is far more spacious and light in feel compared to the previous monkey house. The lion tailed Macaques are a real favourite whose calls carry across the whole of the zoo, new to the zoo since the opening of the new enclosure are the De Brazza's monkeys, the first in the country.
Seal and penguin coast is a great enclosure on 2 levels. As you enter you see the penguins and then the seals on their upper terrain, you are led down into a spacious tunnel system which leads you UNDER the enclosure, you get to see the 2 species at play under the water. It is a fantastic experience, especially as penguins dive for food and the seals gracefully swim by. For those who are claustrophobic there is an exit gate just before you enter the tunnels, you can still enjoy the upper level without going below. Just as you enter the seal section there is the plaque wall where special plaques (paid for by visitors) are dedicated to friends, family.....
The zoo is quite easily navigated with regular signposting and maps. It has several kiosks to buy snacks and drinks from, a burger stand, a pizza stand, 2 gift shops as well as the pelican restaurant and its large eating area. The gift shops stock the usual range of souvenirs emblazoned with the zoo logo, there are also cameras, batteries, ceramic gifts, sweets and drinks, collectables, books, toys etc etc as with most gift shops the prices vary some items are bargains however some of the items are a little over priced. The restaurant offers a wide selection of meals both hot and cold, as well as a variety of drinks, there is both indoor and outdoor seating(they provide highchairs for little ones) There are regular toilet blocks and baby changing facilities, as well as disabled toilets and there are lots of seating areas in which to take breaks. The first aid centre is by the Wallace aviary and is always staffed. For those with children there are 2 outdoor play areas (one for under 2's, one for over 2's)
All the enclosures have information boards by/on them telling you about the animal within and its species. There are also little activities to take part in throughout the zoo like testing if your tongue is as long as an okapis, if you can hold your breath as long as a hippo and how fast can you run, these are regularly dotted around the park and are fun for adults as well as kids, there are also(new this season) the classic photo opportunity boards where an animal features on a large board with its face cut out, you poke your face through the hole and hey presto you're a meerkat!
There are regular animal talks held at their enclosures by the keepers and there is an education centre for school trips. The enclosures that feature talks have notice boards which show the time of the next talk.
There are 2 car parks, charging £1 for a days parking, the first is out front of the zoo the other is just down the road but clearly signposted. The main car park has wheelchair spaces.
Prices. Opening times-
Child (3-14)- £6.00
Child (Under 3)- Free
Family 2 Adults + 2 Children- £29.00
Concession-(15-18/student/senior citizen/disabled adult) £8.70
Disabled child £4.50
You have the option to add a £1 voluntary donation to each ticket)
The zoo accepts group bookings and have a special price banding for groups of 10 or more, prices are
Child (3-14)- £4.60
Child (Under 3)- Free
Pupil / student on education visit- £4.60
Concession:15-18/student/senior citizen/disabled adult- £5.80
Disabled child- £3.70
Carer for paying disabled visitor- 1 free for 3 disabled visitors
Additional carer £3.70
Bristol Zoo is open daily from 9am to 5.30pm in peak season, closing at 5.00pm off-peak. The zoo is closed on Christmas Day. Last entrance to animal houses is half an hour before closing as is last entrance to the Zoo.
Prices vary for membership, they are
One adult £42.00
Joint (two adults) £69.00
Joint Concession (two concessions) £57.00
One adult plus one concession £61.00
Joint (two adults) plus third adult £96.50
One child £16.50
One disabled child £12.50
With membership comes many benefits not least free entry to the zoo as many times within your membership year. You will also receive five half price tickets for family members, invitations to Zoo events, 10% discount in the Zoo gift shops (in the Zoo and online) when you spend over £5, free entry to selected other UK Zoos, car sticker, badge for children, A 10% discount on the full membership fee after two years continuous membership, free 'Zoo Matters' magazine three times a year. You can apply for membership online, at the zoo or by picking up a leaflet while visiting the zoo and sending it off later. If you join during your visit you can receive back the money spent on entry that day (you will need your receipt) There is a membership office where you can apply, you have your photo taken and are issued with a personal membership card (credit card size) which you carry with you.
