Uniform youth groups qualify for our discounted uniform group rates. These rates are available for children visiting the zoo as part of an organised, pre-booked trip.

Uniform Group Rates apply for:

  • Rainbows, Brownies & Guides
  • St John’s Ambulance
  • Air Cadets
  • Army Cadets
  • Beavers, Cubs, & Scouts
  • Boys or Girls Brigade
  • Sea Cadets
  • Young Farmers’ Clubs

If you are a member of a different organised youth group not listed above, but believe you may be eligible for these reduced rates, please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or email education@colchesterzoo.org


Click on link below, or scroll down the page for more details of what is available for uniform youth groups and how to book:


Prices

All group members must enter the zoo together to benefit from these discounted rates; we do not print out individual tickets.

We require all uniform groups to book their visit in advance, which is done via our online booking form (see below). Please note that when booking your visit it is fine if your numbers are estimates.  We will confirm your exact final numbers of children and adults on the day of your visit.

Ticket Type
Uniform Group Child£9.99
Uniform Group Additional Adult£11.99
Uniform Group Explorer Day£3.00
Goody Bag£2.00

***VAT at 20% is included in these prices which goes directly to the Government.

Booked Uniform Groups are also offered free adult leader places to ensure adequate supervision. Please see below (Supervision) for details.

Carers

Adult carers are admitted free of charge at a 1:1 ratio for any child with physical or emotional disabilities, are the subjects of SEND statements or EHCPs, or can provide other evidence of specific needs. Please note that you must declare the need for these carers on the day of your visit based on the children who attend on the day.

You may be asked for verification of the need for carers at entry.

Goody Bags

Uniform Groups have the option of purchasing Goody Bags in advance at just £2.00 per child (or bag). Just add your requirements to the booking form and these can be arranged for you.

Colchester Zoo requires two weeks notice that you wish to purchase these.

If you have ordered Goody Bags please collect them at the Outpost Shop, on the day of your visit, as you are leaving the zoo.


How to Book

All uniform group visits to Colchester Zoo must be pre-booked a minimum of five days in advance in order to qualify for our discounted rates.

To make a booking for a uniform group, fill in the form below. The information you enter will be completely secure and confidential. For more details of how we store and use data, please see our Privacy Policy, and the Policy for our booking form.

After you have filled in the form, within five working days, you will be emailed a detailed document confirming your trip (if you have not received it within that time, please contact our education department). This document will contain a cost breakdown based on your estimated numbers (final numbers, including free adult places, will be confirmed on the day).

Please note, if you have requested to participate in an Explorer Day with a session and tour, this is not confirmed until you receive this document. This document will also confirm the timings of your session and tour for a booked Explorer Day.

If you have any questions about making a booking please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or education@colchesterzoo.org


Payment

Deposits are not required for Uniform Groups when they make their booking. As we understand that numbers can change late minute when organising trips for groups of children, we do not accept pre-payment from Uniform Groups.

Uniform Groups must pay on the day, when they arrive, before they will be granted entry into the zoo. 

Payment on the day can be via cash or card. Please note, for faster entry the card must be present for payment. For security reasons our main entrance tills cannot processes card not present payment (e.g. paying via card over the phone). If required, we can accept on the day payment in this method; however, please be aware that this will slow your entrance process by potentially up to 30 minutes as the leader checking in will be directed to a different location to process this payment after they arrive.

We will confirm your final numbers with the leader when they check in on the day of your visit. Please ensure that when they go to check in they know exactly how many children and adults they have with them, and bring all Zoo Passes with them to be scanned. All the children and other adults should remain together (on the coach if you have arrived by one, or an appropriate place outside the entrance) until your main leader has checked in and been issued tickets.

Please note that the entire group needs to enter together to qualify for the discounted rates.  All children, adults or other individuals arriving late and entering separately from the group will be charged full price admission at entrance.  


Arrival

Coach and car parking at Colchester Zoo is free of charge.

If arriving at the zoo by coach, the coaches should park in the designated coach car park. Children and other supporting leaders should remain on the coaches while the leader checking in goes to the ticket kiosk to check in with final numbers and provide payment.

If arriving at the zoo in individual cars please ensure children gather in a safe location, not blocking the flow of traffic, within the car park. Children and other supporting leaders should remain in this gathering location while the leader checking in goes to the ticket kiosk to check in with final numbers and provide payment.

After your leader check in has been issued tickets, they should collect the entire group who will then enter the zoo via the main entrance building. The tickets, and any zoo passes being used, will need to be scanned and your group will be counted as you enter.

When exiting the zoo, you will exit the main exit which is through the Gift Shop. If you have purchased any goody bags, please collect them as you exit.


Explorer Days

Are you working on badge requirements, or encouraging your group to learn about endangered animals as part of your visit? Why not book on to take part in one of Colchester Zoo’s Explorer Days.

The next Explorer Days are scheduled for:
29th Feb 2020
1
st March 2020

For an additional £3 per child (in addition to the standard Uniform Group entry rates as detailed above), you can book a place on one of our Explorer Days.

These days provide an educational focus about endangered animals. Due to the nature of the topic, these days are recommended for children ages 7 and above, with tailored sessions/tours designed for children ages 7-11 (Brownies, Cubs, etc.) and ages 10-14 (Guides, Scouts, etc.).

