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Colchester Zoo Animal Experience Terms & Conditions

Please note the following points when booking an Animal Experience at Colchester Zoo:

Availability

  • All animal experiences are available Thursday through to Monday apart from Christmas Day and some bank holidays.
  • Please book well in advance and have a second choice of date available just in case. You will receive a standard acknowledgement of your order but the date of your booking is not confirmed until you receive your confirmation pack.
  • Colchester Zoo cannot guarantee that individual animals will be available to meet during an experience when you select their species. 
  • Please advise at time of booking if anyone taking part has additional requirements including a disability, pregnancy, diet or immuno suppression which may require an experience to be varied or changed.
  • Personal assistants can book experiences on behalf of a guest with disability with their permission. The Passholders discount will then be applied to the booking. The assistant will be admitted as support for the Passholder during the experience but the assistant will not be ‘participating’ in the experience unless full price is paid to participate.
  • Colchester Zoo does not allow pregnant women to take part in an animal experience without first seeking advice from their doctor.
  • Bookings must be made and experience taken within one year of the date on a gift voucher.
  • It may be necessary to share some activities with another Keeper for the Day, Fledgling Keeper or Zoo Cadet. Keeper Shadowing, Perfect Partners, Extra-ordinary and Team Building, Hen Parties and Wild Encounters are all private experiences.
  • All participants under the age of 18yrs must be supervised by a responsible adult over the age of 18yrs old throughout their experience and visit. Please see individual experience information for age limits.
  • We are committed to safe guarding and the protection of children whilst they enjoy their visit around Colchester Zoo. As part of Colchester Zoo’s safeguarding policy towards children, the zoo as the employer, along with our employees, make a commitment to safeguarding young people’s welfare. We fully support the current government policy in their goal to protect young people; to prevent physical, sexual or emotional abuse. As employers, we do not believe our animal experiences are deemed as regulated activity as governed by the Secretary of State’s statutory guidance on supervision of activity by workers with children. Despite this, Colchester Zoo does request that all children under the age of 18 are supervised whilst undertaking animal experiences, as part of our own Safeguarding Policy ensuring adequate supervision at all times.

Cancellations and changes

  • Payment will be taken when you make your booking.
  • All experiences are non-refundable unless due to exceptional circumstances including: illness/injury, pregnancy, bereavement or jury service. This is at Colchester Zoo’s discretion and evidence may be requested. Refunds can only be made to the purchaser. If a refund is agreed a £20 fee (inc 20% VAT will be charged)
  • Once the experience has been booked it can be only rescheduled up to 8 weeks before the date of the experience and a £20 fee (inc 20% VAT) will be charged for alterations and rescheduling to your booking at any time. An experience can only be rescheduled once.
  • Colchester Zoo reserves the right to reschedule or cancel an experience at any time if necessary.

On the day

Please read our essential information for more 'On the Day' information. 

  • Please wear clothing suitable for working with the animals and for all weathers including long trousers and closed toe shoes such as trainers, walking boots or wellingtons. Colchester Zoo reserves the right to refuse those who do not wear suitable clothing without offering a refund. Please read our essential information page here for more information. 
  • The experience is for the recipient only and accompanying guests must pay to enter the Zoo. Accompanying guests may receive a group rate to enter the Zoo, which must be booked at the same time as the experience.
  • All animal experiences are subject to change - if circumstances dictate, such as bad weather or a particular animal being unwell, it may be necessary to change your activities without notice. We will always do our best to offer an alternative.
  • Direct contact with animals is not guaranteed on any of the animal experiences.
  • Colchester Zoo reserves the right to close all or parts of the Zoo as necessary. Refunds cannot be given in these circumstances.
  • Colchester Zoo reserves the right to ask any participant to leave the zoo should they behave in an inappropriate or unsafe manner.
  • A reasonable level of fitness is required to take part in all experiences.
  • Experiences are not suitable for those allergic to dust or animal fur or bedding.
  • We will do our best to accommodate late arrivals however this time may be deducted from your experience.

Keeper for the Day 

  • Keeper for the day is available to persons 14 years and over.
  • Any Keeper for the Day participant aged between 14 - 17yrs must be accompanied by a supervising adult above the age of 18yrs. The supervising adult must also pay the full price to take part in the same experience with the person under 18yrs.
  • The timetable for Keeper for the Day has been devised in order to allow as much time as possible with the keepers whilst not detracting from the running of the Zoo. It is not, therefore, possible to change any of the activities that are on offer.

Keeper Shadowing

  • Keeper shadowing is available to persons 10 years and over (this is excluding hyena experience which is open to aged 16yrs and over only)
  • Any Keeper Shadowing participant aged between 10- 18yrs must be accompanied by a supervising adult above the age of 18yrs. The supervising adult must pay admission and is required as supervisory capacity only; they are not permitted to take part in the experience.

Zoo Academy 

  • Zoo Academy is available to children between 6 and 15 only. 6 to 9 year olds take part in Fledgling Keepers. 10 to 15 year olds take part in Zoo cadets.
  • Children taking part in a Zoo Academy experience must be supervised by a responsible adult over the age of 18yrs at all times.

Hen Parties 

  • Hen parties require a compulsory non-refundable £100 deposit at the time of booking to secure your experience booking.
  • A minimum of 8 delegates are required.

Extra-ordinary Experience 

  • There is no minimum age for this experience however all children MUST be supervised by a participating, responsible adult over the age of 18yrs at all times.
  • If your booking includes over 4 children, please be aware that a ratio of 1 supervisory adult to every 4 children is set due to health and safety.

Wild Encounters

  • There is no minimum age for this experience however all children MUST be supervised by a participating, responsible adult over the age of 18yrs at all times.
  • If your booking includes over 4 children, please be aware that a ratio of 1 supervisory adult to every 4 children is set due to health and safety.

Team Building 

  • A minimum of 8 delegates are required.

Passholders

  • Passholder price valid to current Passholders only.
  • Passholder price not valid in conjunction with any other offer.
  • Participant must hold a valid Zoo Pass to receive this offer. 

Experience Gift Vouchers

  • Please note that all gift vouchers are not refundable for cash.
  • Colchester Zoo Ltd is under no liability to replace or refund vouchers that are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed whether they have been redeemed or not.
  • Vouchers re-sold or transferred for profit or commercial gain will be void.
  • All gift vouchers are redeemable only at Colchester Zoo.
  • All experience gift vouchers must be redeemed within 12 months of purchase.

Data protection

  • The data you supply will only be used for the purpose intended and not passed to any third parties.

OPENING TIMES

4.30pm close or dusk if earlier (Except for Christmas Starlight Nights) 
Last admission to zoo grounds at 3.30pm

24th November, 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 23rd December - 7.30pm close - Christmas Starlight Nights
Last admission to zoo grounds at 6.30pm

Click here for further closing times

 

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