* Prices may differ from that shown
I live 10 minuets away from chester zoo and I love it!!!!! I have been a member since I was 3 years old and used to love exploring the almost wildness with my family. Now at the age of 19 I am still a member and I go with my boyfriend (who got a membership when he met me) for coffee and photography. If you live near buy I would get a membership, it's a fantastic deal for considering the unlimited access and 20% off and ensures the charity get a steady income. If you have a membership you will also find yourself going more often as it's 'free', me and my boyfriend normally only go for a few hours, explore one part of the zoo and get a coffee or ice cream, it's a nice place to walk around especially when it's not busy, there is plenty of indoor sections so there's no excuses even in the rain. You also get access to other zoo across the country which is definitely a bonus, if you are coming from far away get there early as there is so much to see and do...it's the biggest zoo in Europe!!!! I imagine it's quite hard to see it all in one day so I would recommend planning ahead to make sure you see the big attractions and your favourite animals.
Overall this zoo is amazing!!!! There will always be the concern of animals in cages, but chester zoo is known for making animals as happy and natural as possible and is involved with many conservation and rehabilitation programs and although it's not perfect it's about as close as you can get with constant improvements.
Over the past year Chester Zoo seems to have become my day trip of choice. I have been four times in the space of eight months and have enjoyed my trip every time. Luckily my girlfriends, sisters fiancé is a zoologist that runs his own safari tours and there isn't anything he doesn't know about animals, although I'm trying my hardest to find something.
Not only is Chester Zoo a fantastic day out it is an important educational tool for children to learn about different kinds of animals and the fight against extinction that some of them face. According to my zoologist friend by the time my son is grown up zoos will be the only place that some species still exist.
Whenever I have been to Chester Zoo it hasn't been that busy. The zoo is open all year round from 10am except on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. It usually stays open until 5.30pm giving you plenty of time to get around the zoo and still manage to see every exhibit.
Adult tickets range from £14.50 to £18.00 depending on the time of year. Discounts are available for students or senior citizens. For children that are three to fifteen years old the price varies from £11.00 to £14.00.
You can also buy group or family tickets. A family ticket is for two adults and two children and are priced at £45.50 to £59.00 so they don't really offer a massive saving and don't help if you have more than two children. You can also book in advance if you have a large group that want to visit. If you buy your group tickets in advance you can receive a discount of up to 30%.
Infants that are two and under get in free.
Tickets can be bought online or you can buy on the day. If you want to buy group tickets on the day you don't get as much discount.
Annual memberships are also available. My girlfriend and I bought a joint annual membership for £118 or it is £69 for a single adult membership. If you buy a membership you receive additional benefits. One of those is members days. This gives you the opportunity to invite up to twelve people to the members day and they can get into the zoo for half the price. In 2013 there are currently three members days scheduled.
A membership card also gets you entry to eleven other zoos around the UK.
The zoo is very easy to find and isn't situated in a busy area. It hasn't been busy when I have gone but I have heard of massive tailbacks on bank holidays so if that's when you plan to visit get yourself there early. As you arrive at the zoo parking is free.
After leaving your car and making your way to the entrance you will arrive at the ticket office and the membership and adoptions centre. There is a gift shop (save it for when you're leaving) and there are toilets just in case you have had a particularly long trip. The toilets are always very clean as is everywhere else around the zoo.
ENTERING THE ZOO.
You will enter through the turnstile and will receiver an information leaflet with a map and other info about different events at the zoo. Make sure you keep hold of this, especially for the map. There is a lot to see and it can be easy to miss something and it might be a long way to walk back.
Everybody else on entrance seems to head straight on or go left. We usually head right through the bird sanctuary because it is a little quieter going that way. Going through the bird sanctuary leads you to two of my favourite animal at the zoo. The painted dogs and the black rhinos. Don't forget to pay the meerkats a visit whilst you're around this area as well.
The other good thing about starting your tour through the bird sanctuary is that most of the main attractions will now be towards the end of your visit rather than visiting them straight away.
The Zoo is quite large and can involve quite a lot of walking. Everywhere is quite flat and all attractions are accessible to pushchairs and wheelchairs. All paths are clearly marked and well sign posted. Although there is a monorail that takes you on a birds eye view of the zoo I've never been on it but I'm sure its worth the ride.
THE MAIN ATTRACTIONS.
The painted dogs are always a must see. Sometimes they are up and about and feeding time in interesting but sometimes you will catch them indoors when they are having a bit of a siesta. If they are indoors they can be a little disappointing as the small huy can get quite crowded. Nonetheless I think they are beautiful to look at.
The black rhinos are also a good attraction. Last time I went a baby rhino had been born so I managed to get some pictures of mother and baby together. Again depending on the time of day and sometimes the weather the rhinos can be either indoors or out. Even if the rhinos are indoors you can still get some good pictures.
There are the Asian Elephants. I usually go here more towards the end of my visit. The elephants have a huge paddock to walk around in. Again recently there has been a couple of new additions. It's always nice to see the babies walking around with the huge elephants. Not only can you watch them outdoors there is also a tropical house that you can walk around and get closer to them.
If you don't like the dark or more to the point, don't like things flying around your head in the dark then don't enter the fruit bat forest. Hundreds of bats are housed in here. Like I say it is dark and you can lose your bearings slightly and trust me some of the bats to come a bit close as they fly around you. I would recommend you go in though.
Once you go into the realm of the red ape you can't help but fall in love with the orang utans. Sometimes they will come over to the windows to check out the people that have come to visit them. Access is up a walkway which is quite difficult to walk up if you have a pushchair or wheelchair with you but an elevator is provided. The realm of the red ape also houses a variety of amphibians, reptiles and other mammals. The huge reticulated python is a must see. The ape house does get very busy so take your time going through because there really is so many good things to see in there.
The Jaguar house is an exhibit that I can take or leave because I have been disappointed nearly every time I have been in there. What I will say first of all is that the Jaguar house includes a sloth. I find them fascinating. I don't know why, they really don't do anything but I find them quite calming to look at. They really don't have a care in the world. I have only ever seen the Jaguar once on my first visit. It was running around going mental. An absolutely beautiful creature. Chester Zoo claim that the Jaguar House is the biggest and best in Europe but if you can't see the Jaguar then what's the point. Maybe I have just been unlucky.