What’s included in an Explorer Day:

  • Educational Session about endangered species (approximately 1 hour)
  • Guided tour focusing on endangered species* (approximately 1 hour)
  • Printed activity pack worksheets about endangered species to use during the rest of your visit
  • Goody bag

*please note that the guided tour does not provide any access to any behind the scenes areas

To book, simply fill in the booking form and choose an Explorer Day when selecting your visit date. Please note that Explorer Day places are limited in availability. We can not guarantee space for your until you received your full confirmation email after submitting this form.

If you have any questions about the next Explorer Days, or wish to inquiry about availability please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or education@colchesterzoo.org


Maps

We have a group map which highlights lunch locations, and other important information for groups. Please be aware that due to special events or other unforeseen circumstances some of these picnic areas may not be available on the day of your visit.

Click here to download our Group Map

We also have a downloadable general map of the zoo. This map is also available in hard-copy form at the zoo. Please request additional copies at entrance when you arrive if you require them.

Click here to download out General Zoo Map

If anyone in your group has accessibility needs, click here to see our accessibility page, which has further details including a downloadable access map which shows suggested easier routes to avoid our steep hills.


Risk Assessments

Colchester Zoo provides a risk assessment guidance sheets with general outlines of potential risks and controls identified (click here for our risk assessment page and full details).

It is strongly recommended that all organisers make a preliminary visit to Colchester Zoo to carry out their own risk assessment before bringing a group of children. Two free familiarisation tickets to complete this visit can be requested after you have made a Uniform Group booking (see below for details of how to obtain these tickets).


Pre-trip Familiarisation Tickets

We offer uniform group leaders two free familiarisation tickets to visit the zoo to plan your day and complete risk assessments. These tickets are only available to registered leaders (they cannot be used by friends or family members).
In order to qualify for these tickets, you must already have a booked Uniform Group trip to Colchester Zoo.
If you have already booked your trip and received confirmation of it, please download and complete the following form: Familiarisation Request Form Download

Please note, this form must be sent in at least 10 days prior to your suggested visit date.


Supervision

You are offered free adult places to ensure your uniform group has adequate supervision. Children who qualify for carer places are provided free adult carers at a 1:1 ratio and therefore these children will not count towards your free adult ratio. Children using Zoo Passes (gold cards) may enter free of charge, but do not count towards your free adult ratio.

The ratio of free adults to children is:

  • Ages 5-10 – One free adult is per 6 paying children
  • Ages 10-16 – One free adult per 8 paying pupils

These are guidelines only. While we require children to be supervised, we do not require these exact ratios.  Please base your supervisory ratios on the behaviour of your specific children.

Children ages 14 and younger must be supervised at all times.

Children ages 14-16 require supporting leaders to accompany them into the zoo, but are allowed to traverse the zoo in small independent groups without direct supervision. All unsupervised children must be in uniform in the event we need to contact you regarding their behaviour.

All children must be supervised while on the train or in the Gift Shop.

Please be aware that there are other visitors in the zoo at the same time as you, please ensure the children you are responsible for are respectful and use appropriate language.


Play Areas

Uniform Groups are offered discounted entry rates because their visit is educational in nature and encouraging their children to learn about animals and the environment. As such, Uniform Groups are not permitted to use the Jungle Tumble Soft Play indoor play area.

Uniform Group children ages 10 and older are not permitted to use any play areas.

Uniform Group children ages 5 – 10 are only allowed to use the Kids Safari play area between 12-2pm only

Uniform Group Children ages 5-10 are welcome to use any of the other outdoor play areas at any time during their visit.



Lunches

We have a number of undercover picnic areas around the zoo. These cannot be pre-booked and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please download and see our Group Map showing all of these locations. During wet, cold weather we recommend eating inside the Giraffe Building. Please note that uniform groups eating packed lunches are not allowed to eat inside our food outlets or cafés.

Please note that there is no lunch box storage available.

If your older children plan to eat at our food outlets, please be aware that on quieter days some of them may not be open. The main café, Penguinis, is always open. On busy days there are often queues at our food outlets. To avoid the queues eat outside of the peak times of 11:30-1:30.


Educational Sessions

If you are interested in attending Educational Sessions as part of your Uniform Group visit, please book a place on one of our “Explorer Days“. Unfortunately, there are no bookable sessions available outside of these scheduled days.

Every day Colchester Zoo runs a numbers of Animal Encounters throughout the day. See the Encounter Timetable section of the website for an up to date schedule of all Keeper Talks and Animal Feeds. Most of these Animal Encounters are between 5-15 minutes long. These are not pre-bookable (simply turn up at the scheduled time). These encounters will provide you with more information about the animals and you may also be able to ask the keeper questions afterwards.

Please note there are no bookable times for your group to meet live animals up close. If you would like your group to stroke or hold animals this can be done at anytime throughout the day by dropping in to the Discovery Centre, or at set times (see the sign at the building for details) at the Sensation Station. There are also animals visitors can stroke or feed at the ‘Familiar Friends’ Farm section of the zoo (see specific signs at the animals for which animals this is allowed with). These activities are all drop-in and cannot be pre-booked.


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