Information & FAQs

Entry T&Cs

Please read the full entry terms & conditions ahead of your visit to Colchester Zoo. Further important information can be found below.

Emergency out of hours contact:

If you urgently require assistance outside of the zoo’s opening hours please call us on 01206 331292 and select option 1 or 4 – This number is to be used in an emergency ONLY.

Any enquiries regarding a booking, payment or other general information about an order or question about your visit should be made by calling 01206 331292 ext 227, 228, 230 or 235 from 9.30am until the zoo’s closing time. Our hours are available to view here. 

Admission Enquiries

We open at 9.30am every day of the year except for Christmas Day. Our closing times vary throughout the year.
Please click here to view our admission prices.
Our postcode is CO3 0SL; you can find details on directions to the Zoo by clicking here.
Our ticket office is now located in the car park and entry into the park is via our new admissions building.

If you already have tickets for entry please go straight to our admissions building and scan your tickets at the gates. Our staff will be on hand to help and guide you, please do not hesitate to ask a member of staff who are always happy to help. Read more here about our new admissions building.
You are welcome to park in the Zoo’s large car park free of charge. Cars are parked in the Colchester Zoo car park at their owners own risk and Colchester Zoo cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to vehicles, their contents or persons.
To find out how to get to Colchester Zoo from Colchester Train Station please click here.
All bicycles, scooters, children’s cars, skate boards and rollerblades are not permitted within Colchester Zoo as this can put yourself and other visitors in danger. A bike rack is available within the car park for your to lock your bicycle should you choose to use this method of transport to and from the zoo.

Three wheeled trikes are allowed into Colchester Zoo only on the condition that parents or guardians use the trike as if it were a buggy and do not allow the child to propel themselves.  Visitors will be required to sign a disclaimer if they wish to bring in a trike agreeing that they use it at their own risk and take full responsibility steering it.
No, tickets purchased from individuals/social media/online market place websites are not valid for resale and will be invalid upon entry.

We are unable to offer any compensation to those who attempt to enter on these tickets so please do not purchase them. Only tickets purchased from official third party companies and Colchester Zoo are valid for admission. Anyone found to be selling Colchester Zoo tickets online will have their tickets immediately cancelled, further action may also be taken against passholders found to be selling complimentary tickets.
We offer a 15% discount for up to 4 people when a valid services ID card is shown. This offer is only available when purchasing at the gate on the day of your visit. Photo ID may also be required if your ID card does not feature a photo.
We do not offer a family ticket, as all tickets are priced individually. You are able to receive a discount if you book our E-tickets online at least 24 hours prior to your visit.
Unfortunately we are unable to allow admittance to children under the age of 16yrs without a full paying adult or adult passholder. Children under the age of 16yrs must be supervised by a responsible adult over the age of 16yrs at all times whilst inside the park. Unsupervised children will not be granted admission.

During late night openings children under the age of 16yrs must be accompanied by a responsible adult/guardian at all times whilst on the premises. Unaccompanied children under 16yrs will not be admitted.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Please visit out hire information page here for more information on our hire fees and deposits.
Only Registered Assistance Dogs are allowed into the Zoo grounds. These may only enter the zoo grounds if fully up to date with any inoculations, kept on a lead at all times and not be allowed to foul on the Zoo’s pathways.
Find out more here.
We do not have kennel facilities for dogs and we ask you not to bring your dogs along with you on a visit. Colchester Zoo does not allow dogs to be left in cars, even with ventilation and water, anyone found leaving dogs in their car will not be granted admission. We take this very seriously and take our lead from the RSPCA – http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/dogsinhotcars


General Enquiries

You really need to allow a full day at Colchester Zoo; we recommend a minimum of 6 hours to see all animals thoroughly and watch some of the many feeds/talks that take place each day.
There are many picnic areas available around the Zoo which visitors are welcome to use on a first come first served basis. You are also welcome to return to your car for your picnic, you just need to remember to get a wristband at the point of exit to be able to gain re-entry into the Zoo.
We have a number of medium and large lockers available at the zoo supplied by a third party. Payment is via card only, terms and conditions apply. Please click here for more information.