Other attractions are the lions, the chimpanzees that can be quite mischievous and make sure you visit the giraffes. There have recently been two baby giraffes born at Chester Zoo and they really are quite beautiful. The red pandas are also a personal favourite of mine.
I have only really touched on a few of the animals around the zoo but there is so much more to see I would be here all day trying to tell you about them all so apologies to all those animals I haven't mentioned.
Chester Zoo belongs to a number of UK, European and international organisations, including the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
These organisations co-ordinate to create breeding programs for endangered species from all around the world. When you consider that I have already mentioned Orang Utans, Giraffes and Black Rhinos that have been born at the zoo this year you will realise just what good work the zoo do.
It is good to know that not only are you buying entry into the zoo you are helping with conservation work that takes place all around the world. Without orginisations like Chester Zoo a lot of species will become extinct so I think they should be proud of the hard work they do all over the world.
ADOPT AN ANIMAL.
I couldn't finish without mentioning the adopt an animal scheme. At Christmas I adopted the red pandas for a present for my son, you can buy either an adult or junior adoption pack. For the price of £50 you adopt the animal of your choice for the period of one year. This money goes towards the upkeep of the animal over that period. Ajunior adoption pack includes:
* Two Admission Tickets that can be used at anytime during the year of adoption (each ticket is valid for one adult or two seniors/children)
* Cuddly toy
* Your name displayed on a 'Thank You' plaque near your adopted species (by 20th of following month)
* One complimentary copy of our Z magazine, packed with conservation news and zoo updates
* Thank you letter
* Thank you card
* Animal stickers
* Image of your adopted animal species
* Personal adoption certificate
* A fact sheet full of amazing facts about your chosen animal
* A puzzle sheet.
PLACES TO EAT.
Around the zoo there are plenty of places to have something to eat or grab a drink. Unfortunately I find them to be too busy and too slow. Last time I went to the zoo we popped into the main restaurant I it was hammered. People were literally pushing in front of one another to get to tables.
My recommendation would be to take your own food and drink. There are picnic areas and table dotted around the zoo or you can eat on the move. Far more convenient and less chance of getting into a punch up. (I'm exaggerating a little there). Not to mention the money you will save by making your own butties.
IS IT WORTH IT?
Although I think it is quite expensive for a one off visit you can't complain about the variety of animals that are housed in the Zoo. You will definitely spend the full day there and I can guarantee you'll enjoy it. I find it harder to believe that there are many better zoos in the world, never mind the UK.
Chester Zoo is fabulous! I went years ago when I was a little girl but have never got round to going back until my birthday last week - who says you have to grow old gracefully?! It was a little cold when we went, so we were a bit worried that all the animals would be hidden away, but they have designed it so well that there are lots of indoor places to visit.
It is really easy to get to, there are lots of brown signs from the M6. There is plenty of free parking when you get there. The car park is huge so even when it is busy, you'll find somewhere to park - you might just have a bit of a walk to the main entrance!
The ticket can be bought online before you visit, or there is a ticket desk at the park gates. Tickets vary depending on the time of season and up to date price can be found on their website but to give you an idea, adult tickets range from £14 to £18 and children's tickets from £11 to £15. Infants up to two years are free and you can get discounted family tickets if there are a few of you. I'd say this is pretty good value for money because the zoo is massive and there are plenty of different animals to look at. it's definitely a day of a visit.
When you get into the zoo, you should grab a map to help you get round in a logical way. You'll definitely need to plan your trip or you'll be walking for miles and going round in circles. If you have a map, you can go in a sort of big loop and see all the animals.
I'm not going to talk about all the animals because I'll be here all day but i'll mention some of my favourite parts. All of the big hitters are here - elephants, lions, tigers and rhinos. The elephants are right in front of you as you enter and there are a couple of babies that are really cute. The enclosure is massive and there are plenty of viewing points. We loved the bat cave which is obviously very dark and has bats flying freely. They don't land on you but they fly pretty close and it is quite thrilling if you have the nerve. There are staff inside who will tell you about them and point out the bigger ones. On the whole we found the staff throughout the park extremely friendly, helpful and obviously very passionate about their work.
The orang utans are adorable and again, there are a couple of babies. The enclosure is quite warm (even on a cold day) so there are water jets spraying cool water over you. The chimpanzees are great. When we were there they were being very playful which is always fun to see. The giraffes are good and you can go inside there indoor house if it is cold, so you won't miss out. There is a weighing scale inside and you can see how much they weigh if one of them walks over it. In the days after we visited one of the giraffes had a baby, so it seems there is a bit of a baby boom going on!
There are meerkats as well, looking very cute and, rather bizarrely, located between the rhino enclosures! There is also a massive new enclosure for the jaguar at he back of he zoo, which is inside and packed full of information. It is quite a challenge to spot the cats inside, but easier to spot is the amusing sloth (like Sid from the Ice Age films) who lives nearby.
Some of the more weird and wonderful animals in the park include the rather odd painted dogs that are like hyenas but they do indeed look like they have been painted with random colours. There is also a massive bird enclosure that has menacing looking vultures and eagles, and a smaller enclosure that has free flying smaller birds in.
As with many zoos, conservation is at the forefront of Chester's ethos and you can donate money on top of the part of your entry ticket that goes towards it. There are various ways to do so, the most popular seeming to be sponsoring an animal, for which you get a plaque near the enclosure of your chosen animal. The zoo obviously takes care of it's animals and I felt like the priority was given to them over the visitors, which is of course how it should be. For example we didn't see the black rhino, presumably because it was too cold for him to be outside, which was a little disappointing, but I would prefer that than to see him/her looking uncomfortable.
One of the things I liked most about the zoo is the educational displays all around. There are some interactive displays in the monkey enclosure that show you how they educate them and there are lots of factual signs all around the park that will engage visitors old and young alike. The signs are bright and well designed so that younger visitors can enjoy them. They include lots of fascinating information about the animals and I liked that they compared information to things you could understand to give perspective - for example when describing the amount of food they all it.
