Information & FAQs
Please read the full entry terms & conditions ahead of your visit to Colchester Zoo. Further important information can be found below.
What are your opening times?
We open at 9.30am every day of the year except for Christmas Day. Our closing times vary throughout the year.
Can I have your postcode for my Sat Nav?
Our postcode is CO3 0SL; you can find details on directions to the Zoo by clicking here.
How long does it take to see all of Colchester Zoo?
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.
Are there any charges for the Car park?
You are welcome to park in the Zoo’s large car parks 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.
How do I get to the Zoo from the train station?
To find out how to get to Colchester Zoo from Colchester Train Station please click here.
Can I bring my bike/scooter/skate boards into the Zoo?
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.
What are your entry prices?
Please click here to view our admission prices.
I’ve seen tickets for sale by unofficial third parties, are these valid if I bought them?
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.
Do you do a family ticket?
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.
Can we bring our dog to the Zoo?
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.
Do you have kennel facilities for dogs?
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
Are there picnic areas within the Zoo?
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.
Can I access the internet during my visit?
Colchester Zoo now has free wifi access throughout the park, for the password please check with a member of staff as this changes regularly.
If it is very cold will the animals still be out and about?
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.
Can I hire a buggy?
Please visit out hire information page here
Are we allowed to smoke anywhere in the Zoo?
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.
What is your policy on photography?
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.
Do you have any accessibility information?
Please visit our disabled access page for information on our ‘Easier Route’, Changing Places room and other facilities at Colchester Zoo.
Do you have wheelchairs available to hire?
We do have manual wheelchairs available to hire. Please phone 01206 331292 ext 231 to check availability. They can be booked on a first come, first served basis in return for a small hire charge of £5.00 along with a refundable deposit of £20.00. For more information please click here.
Can I leave my bags/belongings in a secure place at the zoo?
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.
Can we bring our electric scooter to the Zoo?
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.
Do you sell Lion/Big Cat dung as a deterrent for foxes?
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.
Do you have a lost property department?
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.
Do you charge for carrier bags?
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.
Can I get married at Colchester Zoo?
We are afraid that Colchester Zoo does not hold a licence for weddings so it is not possible to get married at Colchester Zoo.
Vouchers and Discounts
Do you have any special offers?
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.
Do you accept Tesco Day Entry Tokens?
Yes, we do accept Tesco Day Entry Tokens on the door on the day of your visit. You will need to exchange your Clubcard points for Colchester Zoo admission ticket/s 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.
Please note that you can only use one token as payment of one admission ticket, they cannot be used as payment for tickets purchased in advance over the telephone or online. Please note that no monetary value is attached to these vouchers, no change can be given and they cannot be used in conjunction with other discount vouchers. They are for standard admission only. Tesco Day Entry Tokens cannot be used for payment of Zoo Passes, food or any other product within Colchester Zoo.
Colchester Zoo Days Out Tokens 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 are only accepted towards full price admission.
Please be aware that generic Tesco Days Out Clubcard Deals Vouchers have not been issued for Colchester Zoo since July 2014 and so are no longer accepted as payment towards your visit.
Do Blue Peter badge holders receive a discount?
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.
Do you offer a student discount?
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
Can I visit Colchester Zoo without showing my Zoo 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.
I have lost my Zoo Pass, how do I go about getting a replacement?
Please click here for terms and conditions of lost and forgotten Zoo Passes.
Do you take unwanted animals?
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.
Can I hold or touch the animals?
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 new Sensation Station area where we house minibeasts and a variety of other scaly and fuzzy animals. Zoo staff will have a variety of animals for you to meet up close and touch. 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
How do I become a zoo keeper?
Career advice on how to become a Zoo Keeper can be found on the careers page.
Can the Keeper for the Day schemes be varied?
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
How do I find out about current job vacancies?
If you go on to our website, click on ‘about us’ and select ‘jobs’; you will find a list of our current job opportunities.
Does Colchester Zoo offer work experience placements?
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 Fund-raising Prizes
Does Colchester Zoo provide raffles prizes for fundraising?
Colchester Zoo is happy to help local fundraising activities, wherever possible. We ask that you put your request in writing on headed paper and send by post to: Complimentary Ticket Requests, Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex CO3 0SL.
We have an ever increasing number of requests for complimentary tickets so in order for us to continue to be able to assist these requests as much as possible; we do have to limit this to two complimentary children’s entries to any organisation per year.
We must ask for your co-operation in the following ways for these donations to be able to continue.
Please include a stamped addressed envelope. In future ticket requests that do not include a stamped addressed envelope will not receive a response. Please allow us at least 4 weeks to process your request.
Due to the volume of requests tickets are dealt with 12 times a year on the 10th of the month. If the request is not received before the 10th of the month it will not be processed until the following month.
We will only donate tickets directly to organisations and charities rather than third parties, i.e. not to those holding events on behalf of other nominated charities or causes.
Only one set of tickets will be allocated to successful organisations in any twelve month period.
We would also ask that you could please inform the recipient of the tickets that they are valid for three months only and under no circumstances can these be extended.
Please note that we cannot accept requests by email.