Visiting 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:

Colchester Zoo will reopen on the 2nd December with safety measures in place. For more information click here.
Colchester Zoo is open daily from 9.30am depending on the date of your visit.

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

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.

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.

🐾 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 training.

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

🐾 Following Government Guidance in England, face coverings MUST be worn in ALL indoor buildings. This includes but is not limited to our Gift Shop, Guest Services, Catering Outlets, Indoor viewing areas 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 designed a Social Distance Route which is one-way where possible within the park and two-way where space allows. We kindly ask visitors to follow this route to avoid crowding and reduce paths crossing.

🐾Following COVID-19 secure guidelines we are unable to host visitors in groups of more than 6 in total, unless they are from the same household.

🐾 We are waiting advice as to which tier we will fall within for confirmation as to whether we can open our indoor areas. Please take this into consideration when choosing to book.

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

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

🐾 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 to £45.00 there should be limited need for pin entry. Our cash machine and cash back will not be available on the day of your visit.

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

🐾 Food and dining options are limited. All food at Colchester Zoo 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.

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

🐾 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.

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 Gift Shop, Guest Services, Catering Outlets, Indoor viewing areas and toilets.

We would 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 going to be 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.

Ticket & Entry Queries:

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

Following COVID-19 secure guidelines we are unable to host visitors in groups of more than 6 in total, therefore it is 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 are released in blocks in advance of your visit and 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.
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 will be 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 welcome to visit however you will also need to make a FREE booking via our website and bring this along with your Zoo Pass on your chosen visit date.

Tickets are released in blocks please click here to find out when tickets are available. You can purchase tickets up to 1 hour before your visit when the tickets are available.

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 ticket.
If your pass is expired and you would like to renew your pass you have 3 options but please note 15% consecutive renewal is only available within 4 weeks of our reopening (2nd December) for those with passes which expired during closure;

Option 1 – Purchase a Zoo Pass Renewal online. Once purchase is complete, 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 redeem your Zoo Pass Renewal at Guest Services (which is now situated at the main entrance building). Please note that if you opt for this option, you must collect your Zoo Pass prior to entering the park.

Option 2 – 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 (which is now situated at the main entrance building). Please note that if you opt for this option, you must complete the renewal prior to entering the park.

Option 3 – Pre-book a paid online day ticket for the date and time of arrival for your visit. Upon arriving at the zoo you can then upgrade this entry ticket to a Zoo Pass Renewal at our Guest Services office either before your visit or at the end of your visit. An upgrade means we will reduce the price of your renewal by the amount you have paid for your entry ticket.

Areas within the Zoo:

The Outpost Gift Shop will reopen on the 2nd December. We kindly ask that visitors to the shop refrain from touching items they are not purchasing and follow the social distancing measures we are putting in place for your 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 our Animal Experiences.

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.
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. To read the full updated Government guidance for the public on wearing face coverings please click here.
As Essex is in Tier 2 the majority of Colchester Zoo’s indoor areas will be open.

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 have re-opened for children to enjoy however it is vitally important that all children are supervised and social distancing is enforced by guardians. A new cleaning routine will be implemented to ensure the play areas are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day.

Please note that our indoor play area Jungle Tumble remains closed.
We are operating a number of catering facilities within the park, although the number of outlets are reduced and dining options limited.

Demarcations on the floor at our 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.

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 Lost Madagascar Express Road Train is running following the installation of perspex screens onto the carriages to ensure visitor safety. The train will 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 to save 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 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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