The footpaths around the park are well maintained and easy to walk on in all weathers. If you are pushing a pram, you'll have no problems. There is a little monorail type thing that you can get between different parts of the zoo, For a small charge. It is high up and goes quite slowly, so you'll get good views. We didn't go on it because we enjoyed the walking but it was surprisingly busy even on a quiet day so people must have enjoyed it.
There are lots of food stalls and restaurants scattered around the zoo so there are plenty of places to get something to eat. Prices aren't cheap, but nor are they overly expensive. Food offered tends to be the basic attraction type fayre of sandwiches, burgers and chips. There are lots of places to get a snack too. I will mention that a lot of the food places were shut when we went, presumably because it was the quiet season, so bare in mind that the choice won't be as good as if you are visiting in summer. There are also lots of picnic areas if you have brought your own food. You can get your hand stamped at the gate too for re-entry so you can leave packed lunches in the car rather than having to carry them round with you all day.
Like I said Chester Zoo is great and the ticket prices are good value for money for a fun filled day out.
Chester Zoo is a fantastic zoo in Chester in the North West of England. It is open daily except for Christmas Day and opening times vary (typically shorter in the winter, longer in the summer and longer again in school holidays). If you go in a large group you can save money by buying tickets on the website. The other thing to note about ticket prices is that they are cheaper online for everyone as the price you are charged at the gate includes a "donation" of £1.70 - not much and you can refuse to pay the donation but if you don't want to feel pressured on the gate, opt out of this by getting the tickets on the website.
Ticket prices are £16.30 for adults and £12.60 for children, a family ticket costs £53.
==What to see==
Firstly, let me recommend you get there early. Doors open at 10am and even as two adults who don't dilly dally like children do, we found it was a struggle to see everything before 5pm. If you have small children, I'd try and plan your visit in advance. There are maps on the website: http://www.chesterzoo.org/ you are also given a map (free) on arrival plus a list of when the talks are for the animals on each day. I would do a bit of forward planning to ensure you see all of the things you want to see. My personal preference is head to the big stuff first so the elephants, lions and tigers as these are further over in the park it tends to be quieter first thing in the morning. We have ended our last two visits with the hoofed animals, meercats and painted dogs which seems to be a good way to do things as that tends to be quiet in the afternoon (and closest to the entrance/exit).
What to see..well with over 8000 species to see it is pretty difficult to name all of them but I'll give it a good go from memory. They have elephants, giraffes, tigers, lions, a red panda, zebras, camels, an aquarium, jaguars, rhinos (no hippos any more), monkeys, chimpanzees (no gorillas although they are apparently "coming soon", no bears except a spectacled bear which was cool (no polar bear, he left years ago), owls, snakes, orangutans, spiders, turtles, komodo dragon, gila monster, cassowarys, cheetahs, giant otters, penguins, condors, flamingos, lemurs, cranes, bush dogs, capyabara, butterflies, bats, meerkats.....and so the list continues. That is pretty much the big animals covered. Oh...except for the Dinosaurs which are there until November 2012 (see later review).
==Other "paid for" activities ==
You can jump on the monorail - this is ideal for tired feet or little feet. Adults cost £2 and Children cost £1 and I think you can jump on and off all day. Would be great if this was included in the price but I'm certain the monorail wouldn't be able to handle that many people getting on and off it. There is also a waterboat tour which costs £2 adults and £1 children. I am unsure where this goes or how long it lasts. I also noticed a mini golf but failed to see how much it cost and there is a "fossil wash" for children which I assume is an activity related to the dinosaur exhbit, again I didn't see how much they were. The prices aren't too bad but I guess on top of a ticket for the day, the cost for a family of four could soon mount up.
There is also a gift shop full of things children will never need but always want :)
Hardly an activity but it is worth noting wheelchairs can be hired there. After 5 hours of walking around, this was starting to look like a serious option for me!
*There are lots of "best bits". For me, the price reflects good value. It is a true "full day out" (unlike the Blue Planet Aquarium which we spent an hour in and paid £13) and you will be hard pressed to see everything unless you are quick on your feet.
* Lots of places to eat dotted around the exhibits, including places to have your own picnic. There is some indoor picnic areas but I imagine these get hugely crowded if it rained.
* Quite a few toilets about the site with the exception of the far right corner (with the painted dogs and zebras) but you are fairly close to the entrance there so shouldn't be too difficult.
* Disabled and pushchair access has been seriously considered and although there are a few ramps, there are no steps anywhere. A lift is in the orangutan house for disabled people or people using pushchairs.
* My favourite things to see were the Elephants which were brilliant and the Chimpanzees. Not sure if this has anything to do with them being the most recognisable areas from when I was a child, but the animals are pretty cool too.
* There have been lots of upgrades which is good in one sense (bad in another see below). Lots of the exhibits have more than just the animals to see, lots of information boards which are great for children and they have tried to give "a feel" of certain areas like the painted dogs are in an "African game reserve hut" which makes you feel like you are seeing them on a Savannah rather than just in Chester!
* I liked the Dinosaur exhibit, I expected it to be rubbish but it was pretty good as a free added extra - they are scaled versions of dinosaurs and they have put info panels around, you tour around the dinosaurs as you would the zoo exhibits and the dinosaurs are animatronic and move quite realistically. In some senses they do look a bit fake but without being Jurassic Park I thought they were pretty good.
* I don't have many "worst" bits but as with any of these sort of places, the food prices are not cheap. We took a packed lunch and were grateful but "topped up" throughout the day. Cafe prices for cakes and coffee were similar to Starbucks or Costa. Didn't see how much lunches were but a bag of crisps was £1 and ice lollies were £1.30-£2.
* I have hugely fond memories of Chester Zoo as a child and I know they have put a lot of money into upgrading various displays. £2million was spent on the Jaguar house (sponsored by Jaguar cars) but there is a huge house for 2 Jaguars and it can be pretty difficult to see them. I would of course rather they had nice big enclosures rather than tiny cages but it can be frustraing to see empty enclosures as they are hiding.