Other ways to support the zoo include donations, animal sponsorship and the sponsor a plank scheme (from £25 you can have a plaque, with a special name or message, permanently on display in seal and penguin coast) you are also able to take part in their "zoo keeper for the day" program which costs £200 per person (full details available from the park or online) the zoo occasionally have special themed days for Easter, Halloween etc... details are always available about those and other special events.
How to get there-
Take the M5, J17 then take the A4018 and follow brown elephant signs.
From Bristol City Centre the zoo is well signposted, follow the brown elephant signs and/or signs to Clifton.
You can get to the zoo by bus. A Zoo Safari ticket on any First bus in Bristol centre gives discounted bus travel/Zoo entry. This applies to adult and child tickets only. There are frequent services, the 8 and 9 buses run between Temple Meads Station and the zoo.
If you want to take the train joint ticket can be bought with discount travel/Zoo entry. This applies to adult and child tickets only. There is a local train service to Clifton Down Station (10 minute walk to the Zoo), From Bristol Temple Meads Station take an 8 or 9 bus to the Zoo main entrance. Call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 for further details.
Details about the zoo, ways of supporting them, taking part in special activities and theme days etc is available via the zoo website-
you can also find out how to book the Clifton Pavilion for special events via the site (they do wedding conferences etc) they will be able to send you details and menu options.
As i've already mentioned I am a member of the zoo and take full advantage of that fact. We must go to Bristol Zoo at least once a month, its not far for us to travel and parking is a maximum of £1, if you can find a space in the surrounding area then you dont pay anything.
My little boy loves visiting the animals and can spend hours in the aquarium alone. My personal favourite animal is the Okapi but their enclosure is currently surrounded by bamboo screens as they think the female is expecting again(she had a baby a little while back who has since moved on) it is also by the gorilla house which currently receives a lot of human traffic which can be a little distressing for them. I also love the naked mole rats that are in the nocturnal house (they're so weird) and the Meerkats who are always happy to perform, running around their enclosure hunting for bugs and trying to dig their way out. The major downside of the nocturnal house is its kept quite dark and often has natural flooring which can become uneven, however it is one of the most successful houses in the breeding program and has an outside notice board with regular updates.
A major downside during the warmer weather is the protestors, occasionally groups will gather outside trying to hand out leaflets, they dont get out of hand but I personally find it very frustrating, they have no concept of the work the zoo does for animals in the wild and their conservation efforts. They do not however detract from the enjoyment you will have within the zoo and are quickly forgotten once inside the entrance.
It is always an enjoyable day out and while there isn't a lot of covered areas it is still nice in cold/wet weather as there are lots of indoor animal houses in which to shelter. It is easy to move round and very pushchair friendly. In the warmer weather we still like to take picnics and a blanket and sit out on the grass, its great being able to watch the little ones run around playing.
The grounds are beautiful and they always have the most stunning flower displays (or pumpkin display at Halloween) during the Christmas season the zoo is decorated with rope light figures of animals and looks fantastic. Being a member it is nice to visit all year round, we get to see a wide range of animal activity throughout the year as some find the cooler weather suits them better while others prefer the summer heat. Naturally it is busier in summer and school holidays, we like to visit a lot in the quieter times so we can have a more leisurely trip.
This is a great place for a family day out, if you're traveling a long way its worth spending the whole day(they recommend 3-5 hours for a visit) as the prices aren't the cheapest, make the most of the experience and visit all the animals. I would recommend this zoo to everyone, there is no steep or uneven terrain that could make it difficult for elderly/disabled (although the nocturnal house can be a little tricky at times) and it is very wheelchair friendly. There unfortunately is limited space as this zoo is in the middle of a city and so there is not a huge amount of large animals, gone are the days of elephant and giraffe as they require large amounts of space for their enclosures, something the zoo sadly does not have, I personally remember when there were wolves, bears, tigers.... the lack of space is undoubtedly bad for the animals and it is better that the zoo think about the animals well being then pleasing the crowds. Still it is a lovely zoo with some fascinating animals and it does an awful lot of conservation work to protect wildlife. If you only go to visit the baby gorillas and other baby animals (the zoo has a very successful breeding program) its still worth it. Children and adults will both enjoy it.