Your FAQs

We are aware that many of you will have questions regarding visits to Colchester Zoo.

Please see some answers to your most frequently asked questions below:

Opening Times:

We are pleased to announce that Colchester Zoo is open for outdoor visits.
Indoor areas will be closed and we will have a number safety measures in place.

All visitors, including passholders, must buy/reserve tickets in advance online to aid us with managing the capacity.

For more information click here.
Colchester Zoo will open daily from 9.30am.

Visitors must enter the Zoo during the 30-minute time slot that they have pre-booked online in advance of their visit.

Upon parking at Colchester Zoo please remember to keep your distance from others and remain in your car until your allocated time slot for entry.
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.
Every year Colchester Zoo reviews its admission prices but it has been decided that, despite the difficulties experienced and the urgent need to generate income, upon reopening the zoo will hold its prices from 2020 until June 2021 when this will be reviewed again. Various discounts will be also be available online depending on the day of visit.

The Zoo will implement the choice for visitors to donate just £1 per ticket to its charity Action for the Wild when booking online for those who would like to support the zoo and its conservation work. If every visitor donates just £1 per ticket, we would be able to help conservation without taking from the zoo which in turn will help towards the zoo’s future.

Find out prices here.
To begin with on reopening we will be releasing tickets 7 days in advance for both paying visitors and passholders. Both will have to book a time slot for arrival on the day of their visit up until zoo close. As restrictions ease, we will review the booking system.

We hope that by releasing tickets just 7 days in advance it will avoid the high requests we receive to change and refund tickets as tickets are non-refundable and there is an admin fee to change dates. This will offer a fair opportunity for everyone to book & enjoy a safe visit.

Safety Measures:

🐾 There is a restriction on the number of visitors per day to ensure we can comply with social distancing measures.

🐾 All visitors, including passholders, must buy/reserve tickets in advance online to aid us with managing the capacity.

🐾 Following COVID-19 secure guidelines we are unable to host visitors in groups of more than 6 in total or from more than two households.

🐾 Tickets are available online in times slots so that we can space out arrival times. This is based on 30-minute slots throughout the day (this refers to arrival time only).

🐾 Staff are receiving daily health checks before starting work and wearing the relevant PPE. Staff have also receive additional COVID-secure safety training.

🐾 Thorough and regular deep cleaning and disinfecting is being carried out across the zoo throughout the day.

🐾 Indoor areas which are not throughways will remain closed for the time being due to Government guidelines, we hope to reopen these at the next stage of the Government’s Roadmap but initially Colchester Zoo is open for outdoor visits only.

🐾 We ask all visitors to follow social distancing rules and look out for our orange ‘High Traffic Area’ signs and be extra vigilant in these areas.

🐾 Additional hand sanitising stations are available throughout the park which we ask visitors to use during their visit.

🐾 Toilet facilities are available throughout the zoo but will be limited as we focus on keeping the open areas more thoroughly disinfected.

🐾 Our indoor children’s play area remains closed until further notice. Face painting is also closed until further notice.

🐾 Food and dining options are limited and will be offering a takeaway service only for the time being. All food at Colchester Zoo is freshly prepared on site by staff 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 are situated outside and placed apart to enable social distancing. We ask visitors not to move tables for the health and safety of yourselves and others.

🐾 We are 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 there should be limited need for pin entry. Our cash machine and cash back will not be available.

🐾 Our daily public keeper talks and feeds will not take place until further notice in order to prevent crowding. You can listen to some audio talks via our App.

🐾 Following Government Guidance in England, face coverings MUST be worn in ALL indoor buildings. This includes but is not limited to our Entrance, Gift Shop, Guest Services, Catering Outlets, indoor viewing areas which are allowed to remain open and toilets. To read the full updated Government guidance for the public on wearing face coverings please click here.

🐾 We kindly ask all visitors to bring their own PPE including face coverings and follow personal hygiene regimes during their visit including washing hands regularly. We have face masks available for visitors to purchase however these are limited therefore encourage visitors to bring their own.

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.
Following Government Guidance in England, face coverings MUST be worn in ALL indoor buildings. This includes, but is not limited to, our Entrance, Gift Shop, Guest Services, Catering Outlets, Indoor viewing areas which are allowed to remain open and toilets.

We also encourage visitors to wear face coverings outside during their visit. To read the full updated Government guidance for the public on wearing face coverings please click here.

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 in place throughout the park.
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.
Everyone is welcome to visit Colchester Zoo regardless of having received the vaccine yet. However 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.
 
We have a number of measures in place to help you have a safe visit which you can read more about here.

Ticket & Entry Queries:

All visitors MUST pre-book online in advance of their visit. This helps us to manage the capacity within the park daily. Tickets are available in 30-minute time slots to help stagger arrivals and manage the density of people within the park.

Following COVID-19 secure guidelines we are unable to host visitors in groups of more than 6 in total or from more than two households. To help us manage this restriction it is therefore not possible to book more than 6 tickets in one transaction. If you are from a household of more than 6 please make your booking in multiple transactions.

Tickets for all visitors will initially be released just 7 days in advance of your visit at 8am each morning, you can purchase tickets up to 1 hour before your visit, subject to availability.