* With the upgrade they have mixed a lot of the animals. In "Realm of the Red Ape" (or something like that) they have orangutans with lizards with snakes. Then in "Tropical Realm" they have turtles, tropical birds, spiders and snakes. For me the bog standard old "Reptile house" worked really nicely but 'tropical realm' just lacked something this time, perhaps the lack of enormous snakes (as they were in with the orangutans).
* The worst bit for me is always the aquarium as the first are often fairly boring when compared with tigers. Having just visited a great aquarium this week, it was hard to get excited about the fish in the aquarium at the zoo as there were no big fish or rays or sharks. It looked like a large pet shop.
Overall, I believe it is a brilliant attraction for all ages. We were there almost six hours and had a truly great day out. Take your own packed lunch and book online for the best prices. Hope you enjoy your day as much as we did. It is the best zoo I've ever visited.
We live about 20 minutes away from Chester Zoo, so I've been a fair few times over the years. My last visit we were there 8 hours, pretty much from opening to closing. It's safe to say I love it there!
Chester Zoo is huge. It really does take a whole day to get around it all. There is the whole range of animals, with everything you'd expect - like elephants, giraffes and lions - and some more unusual creatures too - like the mesmerising African painted dogs and the beautiful spectacled bears (like Paddington so they say!). One of my favourite exhibits is the fruit bat forest where you can walk through the darkness with bats swooping past you - amazing. My other favourite is the jaguar enclosure - feeding time highly recommended!
It's quite annoying that you have to pay extra for the monorail, but you do get a great view of some of the exhibits from above. Food is reasonable, quite expensive - but better than you can expect at many theme parks / attractions.
I totally recommend Chester Zoo. It's my favourite zoo that I've visited. They also do lots of conservation work in the UK and overseas. A great day out!
I thoroughly love Chester Zoo but always wince slightly at how much it costs to get in. Therefore I am going to rate Chester Zoo 4 stars.
I felt compelled to write after visiting Chester zoo on Sunday the 25th of August and coming away thoroughly disappointed.
We had been visiting Wales and decided to stop off at the zoo on the way back home to Sheffield for a combined treat of my birthday and also for the benefit of my twin 6 year old girls. We managed to park with relative ease but then it all started to head downhill after that. The person at the entry till told me the entry fee would be £50 for a family of four, it wasn't until looking at the price board adjacent to the till that I realised this would be £5 higher than the normal price because he had also added on 10% for some kind of conservation? I suspect the zoo knows full well that we, as the public, do not always listen to what people are saying for the first few seconds of any conversation in situations such as these as they are rarely relevant and if they were to ask us first if we wanted to contribute they also know our answer would be mostly "no". My answer was "no" and as a result the price came back down to £45.
How did they work out that 10% of £45 was £5 anyway? Where is the extra 50 pence going and more to the point where is the £45 going if some is not going back into conservation for the zoo?
When we got into the zoo it soon dawned on us that the situation wasn't going to improve. The map that was provided to us was completely inadequate. Dotting Rhino's over the grounds of the zoo and no differentiating breeds on the wooden signs just served to confuse us and with no clear guide of the path we were on we spent more time lost than knowing where we were going.
The monkeys were our first port of call where after struggling through the crowds we realised that the reflective glass made it near impossible to see parts of the cage much to the dismay of my young children, while we are talking about monkeys the display for the miniature monkeys had so much condensation on it it was difficult to see anything but a small section of the cage.
We thought the monorail may provide a better view of the zoo only to discover we would have to pay again to use this service, was £45 of our money not enough to provide a free rail service for the short distance? Added to that the journey was spoiled again by a distinct lack of animals and a loud tannoy that seemed to bear little relation to where we were on the track and where it was saying that animals were meant to be. So you don't lose count, the total spent is now £52.
After spending a little more time lost we decided to go and find something to eat. I wasn't going to be Oakfield house as we found that closed, maybe the Acorn pub? No, that was closed to...so were a variety of other premises. The option we were left with was an obscenely expensive cafe which had queues going back out of the entry door. Since the other option was leaving the zoo to find food we decided to brave the queue and wait our turn. I had a BBQ Chicken Panini and my partner had a Tuna Melt Ciabatta. We didn't feel it was unreasonable after spending around £5 for a single sandwich that we may find a small garnish, or maybe a real plate to eat off but alas, we were deprived of both. My children had a snack box and this seemed to represent better value and with retrospect I wish I had just got one of those instead. That "meal", including a scone and two cups of tea came to £23! The total is now up to £83.
After leaving the cafe, hungry I should add, we decided to try and find our way back only to fail miserably because of the awful maps that were provided. Because my partner was ill and unable to walk far ( she was also sick of getting lost) we had to take the mono rail back again at another cost of £7, we're now on a total of £90.
Overall I feel cheated, it should have been a great day out for me and my family and turned out to be one of stress and trouble. The dinosaurs were a small saving grace but I certainly wouldn't pay £90 for a family of four to see them which is effectively what it cost.
Definitely not recommended!
We visited Chester Zoo at the weekend and had a lovely day. The park has changed over the years and is a lovely relaxing place to visit with the family. However, I do have to criticise the charging system for entry to the park. The price board shows two lots of prices, one is the standard charge and the other includes a donation which is around £2 extra per person. This is a great idea as the money is for the conservation programme, but, big but!, the cashier automatically charged us the full price including the donation without asking us if we wanted to pay it, this is a bit of a bullying tactic as most people would be too embarrassed to ask them to take it off. Days out for the family don't come cheap, especially when there are five of you. The donation added a considerable amount to our admission fee. It would be far nicer to have collection boxes where people could choose if they wanted to donate, and how much they wanted to give.
Most of the animal enclosures are lovely and the animals well looked after. My favourites, the elephants, monkeys, chimpanzees (hilarious) and the baby Cheetahs. We couldn't see the tigers because they have built them some sort of ledge which is totally hidden by trees so all you can see is the occasional striped leg or a glimpse of an ear!
The Orang-utan house is awful, the most depressing horrible place in the zoo, I felt sorry for the animals who all looked depressed and we couldn't wait to get out of there. It looks like a huge green concrete prison.
