Reopening FAQs

We are aware that many of you will have questions regarding the re-opening of Colchester Zoo. We have therefore tried to publish as much information as we can to keep you in the know.

Colchester Zoo hopes to be able to reopen in July but this depends on Government announcements.

Although the zoo may be able to reopen, a visit to the park will be far from the previous experience when visiting Colchester Zoo due to conditions and restrictions in place to ensure health and safety of staff, visitors and animals.
The health, safety and welfare of our staff, visitors and animals is priority for re-opening the zoo. Please be assured that we are taking all the measures we can to ensure this.

🐾Visitors will be required to book their visit online, including members and those under the age of three to help manage capacity. 

🐾Tickets are available in 30-minute slots to stagger arrival times and set at a capacity which will allow social distancing within the park.

🐾 Staff are already receiving daily health checks before starting work and wearing the relevant PPE. This will continue to happen to ensure both their safety and the welfare of visitors and animals alike. Staff will also receive additional training prior to re-opening.

🐾Thorough and regular deep cleaning will be carried out across the zoo throughout the day.

🐾We are kindly asking all visitors to bring their own PPE and follow personal hygiene regimes during their visit including washing hands regularly. Additional hand sanitising stations are also going to be in place throughout the park. Although we plan to have PPE available for visitors to purchase this will be limited therefore encourage visitors to bring their own.

🐾We have designed a one-way route that reinforces social distancing at all locations where it is possible within the park. We kindly ask visitors to follow this route to avoid crowding and reduce paths crossing. There are some areas of which the route includes two-way traffic to ensure you see as much of the park as possible but at a safe distance.

🐾There will be demarcations on the floor wherever possible to assist with social distancing.

🐾Signage will be put in place throughout the park to remind visitors to keep their distance from one another and to wash hands regularly.

🐾 We will be encouraging visitors to use contactless payment whenever possible and kindly ask that cash is only used as a last resort. With the contactless limit being increased to £45.00 there should be limited need for pin entry.

🐾 Some indoor areas where social distancing is not possible will remain closed until further notice along with our indoor and outdoor children’s play areas. Face painting, Lemur Walkthrough, Discovery Centre and Sensation Station also remain closed until further notice.

🐾 Food and dining options will be limited. All food at Colchester Zoo that is available is freshly prepared on site by staff who will be in relevant PPE with their health checked daily so you can trust the food that you consume on a day out with us.

🐾 Our daily public keeper talks and feeds will not take place until further notice in order to prevent crowding.

Whilst we are doing all we can to enable visitors to have a safe and enjoyable visit, it is the responsibility of our visitors to ensure they follow the guidelines to ensure their safety and others around them. Together we can ensure the zoo remains a safe place to visit for everyone.
Whilst it will not be mandatory to wear a face mask to visit Colchester Zoo, we would advise that it is good practice to have one available to wear when visiting.

Our staff will be wearing PPE to ensure their own safety and our visitors.

We are kindly asking all visitors to bring their own PPE and follow personal hygiene regimes during their visit including washing hands regularly. Additional hand sanitising stations are also going to be in place throughout the park.

We hope to have PPE available for visitors to purchase but this will be limited therefore encourage visitors to bring their own.
Colchester Zoo will be opening the usual summer hours of 9.30am – 6.00pm with the last entry an hour and a half before closing.

Visitors must enter the zoo during the 30-minute time slot that they have booked online in advance of their visit. Tickets can be purchased up to one hour prior to visiting and are available on a first-come first-served basis.

Upon parking at Colchester Zoo please remember to keep your distance from others.
There will not be a limit on the time that you can stay within the zoo, we just ask that you arrive at the time of your 30-minute time slot and adhere to the guidelines in place.

NB: The 30-minute time slot refers to your arrival time rather than the duration of your visit.
We respectfully ask that you help us keep the zoo a virus free destination for all to enjoy. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 please do not visit Colchester Zoo, please shield at home as per Government advice.

If you are in any way vulnerable, it is your responsibility to make the right choice for yourself and think of others around you. Again, we would urge everyone to refer to Government advice before making a decision to visit the zoo.
We will be operating a number of catering facilities within the park, although the number of outlets will be reduced and dining options limited.

Demarcations will be on the floor in all outlets to enable social distancing and a separate in and out system in place wherever possible. Queues will be managed where appropriate.

All food that is available is freshly prepared on site by staff who will be in relevant PPE with their health checked daily so you can trust the food that you consume on a day out with us.

Dining tables will be situated outside where possible and placed apart to enable social distancing. We ask visitors not to move tables for the health and safety of yourselves and others.
Yes, we will still offer hire of wheelchairs and scooters but these must be pre-booked at least 24hrs in advance of your visit. All equipment will be thoroughly cleaned after every use.

For more information on hires please click here.  
All visitors will be asked to book online in advance of their visit. This will help us to manage the capacity within the park daily. Tickets are going to be available in 30-minute time slots to help stagger visitor arrivals and manage the density of people on the designated route in the park.

Tickets will be available 2 weeks in advance of your visit and you can purchase tickets up to 1 hour before your visit. We ask that you make your purchase online via a computer or smart phone to assist us with capacity management and reduce the need of staff contact.
Yes you can, although you must pre-book your (free) ticket online in advance of your visit the same as paying visitors do to help us manage the number of visitors in the park and arrival times.

Tickets will be available 2 weeks in advance of your visit and you can purchase tickets up to 1 hour before your visit. We ask that you make your purchase online via a computer or smart phone to assist us with capacity management and reduce the need of staff contact.

On arrival you must show your valid Zoo Pass and pre-booked ticket.
Although Colchester Zoo is hoping to re-open, dependant on Government guidance, we are not expecting to be able to welcome the same number of visitors to what we are used to until normality returns. Therefore, income will still be limited and much less than what we are used to. Although we can reduce outgoings, we are only able to reduce a certain amount as we have to continue to offer the high standard of care which we have always provided to our animals.

The closure period has really hit Colchester Zoo hard and it will be a long time before the park is back in the position it was before COVID-19 therefore although it has been a struggle during closure, hard times are set to continue for a while, especially during the Winter months.

Your support is critical now more than ever – to find out more and how to donate please click here.
We are still waiting on Government Guidance, if we are able to open in July, we are not sure as yet whether it will be possible to open our retail shop. We will update you as soon as we have further information.
When we re-open we will be offering our Animal Experiences.

As soon as we know when we may be able to re-open, we will be rescheduling those animal experiences which we had to postpone due to COVID-19.

New bookings will also be taken but priority will be given to those who are rescheduling experiences.


Have an unanswered question?

We have tried to publish as much information as we can to keep you in the know but unfortunately, we are still in uncertain times until the Government make further announcements.

If you still have a question please feel free to get in touch with our team at enquiries@colchesterzoo.org and we will do our best to answer your query but we do ask for your patience and understanding in the meantime as we continue to plan our re-opening.

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