Due to security we are unable to hold bags or belongings for visitors. We ask visitors to leave bags and belongings they do not wish to carry around the park at home or in their car.
The following outlets will be open during your visit, serving a variety of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, snacks and main meals*:

Penguini’s restaurant
Southern Kitchen 
The Patisserie 
The Playa Patagonia Coffee Shop
Meerkat Hangout
Wrap Bar
VegBox
Sausage Hut 
Ice Cream Parlour

*Please be aware that closing times can vary from those listed above and some of our smaller outlets listed may be closed during times of poor weather and low levels of demand.

Find out more about eat outlet here.
Find out more about our Lost Madagascar Express Road Train here. Please stop by the station today for opening times of the road train.
Colchester Zoo now has free wifi access throughout the park, for the password please check with a member of staff as this changes regularly.
We can never guarantee if a particular animal will be very active at the time of your visit. If it is a very cold day and an animal wishes to stay in their sleeping area there are still plenty of indoor viewing areas as well as outside ones. Coming during a quiet time is often very rewarding, having full visibility of enclosures without the crowds.
Colchester Zoo promotes a no-smoking policy. As a family friendly attraction, Colchester Zoo respectfully requests visitors to refrain from smoking and vaping in the park.

If however, visitors require the need to smoke and vape in the park there are a number of designated zones that we ask you to use. These designated zones are different for smoking and vaping and are clearly indicated on the map within your welcome guide*. You can also ask any member of staff for assistance and they will be happy to direct you. Smoking and vaping is forbidden anywhere in the park which falls outside of the designated zones including;

– Covered spaces and buildings
– Catering outlets
– Play areas
– Picnic areas
– Train station
– Near animal enclosures

*Please note that vaping zones are not currently on our printed map but a member of staff will be happy to offer assistance. We are implementing the vaping zones onto future prints.
You are welcome to take photographs of the animals for your personal use. Images may not be used for any commercial purpose without specific, prior permission from Colchester Zoo. Colchester Zoo does not buy images taken of the animals.
We are unable to sell cat dung for health and safety reasons due to the raw meat contained in their diets. We do, however, sell “Zoo Poo” which is a herbivore based manure from our Elephants and Rhinos, which is good for the garden.
We do keep all lost property items found for approximately 3-4 weeks. Once this time is up, any unclaimed items are given to charity organisations. If you have an enquiry on something you have lost during your visit to Colchester Zoo, please call our Administration Office on 01206 331292 ext 221 and a member of staff will be happy to have a look for you.
Yes Colchester Zoo does charge the required 5p for a single carrier bag. All large shops in England must charge this fee as stated by the Department for Environmental Food & Rural Affairs. All the money raised from the sale of our plastic bags is donated to Colchester Zoo’s charity, Action for the Wild.
We are afraid that Colchester Zoo does not hold a licence for weddings so it is not possible to get married at Colchester Zoo.


Access Enquiries

Find out more about the disabled access Colchester Zoo offers including adult changing facilities, free admission for assistants, as well as our suggested easier route for wheelchair users here.You can also download and view our accessibility map here.

Please read Colchester Zoo’s terms of entry ahead of your visit.

Recent changes: Please be aware that any guest visiting with a disability will be required to purchase the relevant adult, senior or child admission ticket (online in advance or on entering the zoo). Colchester Zoo will then admit an assistant FREE of charge upon request when verification of disability is shown.
Whilst development work takes place for our NEW admissions building our guest with disability parking spaces have been relocated and a member of staff or signage will be available to direct visitors to this area on arrival. We apologise for any inconvenience caused but thank you for your understanding.
You are more than welcome to bring your own electric scooters to the Zoo however please be aware that Colchester Zoo is naturally hilly so the terrain can be hard going. If you do bring your own electric scooter we request that you complete a disclaimer form upon entering the Zoo.


Vouchers and Discounts

If you book our E-tickets online you can receive a discount on admission. Please note you do have to book these at least 24 hours in advance. Click here if you would like to purchase our E-tickets.
Yes, we do accept Tesco vouchers on the door on the day of your visit. You will need to exchange your Clubcard points and bring the voucher/s with you to enter. Please ensure you check the validity dates and any entry restrictions before you visit. Please visit the Tesco website here to redeem your vouchers and for further information.

Tesco Vouchers can be used to visit Colchester Zoo on Magic of Christmas days and Halloween Fright Nights but a fee will be charged to access certain secondary attractions within the park on these special event days. 