When we arrived at the zoo, we had our photograph taken by a photographer against a blank background. We went to find it on our way out but we had a job because there were hundreds of photos and we had not been given a ticket or anything which would have made it a lot easier to find. We eventually found it with the assistance of one of the staff but were then told that the pack would cost £17.99! The pack contained a number of photographs of us superimposed with different animals and also included on-line access to download as many photos as we wanted; it also included a fridge magnet. I couldn't help thinking that they would make far more money if they offered people the opportunity to buy one photo for a fiver, instead people were walking away with no pictures and the packs were probably thrown in the bin. What a waste!
Apart from that the day was lovely, the animals we saw were on form, the gardens are beautifully maintained, the staff were very pleasant and even though it rained (as usual) we had a lovely day. I would recommend it and am a bit ashamed that it is virtually on my doorstep but I don't go often enough.
I was brought up not far from Chester, just over the border in north wales, so with this family attraction just down the road, I have been there several times with varying experiences. As a child, the zoo seemed a magical place and a brilliant day out which lasted forever because there is so much walking to do. There were lots of animals to see and we'd usually take a picnic to eat on one of the benches to avoid paying the inflated prices within the zoo.
The last time I went to Chester Zoo was for my 30th birthday. My fiancé took me because I said it was somewhere I'd like to go....must have been wanting to relive my childhood what with it being a milestone birthday. Although we had a good day, I was a bit disappointed that the zoo wasn't as good as I remembered it (nothing ever is when you view it through an adult's eyes!), the biggest disappointment being that we hardly saw any animals!
My favourite animals at any zoo are owls, penguins and meerkats, and in fairness we did get to see these. We visited the meerkats at feeding time which was the highlight of the day because they kept running off and hiding instead of coming forward to be fed, so there was a game of chase going on between the meerkats and the zoo worker. The owl section was full and we got a good view walking through them all. The penguins were their usual sociable selves and kept us entertained for a little while waddling around and dipping in and out of the water.
The biggest surprise for me was the butterflies. We went through this beautiful indoor area (sure it probably has a name but I can't remember it off the top of my head). There were so may beautiful, striking butterflies sitting on the tree branches and flying around, it really impressed me and I took quite a few photos. I didn't think I'd be bothered about them to be honest, but they were lovely and all had beautiful markings and patterns. Maybe it's a sign of my age that I am more in tune with nature than I was as a childhood visitor.
We wandered around and tried to prioritise the animals we wanted to see first, because you rarely get time to see everything with the zoo being quite large. We stopped to see the elephants and then the giraffes, but none of them were making an appearance and were hidden in the indoor bit where the public aren't allowed. I wasn't too bothered as these aren't my absolute favourites, but I really love lions, jaguars and cheetahs and we had to be very patient for these to come out and do something as they all seemed to be sleeping.
The monkeys and chimps were another highlight, as they have swings and allsorts of contraptions set up to keep them entertained. I could have watched these for hours as they were winding each other up and jumping from rope to rope. This is definitely worth seeing if you have kids as they'll keep you entertained for ages, whereas some of the other animals are cute but don't do very much.
Each animal has a board by where it is homed, and the board tells you all about them including where they originate and what they eat. This is really nice for children and school trips, but as an adult I skim-read a lot of them just out of interest.
You will do a lot of walking at Chester Zoo, and I've always been lucky and had reasonable weather. I'm not sure it would be quite so enjoyable if it was raining, although there are cafes, a pub and various other eating areas to shelter in the event of showers. The prices can be quite high in these places though so beware if you're feeding a family of four. On top of the entrance fee (which has been sneaking up over the years), it can be an expensive day out with all the extras. The standard prices are £17 for an adult and £13 for a child, although there are concessions and family tickets available.
There is an overhead cable car to help people get around a bit more quickly and easily, although I have never used this myself so I'm not sure if they charge extra for it. I imagine the view is quite good though and you wouldn't miss seeing any animals as you'd save time walking around.
All in all, I think Chester Zoo is a good fun family day out. The only advice I'd give is to wear flat shoes, take a brolly, and take a packed lunch. And be patient if you really want to see certain animals as you might have to wait for them to wake up.
As I have lived near Chester Zoo all my life and my family are very animal loving people, I have been there countless times in my life. I love the place and I have a lot of cherished memories from there. I have watched the place grow to what it is now.
When I used to visit as a child a lot of the animals that are there now weren't there then. The mount of species they have gained is incredible. The enclosures have also expanded over the years giving the animals much more space which also means more space to view them. The other thing I have noticed a difference in is the amount of activities for children has increased. The last time I went was last month with my boyfriend and even he found the kiddies things amusing! The layout of the zoo has changed to a certain extent, a lot of the walkways have been decorated to fit the area of the world that the animals in those enclosures have come from. It makes the place feel well thought out.
The admission price is shocking at £15.40 for an adult and £11.50 for a child. However, when you think of the bills the zoo must have to pay and their ongoing work to save endangered species, it kind of makes it easier to hand over that money. Food is also very expensive but a good idea is to take your own food and have a picnic!
If you haven't visited Chester Zoo, its about time you did! The place is teeming with animals, plants and activities. I love the place and wish I could afford to go more often! The kids will love it and so will you!
As i only live about a 40 mins drive away from Chester Zoo over the years ive visited with my 2 children so many times ive lost count.Its a brilliant place to go for a day out for all ages from toddlers to old age pensioners
Ive even the the past taken my children when its been raining just wrapped up warm and worn waterproof clothing, As even on a rainy day there's so much to see that indoors like the Tropical Realm which houses frogs, tortoises, birds and even crocodiles.Also there's the Parrot breeding centre which houses the parrots and other birds.You can also see many other animals that there in closers are in side like the jaguars, red apes and elephants any many more animals that you can see and still keep dry and warm even on a rainy cold day.
The last time I went with my 2 children was last year in mid august and on that day it was a really nice day,The sun was shining all-day.We had fun walking around all the in closers and seeing all the different animals from the bats cave to the sea-lions from big to small animals.There is over 7000 animals and more than 400 species rare, exotic and even endangered animals so everyone will be happy.
