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Bristol Zoo - a great place to spend an afternoon
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Member Name: chrisc92
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Advantages: Most of your favourite animals
Disadvantages: Being a small zoo it is limited on what it can exhibit
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and I used to love looking at the polar bears (before they were put down - as they'd gone mad), which has subsequently been replaced by a penguin and seal habitat area with underwater viewing.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:
Summary: It is a fantastic place and can be combined with other local attractions
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