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.
Due to recent Government changes to the Track & Trace system we are now required to collect contact details for anyone over the age of 16yrs who wishes to visit us.

This data is collected to help minimise the transmission of COVID-19 and support public health and safety, it will only be used for NHS track and trace purposes.

Within your E-ticket booking confirmation you will be asked to complete a short form which MUST be submitted ahead of your visit giving the full name of each visitor over 16yrs old as well as an email address/phone number or postal address for each person.

Once this is completed you will receive a confirmation email which our staff will be required to check before you can enter Colchester Zoo.
Any data submitted will only be used to contact you for track and trace purposes if required.

Please note Zoo Passholders will not be required to do this as we hold your contact details on file and your visit date will be recorded upon scanning your pass.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
Our online admission prices have already been reduced and therefore no further admission discounts are currently available. This includes Tesco Vouchers and Zoo Passholder discounts until further notice.
The hire of manual wheelchairs and scooters is available but these must be pre-booked at least 24hrs in advance of your visit. All equipment is thoroughly cleaned after every use.

Unfortunately we are currently unable to offer buggies until further notice.

For more information on hires please click here.  

Zoo Passholders:

Yes you are more than welcome to visit however you will need to make a FREE booking via our website prior to your arrival and bring this along with your Zoo Pass on your chosen visit date. Our team will scan your Zoo Pass on arrival but you must still have a valid booking to show alongside this.

Tickets will initially be released 7 days in advance of your visit date at 8am each morning, you can reserve tickets up to 1 hour before your visit when the tickets are available, subject to availability.

We ask that you make your booking 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 time slot confirmation otherwise access cannot be granted.
If your previous Pass has expired:
If your Zoo Pass expired between the 1st December 2020 to 12th April 2021 and you would like to renew your Zoo Pass you are welcome to do so and you will be able to take advantage of our consecutive renewal discount however your Zoo Pass will be dated from our reopening date. You can find out more about renewal offer here.

If your Zoo Pass is still valid or has been extended:
If your Zoo Pass is still valid or has been extended due to our closure you can still renew with us in advance via our website or on the day of your visit. Your renewed 12 months will then be added to the end of your current Zoo Pass expiry date.

Booking a ticket to visit Colchester Zoo:
Whether you are planning to renew on the day of your visit or in advance online you will need to pre-book a passholder entry ticket online for the date and time of arrival for your visit. Upon arriving at the zoo you can then renew your passes at Guest Services before entering the zoo or simply collect any passes you have renewed online.

Areas within the Zoo:

The Outpost Gift Shop is reopen. We kindly ask that visitors to the shop refrain from touching items they are not purchasing and follow social distancing measures to ensure everyone’s safety.

Following Government Guidance in England, face coverings MUST be worn when visiting our Gift Shop. To read the full updated Government guidance for the public on wearing face coverings please click here.
We are offering the majority of our Animal Experiences which will have some additional measures in place.

We are working hard to reschedule those animal experiences which we had to postpone due to COVID-19 and new bookings are now also being taken except for group experiences such as Team Building and Hen Parties until further notice.
Toilet facilities will be available on your visit however we have closed some toilet facilities to allow our cleaning staff more time to regularly deep clean and disinfect open facilities.

Following Government Guidance in England, face coverings MUST be worn in all indoor areas and this includes toilets. To read the full updated Government guidance for the public on wearing face coverings please click here.
In line with Government Guidelines the majority of Colchester Zoo’s indoor viewing areas are closed during our initial reopening unless they are a throughway for access to another area. We hope these restrictions may be lifted in the next step of the Government’s Roadmap.

Following Government Guidance in England, face coverings MUST be worn in all indoor areas. To read the full updated Government guidance for the public on wearing face coverings please click here.
Our outdoor adventure play areas will remain open for children to enjoy however it is vitally important that all children are supervised and social distancing is enforced by guardians. A cleaning routine is in place to ensure the play areas are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day.

Please note: Our indoor play area Jungle Tumble and outside play area The Waterhole remains closed until further notice.
We are operating a number of catering facilities within the park, although the number of dining options are limited and will be takeaway only.

We offer separate in and out systems wherever possible and any queues will be managed where appropriate.

All food that is available is freshly prepared on site by staff 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 are situated outside and placed apart to enable social distancing. We ask visitors not to move tables for the health and safety of yourselves and others.

Following Government Guidance in England, face coverings MUST be worn in all indoor areas this includes catering outlets. To read the full updated Government guidance for the public on wearing face coverings please click here.
Our Lost Madagascar Express Road Train is running following the installation of perspex screens onto the carriages to ensure visitor safety. The train is not run at full capacity and will not stop at our lemur walk-through enclosure until further notice.

Supporting Colchester Zoo:

Your support is critical now more than ever – to find out how you can help towards the future of Colchester Zoo please click here.


Have an unanswered question?

We have tried to publish as much information as we can to reassure you that your safety along with our staff and animals is paramount.

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 as soon as possible but we do ask for your patience and understanding for any delays experienced whilst we are working hard to prepare the park for re-opening.

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