Colchester Zoo aims for more card-only transactions

With the upcoming transition to a charity, Colchester Zoological Society, in January 2025, we are reviewing operations with the best interests of the charity and visitors in mind.

Currently, Colchester Zoo accepts cash but encourages card payments for transactions where possible. Our Jungle Tumble Soft Play complex is currently the only card-only outlet on site however, the aim is to roll-out more card-only outlets in due course with the overall goal to have limited cash transactions within the park by 2025.

We are aware this is not convenient for all its visitors therefore, have decided not to go completely cashless but to accept cash at a limited number of outlets.

To assist visitors who prefer to visit with cash, at the Main Entrance to the Zoo, at Guest Services, there will be the opportunity to convert cash into a Gift Card that visitors can use for payment within the park where cash will not be accepted.   

On review of accounting, around 15% of transactions are still currently made in cash so this change will not affect the majority of visitors as habits do show that contactless and card payments are most popular.

The decision has been made for a number of reasons, not only due to being more efficient and economic but also to improve safety and security.

Within the tourism and hospitality sector there are a number of attractions and restaurants that have transitioned to card-only payments successfully and we hope to be able to make progress towards this movement, as smoothly as possible.

Gradually, various outlets within the Zoo will become card-only with a select number of catering outlets and activities in the park changing for the summer holidays. To start, our main restaurants, Penguini’s and Southern Kitchen, will become cashless from the week commencing 8th July 2024.

We would like to thank all its visitors in advance for their understanding and cooperation whilst this transition takes place.

FAQs

Please click on the below questions to reveal the answer.

Currently, our Jungle Tumble Soft Play complex is the only card-only outlet on site. From 8th July 2024, our main restaurants, Penguini’s and Southern Kitchen will become cashless.
The majority of our outlets will still accept cash payments, including our Ticket Office, Guest Services, The Outpost Gift Shop, Meerkat Hangout, Gourmet Sausage, Wrap and Roll, Chip n Mix and many others.
Unfortunately, we have been affected by inflation and card payments for us are much more economic for the Zoo as well as being more safe and secure. Therefore, we are gradually introducing more card-only outlets at the Zoo but will not become completely cashless.

On review of accounting, around 15% of transactions are currently made in cash and habits show that contactless and card payments are most popular. We are moving with modern technology and hoping to achieve the right balance of card and cash payments.
We understand that technical difficulties can happen at any time and do have procedures in place to ensure that all visitors can still proceed with their purchases despite any outages.
 
We are continuously working on improving our network infrastructure to reduce the risk of outages but do have emergency back up procedures in place to action if required.
You can still use Apple Pay or Google Pay in all of our outlets even in areas where you do not have signal or an internet connection.
We are aware this is not convenient for all of our visitors so to assist with those who prefer to visit with cash, there will be an opportunity to convert cash into a Gift Card at Guest Services, which can be redeemed at Jungle Tumble, Penguini’s and Southern Kitchen.
All of our Gift Cards are valid for 2 years so can be used during another visit if not fully redeemed on the day. The Gift Cards can be used throughout the Zoo including at the Outpost Gift Shop.
 
You’re welcome to upload a minimum amount and top up as required to avoid having remaining funds on the card.
Colchester Zoo is not becoming a cashless site, simply reducing cash transactions.
 
Cash donations will still kindly be accepted. We are also looking at alternative donation methods including ‘tap to donate’ in the future.

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