Please note that Tesco Vouchers are not valid in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be used towards a Zoo Pass.
It is with regret that Colchester Zoo has reluctantly decided to withdraw from making a promotional offer to Blue Peter Badge Holders. Unfortunately, as a privately run zoo that receives no external funding whatsoever it is not viable for Colchester Zoo to allow completely free entry to badge holders and it has always been necessary in our terms and conditions to insist that we generate a full paying adult’s admission from the offer.  Unfortunately visitors appear to feel that this is unfair to those that have worked hard to gain a Blue Peter badge and so as not to cause any further bad feeling we have taken the sad decision to withdraw the offer with immediate effect. Colchester Zoo has therefore no longer been part of the Blue Peter Badge Scheme since June 2016.
We do not offer a student discount unless you are visiting within a school group and a booking has been made five days in advance.


Zoo Pass Enquiries

Upgrade your admission ticket to a zoo pass during your visit! If you think you’ll be visiting us more than twice this year then a Zoo Pass may be better value for you and your family. Stop by our Guest Services department today or click here for more information.

Please ensure you read our updated terms and conditions prior to purchasing your pass.
No. Please be aware that it is a condition of your free entry that a valid Zoo Pass is shown at the zoo entrance. If you do not bring your card with you admission will be charged and cannot be refunded.
Please click here for terms and conditions of lost and forgotten Zoo Passes. 


Animal Enquiries

Unfortunately we are unable to take any animals or unwanted pets. To seek advice on what to do with an unwanted animal or pet please contact the RSPCA or similar charity. If you simply require reptile advice, please try the Essex Reptile and Amphibian Society on 01621 816721.
We have a minimum contact policy with most species held at Colchester Zoo as it is not in the welfare interest of the animals. Neither is it safe for members of the public to have immediate contact with dangerous wild animals. Only the Keepers have contact when absolutely necessary i.e. when veterinary care is required. There are however, opportunities to get close and personal with some of our friendlier animals.

If you visit the Discovery Centre at any point throughout the day you can hold and stroke a variety of minibeasts.  We also have our Sensation Station area where we house minibeasts and a variety of other scaly and fluffy animals. Please note that on quiet days these encounters may only happen at set times, please visit the Sensation Station on the day of your visit to check times for close encounters. 

We also have various Keeper Shadowing and Keeper for the Day schemes available to participate in where you can go behind the scenes at different enclosures within the Zoo, helping with food preparation, some cleaning out and learning more about how the animals are cared for. Find out more here.


Zoo Keeper and Keeper for the Day Enquiries

Career advice on how to become a Zoo Keeper can be found on the careers page.
Unfortunately the keepers’ time is very limited so it is not possible to deviate from the set programmes i.e spending more time on one animal section than the other.


Job and Work Experience Enquiries

Visit our current vacancies page here.
Colchester Zoo offers work placements in various sections of the zoo. Placements are granted following an application and a successful interview. For further information please visit our Work Placement page.


Charity Fundraising Requests

Colchester Zoo and its charitable organisation, Action for the Wild, donates hundreds of complimentary tickets to local organisations including schools and charities to assist with their fundraising efforts. These requests have grown to such an extent over the past few years which has resulted in us having to put in place a policy to consider all applications.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding for this policy.

We are willing to support the local community and region for fundraising purposes by making complimentary tickets available but to enable us to manage the process of donating tickets to organisations the following conditions and criteria must be met;

– Colchester Zoo will issue tickets to either organisations or other registered charities whose work clearly supports or relates to our own mission, preventing extinction, or to school and registered community groups in the local area.

– We are only able to donate tickets to local organisations and charities. We are not able to donate to third parties who are holding events on behalf of other nominated charities or causes.

– Two child complimentary tickets valid for 3 months from the event date will be donated to successful requests. These tickets are not valid for resale and cannot be extended or exchanged.

– Only one set of tickets will be allocated to successful organisations in any twelve-month period.

Applications must be made at least three calendar months prior to the event date.

To apply for fundraising tickets, the online request form must be completed to be considered. Once complete, your request will be passed on to the charity co-ordinatior for review.

If your request is successful, we will notify you via email. You will then be required to send a copy of your application form with a stamped addressed envelope enclosed to enable us to post the complimentary tickets back to you.

We would very much like to reply to each request but unfortunately our limited administration resources prevent us from doing so, therefore we are unable to reply to unsuccessful requests.

If you meet the criteria and would like to apply for fundraising tickets please complete the online request form below and send this via email to enquiries@colchesterzoo.org

Please download the form first before completing it and sending it to us otherwise your changes will not be saved.

REQUEST FORM

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