You are going to need a whole day at Chester Zoo to see everything as the zoo is on 110 acres of land whilst there is a lot of walking to do there is a monorail which stops at different point of the zoo and run very often.There is also a byggy and wheelchair hire point if you wish to hire either.There is even lockers dor you to keep your things in saves carrying everything all day.
All id say to you is bring a warm coat as no matter what the weather you will be guaranteed a good day out.No need to bring food as there is a burger bar and a cafe and they other cold and hot food and drinks at a really good price.Dont forget before you go to pop into the shop on site to maybe pick up a cuddly toy or just a postcard to remind you of a really fun packed day at Chester Zoo.
SOME OTHER ACTIVITIES TO DO AT CHESTER ZOO
* Walk around the gardens
* Children's park
*Mini golf course
*Children's face painting
Opens everyday at 10.00am except 25th of December.
Closes at 3.30pm mid winter and 5.30pm in summer.Off Peak - autumn term 2010/spring term 2011
Prices are as follows
- Children aged 2 and under: free of charge
- Pre-school to Year 10 inclusive: £8.95
- Years 11 upwards £9.95
I have visited Chester zoo at least 10 times in my lifetime, and will continue to go back again and again. With over 400 different species at the zoo, it is a feast of things to see, do and experience. The range of animals is absolutely staggering and it is fascinating to be able to see them all up close. Whether it's the tigers, lions, jaguars, or the free flying bat house which visitors can go into; there will be something for everyone. It is also fantastic to see that Chester zoo provides the animals with spacious and appropriate enclosures. Chester zoo focuses a lot on conservation and they have a lot of information for interested visitors about the work that they do to try and conserve species and habitats around the world.
The admission cost varies throughout the year depending on the business of that season. The highest cost, between July and September is about £17 for an adult and £12.50 for a child. For this price you get access to all of the animal exhibits, and to Chester zoo's famous gardens where they show flowers from all over the world. The parking at Chester zoo is also free. There is plenty in the zoo to keep children entertained, including a play area, face painting and even mini golf.
The zoo is huge and is spread out over a large area so it is a good idea to wear sensible shoes and be prepared for a bit of walking, but there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and drink stores to keep you refreshed along the way. The zoo also has a monorail which is free to use once you have paid admission so you can save your legs if you suddenly realise you want to be at the other end of the zoo! The monorail is also great fun and gives you a different viewpoint of the zoo. The wheelchair accessibility at the zoo is also great.
As you can probably tell, I can't recommend this zoo enough. I think it is a great place to go for a full day out, and it is fun and interesting for people of all ages.
I was taken to Chester Zoo this year, by my boyfriend, for my 27th birthday- testament if ever there was one that this is an attraction suitable for both children and adults alike!
It was mid-week when we went, and the zoo was relatively quiet, although there were several school groups and of course still plenty of familys about. I put the quietness down to the fact that England were playing a World Cup game that afternoon....
At the time of visiting admission was £15.95 per adult (£10.95 for a child)- this was during "mid season". Prices go up to a maximum of £16.90 per adult and £12.45 per child during high season- which is basically during school holidays! Family tickets (2 adults & 2 children) are available for between £41.50- £55.00 depending on the season.
Getting there is very easy by car- the zoo is clearly signposted with the brown tourist attraction signs and there is plenty of parking on site. I don't have experience of getting there by public transport myself, but I am led to believe it's relatively easy via a normal bus service or by using a special zoo shuttle bus from the city centre/railway station.
The Zoo is apparently the size of 50 football pitches! It has various places dotted around for buying food & drinks- including icecreams- essential on a hot day! There are picnic areas around the zoo too, perfect for if you bring your own packed lunch! There is a monorail which goes around the zoo, as well as a boat ride, (both £2 per adult and £1.50 for kids) both of which can cut down on the amount of walking required, which I'd imagine is quite appealing for little legs!
There are various different talks given throughout the day (vary from day to day) specifically about certain animals. There are also opportunities to see the animals at feeding time. There are no animals that can be petted or touched at the zoo- something to bear in mind for some children (and adults, like me!) who like that sort of thing. You are also heavily discouraged from feeding the animals- there are signs up saying anyone doing so will be asked to leave the zoo!
We arrived at the zoo about midday and proceeded directly to the elephants. They're located right near the entrance, and although they weren't in their outside enclosure on the day we visited, it was still a brilliant way to start the visit! I know it sounds a bit daft, but you don't really realise what spectacular- and huge- creatures they are until there's one a couple of meters in front of you!
We then made our way to the giant otters - a new attraction this year- via some warty hogs, regular sized otters, chimpanzees, apes, and flamingos! I loved the giant otters- although a lady in the gift shop pointed out that they're more extra large otters than giant otters! Nonetheless, I loved watching them swimming and eating.
We then stopped for lunch at the Ark Restaurant. We had some rather disgusting burgers and chips. Weird tasting chips which we covered in salt to (try to) disguise the flavour- not recommended!
After our sad excuse for a lunch we looked for Lions, and only found one, who was having a nap, ignoring her rapturous audience! We then proceeded to the bat cave- which was brilliant and not for those of a nervous disposition, if the thought of bats skimming your head freaks you out! The Spectacled Bears were obviously busy the day we were there as they were conspicuous by their absence. We then visited the rhino enclosure and got to see one relatively close up who was peering at us through a hedge! Got a couple of good pics of him before moving on to the merekats. I will now confess to getting all squeaky and over the top at the sight of a merekitten- i don't know if that's what they're really called, but it seems appropriate- they were incredibly tiny and cute, and it felt like a priviledge to see the babies up close with their mamas!
We had a sit down and a drink in Cafe Tsavo before leaving- and the food here looks ten times better than where we ate a couple of hours previous!! We stopped by the shop before going and I picked up a cuddly otter toy which I couldn't resist buying!
Chester Zoo really is a day out for people of any age. It is a lot of walking admittedly, but if you get there early, you can take your time, make plenty of stops and enjoy all the animals. I can't imagine it would be much fun in the rain, or general bad weather, although they do make a point of being able to enjoy it in the wet weather still- and offer planned walks which keep you in the dry as much as possible. Although I'd just advise waiting for some good weather if possible as I think it's quite a lot of money to spend to not make the most of all that's on offer. It is expensive, but if you make the most of it, you'll get value for money.
Chester Zoo is a great day out for young and old alike. When I first was told that I'd have to go as part of Psychology coursework I thought it was going to be a massive waste of time, but as soon as I got there my opinion quickly changed.
The first thing you notice is that Chester Zoo is a massive, massive place. The map states it is the size of 50 football pitches and I certainly wouldn't argue with that! Because of its size, you do a lot of walking and so if taking very young children who can walk I would recommend taking a pushchair as they are likely to get fed up.
Because of its size, the zoo is home to a massive array of animals, some incredibly rare, most incredibly beautiful. My personal favourite was the meerkats, with my opinion being shared by a 4 year old standing next to the enclosure for hours doing comparethemeerkat impressions.
The pricing is fairly fair, I'm not sure what the cost is for individuals but as we were in a group we had a reduced rate although once inside the refreshments are quite expensive so if you are going for a daytrip I would recommend a picnic.
The staff are also very helpful, many agreeing instantly to help with the coursework by filling in questionnaires and sharing their knowledge and views on the animals which was certainly an interesting experience.
Many people seem to feel that the zoo is somewhere only really meant for children to be shown that there are other animals than cats and dogs but having been surprised myself I would recommend it to anyone who is around Chester and finds them self with a few spare hours. I certainly enjoyed it and I hope you have too!
Having just come back from a few days away with our 2 year old in which we visited Chester Zoo I thought I would do a review on the Zoo and our experiences there. I am not going to discuss all the animals we saw but will instead focus on the highlights for us and I will not be discussing the rights and wrongs of Zoo's as I guess people reading this review will be pro them and wanting to know what it is like to visit..
Where is it?
Chester Zoo is located on the outskirts of Chester we found it very easy to get to from our Hotel in North Wales and very well signposted by the brown places of interest signs. Once there is plenty of parking. It is also accessible by bus and bike if you fancy doing your bit for the planet. The zoo website gives all the details about bus times and how to get there including the satellite navigation code to enter.
As the zoo tickets for us were included in the our hotel stay we were able to use the fast track queue to get in, but as we had arrived at 9.50 there wasn't a queue at any entrance and staff we letting people in early. However some of the experiences inside were not open then so we just used these 10 minutes to visit the bathrooms and look at the map and plan our visit.
The first animals for us to see were the elephants and the Elephants of the Asian Forest exhibit. This is a walk around some enclosures which different tropical rainforest vegetation. One of the things that my son appreciated straight away was the various noises and calls of the birds within this and was listening to them avidly and pointing at rustling in the trees. We were able to see some of the elephants in their inside and outside enclosures. All of us loved seeing them enjoy their breakfast and start to rub themselves up against the wall to get rid of a scratch.
We decide to head next towards the Spirit of the Jaguar exhibit as both me and my son love big cats. The smell inside this enclose is weird and I can honestly say I have never smelt anything like it. Inside there you can see the landscaping of the enclosures and the jungle effect. But we saw no Jaguars inside and thought that they were maybe out side hiding from us so out side to see if we could spot them. At the first part of the outside we saw no jaguars but did see a lot of people looking for them so we decide to go over to the other side of the outside enclosure to see if because this was slightly quieter and more hidden they were there. This was the case and we all felt very privileged as we got there as a jaguar was stalking down the cage straight towards us and walked along the front of the cage and then to back of it and back inside the whole think last just a few minutes but it was breath taking. He seemed to be doing a loop to see where they had put his food that morning. It happened really fast and too fast for us to get a camera out and take a picture but the image in all of our minds will last and our son was just enthralled by it.
We then headed off to the Realm of the Red Ape and the orangutans. I was hoping that this would be to my sons liking more than the chimpanzees as though he loved looking at them when they started to be noisy he got a little scared. It was me I was worried about in this exhibit though as not only did they have orangutans in their and they had a few snakes and in particular a type of the worlds longest snake now as a snake phobic person I was hoping that the snakes wouldn't be too visible so I could just focus on the organ tans and get my breath on my way though it. Fortunately for me the snake bits were all to the left of the walk ways so provided I stayed focused on the central area with the apes in I was able to cope without panicking. Both my husband and son looked at the snakes and jumped as a one of them reared up a bit apparently so I was glad I didn't look. The orangutans were great and a huge pull for a lot of people as they hung right next to the Perspex windows and pulled some faces all of which made my son laugh along with other children in the area. We spent quite a while in this area watching the orangutans swing pull faces and groom one another as it appealed to our son so much. Just outside this area was an otter enclosure which was great to watch as these delightful creatures swam and munched on their lunch.
One of my son's favourite enclosures was the penguins not so much the fact that these birds waddled but that you could see them swimming under the water too from different windows. This just fascinated him as they gracefully swam around and cheekily dived up and down. I think he wanted to be able to swim like that to.
My husbands favourite bit was the twilight world with the flying bats. In this bit you walk through the enclosure and the bats are flying around above you and to the side of you. Their brilliant sonar stops them flying in to you but some times you feel a change of air beside you as one fly's past. It takes a few minutes for your eyes to accustom themselves to the dark but once that is done you see them zooming around and hanging on the trees. All the staff's wear a light up red badge so they are easy to see if you want to ask any questions and we found them to be informative when we ask them about the different types and did they get on OK.
Eating and drinking
There are plenty of places for you to buy food from around the zoo this includes various snack stalls selling burgers and ice-creams and drinks as you go around the zoo. There is also a fine dining restaurant and a canteen style restaurant. Equally there are plenty of places you can sit down with a picnic. As we were staying at a near by hotel we had elected to eat in a restaurant there.
We ate in the Ark restaurant which I think the best way to describe it is a glorified school canteen. You queue to get you food be it hot or cold. As it was a windy April day when we visited we choose some hot food. The bill for two adult meals and drinks and a child's meal and a bottle of milk was just under £19. The food we choose was a chilli con carne a cottage pie and fish and chips for our son. I have to say were well cooked and lovely and hot and we had no complaints. The food is severed on paper/ cardboard plates so this lets you know it's not a fine dining experience but the food is wholesome filling and well made. The problem we had with the place was how busy it was and how cramped the tables were. It is almost impossible to steer a push chair through it and you need to pick a table on the aisle if you need to park your pushchair. This we found lead to our son being hugely distracted by everything and he didn't really eat his meal. In the Ark restaurant there are both toilets and baby changing faculties. The toilets were clean and fresh and we had no problems with them. The baby changing room is really too small and they have tried to fit too much into it and it is really hard to steer a pushchair in so if you have a double buggy you won't fit this into this room.
We also had an ice cream from the real ice cream kiosk during our trip and this was lovely so I would definitely recommend you try one of these and there was plenty of flavours to choose from mine had bits of honey and hokey pokey in it and was delicious if not that good for the waist line.
The toilets we used in the park we regularly cleaned and had plenty of all the necessary toilet paper in them. They are also well sign posted so you can find them fairly easily we found. There are both ladies gents and disabled toilets around the park and these are all well sign posted.
Getting around the park and accessibility
We found all the areas within the zoo to be very well signposted and it gives clear directions to each of the exhibits with the use of wooden sign posts. With your admission you get a map and this we found useful to help us decide where we wanted to go and in what order. The paths are we maintained and we had no problems pushing a pushchair around the zoo and through all the exhibits there is the odd steep gradient to go up and down some bridges but nothing that left us feeling breathless. The whole place seems to be very accessible to both pushchairs and wheelchairs alike. You can hire pushchairs if you wish but we had taken ours so I can't comment on how good they are. It is worth noting that though the mono rail can take pushchairs and wheelchairs it can take mobility scooters on it.
Contact details and prices opening times
The website is www.chesterzoo.org a lot of information about opening times planning your visit adopting animals is on there and I would definitely recommend you visit there before your visit to help you get the most out of your trip.
The price of admission varies dependent about what season you go and cost between £13.60 and -£16.90 for adults. Children under 3 are free children between 3-15 costs between £9.90-£12.45. You can also get a family ticket. If you purchase your ticket on line before your visit you also save 10% on the price.
The zoo generally opens at 10 am closes at 5pm it is opening all year bar Christmas day and Boxing Day
There are plenty of other things to do around the zoo for both adults and children you can pay extra for a boat trip or mono rail journey to see the animals from a different view. I would definitely recommend the mono rail.
Children will probably enjoy some of the adventure play ground equipment and my son did enjoy trying to have a go but he was really just a little bit too small for it all at 2 years old.
You can pay extra to get face painting done or have a go at pottery painting.
There are educational talks through out the day by the zoo keepers at the enclosures of the relevant animals we didn't do this as I don't think our toddler would have stayed still for them.
The zoo also allows you to purchase extra things such as being a keeper for the day or adopt and animal.
Overall and recommendation
I would definitely recommend Chester Zoo for a visit as we had a great time it s a wonderful day out for all the family. I know we will probably be going back in another few years when our son is a little older say 4 or 5 so he can experience the animals again. I think the zoo has put a lot of time an effort in to making your visit enjoyable with well planned attractions to enhance the experience for both the animals and the visitors. There are plenty of places to eat and spend you money but I don't think that they have priced them too high really considering they have you trapped there as a captive audience as it were. My only criticism is the lack of space in the Ark restaurant for pushchairs to get through and the lack of space in the baby changing facilities.
Last weekend, me and a friend were struggling with ideas as to what to do, apart from the usuall shopping trip and blowing all my wages in Primark. So, as an alternative I thought visiting Chester Zoo might be a good option. I hadnt visited the zoo since I was about 6 (20 years ago!), and being in Liverpool we were about an hours drive away on a good day. So off we hopped in the car, butties packed, ready to see the zoo's delights!
We arrive around 10.30 and the zoo was already filling up niceley, mainly there was a lot of families with small children, plus it was a saturday so it being busy was expected. There is good parking space available, and a park and ride sectin where you can park your car and take the bus directly to the zoo. Admission for an adult was £12.50 and there is a concession rate for students and o.a.ps. I think it is a wee bit expensive, especially if your with children, but once inside I knew my fee was worth every penny.
Once inside, there is a gift shop, toilets, large canteen-style cafe, all done in a wooden amazonian effect decor to give the feel your in the middle of the Sahara or Rainforest! Signs are dotted all over the zoo to guide you to each section, it is a rather large place, larger then what I remembered when I first came!
First stop was the Rhinoceros house where a zoo member of staff was giving a group talk about the animal and taking questions from the public, then passing around a piece of Rhinoceros tusk. I thought this was very informative and a good chance to ask the experts. Its clear that the staff at chester zoo are commited to the welfare of these beautiful animals, It is actually quite sad and shocking that a lot of them are close to etiniction in the wild, the staff at chester zoo ensure a breeding programme and a percentage of the admission money goes towards this. I am proud to help such an important cause.
Being a rather cold and damp February day, a lot of the animals didnt seem to want to come out of their enclosures (cant blame them really!) which was a bit disapointing. The Chimpanzee house was by FAR the most entertaining part for me, I found myself wondering in their at around 1pm, not to come out until 3pm, amused by their acrobatic abilities and quite scary similarities to humans.
Another section in zoo i'd thought i'd mention is the 'twilight zone'. This is a darkened cave, quite humid in temperature, so if your at all claustrophobic you might want to avoid it, nethertheless, Im quite claustrophobic but found it ok. The cave is huge and filled with different species of Bats, that can fly quite close past you! The cave is manned by a member of staff who was very informative. You must be fairly quiet whilst entering as not to disturb the bats too much. I actually found it quite cool to have bats flying around me!
The zoo closes at 4.30, you'd think by arriving there at 10.30 it would be plenty of time, you'd be wrong! By closing time we still hadn't seen everything! I would advise anyone going to get there on opening time which is around 9-9.30 to get the most out of your visit.
I would DEFINETLY visit this zoo again and reccomend it to anyone with a love of wildlife. O.K, i didnt get too see a Toucan (which i was hoping for) It is truly amazing to see these animals in the flesh, we must preserve these amazing creatures before they disapear from our planet forever.