Formally organised educational youth groups qualify for our discounted educational youth group rates. These rates are available for groups of children visiting the zoo as part of an organised, pre-booked trip lead via an organisation/charity/educational institute or similar. This includes:

  • Uniform youth groups (e.g. Scouting, Guiding, Boys and Girls Brigade, Sea Cadets, etc.)
  • Extracurricular educational groups (e.g. school science club, environmental club, etc.)
  • Groups for children with additional support (e.g. at risk youth groups, young carers, etc.)

If you are a member of a different organised educational youth group not included in the above categories, but believe you may be eligible for these reduced rates, please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511 or 01206 332512 or

Click on link below, or scroll down the page for more details of what is available for educational youth groups and how to book:


All group members must enter the zoo together to benefit from these discounted rates; we do not print out individual tickets.

We require all educational youth groups to book their visit in advance, which is done via our online booking form (see below). Please note that when booking your visit it is fine if your numbers are estimates. We will confirm your exact final numbers of children and adults on the day of your visit.

Ticket Type
Educational Youth Group Child£9.99
Educational Youth Group Additional Adult£11.99
Educational Youth Group Challenge Badge£4.00
Educational Youth Group Explorer Day£4.51
Goody Bag£2.75
Calippo Ice Lollies£2.20

*Challenge Badges and Explorer Day are both additional charge per child participant in addition to the standard entry fee as detailed above, see here for details!

***VAT at 20% is included in these prices which goes directly to the Government.

Booked Educational Youth Group Groups are also offered free adult leader places to ensure adequate supervision. Please see below (Supervision) for details.


Adult carers are admitted free of charge at a 1:1 ratio for any child with physical or emotional disabilities, are the subjects of SEND statements or EHCPs, or can provide other evidence of specific needs. Please note that you must declare the need for these carers on the day of your visit based on the children who attend on the day.

You may be asked for verification of the need for carers at entry.

Goody Bags

Educational Youth Group have the option of purchasing Goody Bags in advance at just £2.75 per child (or bag). Just add your requirements to the booking form and these can be arranged for you.

Colchester Zoo requires two weeks notice that you wish to purchase these.

If you have ordered Goody Bags please collect them at the Outpost Shop, on the day of your visit, as you are leaving the zoo.

Ice Lollies

Educational Youth Group have the option of preorder Orange Calippo Ice Lollies for £2.20 (10p off on-the-day prices).

Colchester Zoo requires two weeks notice that you wish to purchase these. It is fine when booking if your numbers are estimates, we will confirm exactly how many you require when you arrive on the day.

If you have ordered Calippos, please collect these from the ‘Penguini’s Restaurant’ food outlet during your visit. Please note that all Calippos must be collected at the same time.

How to Book

All Educational Youth Group group visits to Colchester Zoo must be pre-booked a minimum of five days in advance in order to qualify for our discounted rates.

To make a booking for a Educational Youth Group, fill in the form below. The information you enter will be completely secure and confidential. For more details of how we store and use data, please see our Privacy Policy, and the Policy for our booking form.

After you have filled in the form, within five working days, you will be emailed a detailed document confirming your trip (if you have not received it within that time, please contact our education department). This document will contain a cost breakdown based on your estimated numbers (final numbers, including free adult places, will be confirmed on the day).

If you have any questions about making a booking please contact our education department directly at 01206 332511, 01206 332512 or 01206 331292 or


Deposits are not required for Educational Youth Group when they make their booking. As we understand that numbers can change late minute when organising trips for groups of children, we do not accept pre-payment from Educational Youth Group.

Educational Youth Groups must pay on the day, when they arrive, before they will be granted entry into the zoo. 

Payment on the day can be via cash or card. Please note, for faster entry the card must be present for payment. For security reasons, we have a limited number of ticketing tills that have capacity to process ‘card not present’ payment, and require specific staff in order to process these types of transactions. If you are paying via card on the day with card not present (e.g. providing card details over the phone), please be aware that while you are able to pay using this method, there may be delays in processing payment in this method, which may slow your entry into the zoo.

We will confirm your final numbers with the leader when they check in on the day of your visit. Please ensure that when they go to check in they know exactly how many children and adults they have with them, and bring all Zoo Passes with them to be scanned. All the children and other adults should remain together (on the coach if you have arrived by one, or an appropriate place outside the entrance) until your main leader has checked in and been issued tickets.

Please note that the entire group needs to enter together to qualify for the discounted rates.  All children, adults or other individuals arriving late and entering separately from the group will be charged full price admission at entrance.  


Coach and car parking at Colchester Zoo is free of charge.

If arriving at the zoo by coach, the coaches should park in the designated coach car park. Children and other supporting leaders should remain on the coaches while the leader checking in goes to the ticket kiosk to check in with final numbers and provide payment.

If arriving at the zoo in individual cars please ensure children gather in a safe location, not blocking the flow of traffic, within the car park. Children and other supporting leaders should remain in this gathering location while the leader checking in goes to the ticket kiosk to check in with final numbers and provide payment.

After your leader check in has been issued tickets, they should collect the entire group who will then enter the zoo via the main entrance building. The tickets, and any zoo passes being used, will need to be scanned and your group will be counted as you enter.

When exiting the zoo, you will exit the main exit which is through the Gift Shop. If you have purchased any goody bags, please collect them as you exit.


We have a group map which highlights lunch locations, and other important information for groups. Please be aware that due to special events or other unforeseen circumstances some of these picnic areas may not be available on the day of your visit.

Click here to download our Educational Youth Group Map

We also have a downloadable general map of the zoo. This map is also available in hard-copy form at the zoo. Please request additional copies at entrance when you arrive if you require them.

Click here to download our General Zoo Map

If anyone in your group has accessibility needs, click here to see our school accessibility page, which has further details including a downloadable access map which shows suggested easier routes to avoid our steep hills.

Risk Assessments

Colchester Zoo provides a risk assessment guidance sheets with general outlines of potential risks and controls identified (click here for our risk assessment page and full details).

It is strongly recommended that all organisers make a preliminary visit to Colchester Zoo to carry out their own risk assessment before bringing a group of children. Two free familiarisation tickets to complete this visit can be requested after you have made an Educational Youth Group booking (see below for details of how to obtain these tickets).

Pre-trip Familiarisation Tickets

We offer Educational Youth Group leaders two free familiarisation tickets to visit the zoo to plan your day and complete risk assessments. These tickets are only available to registered leaders (they cannot be used by friends or family members).
In order to qualify for these tickets, you must already have a booked Educational Youth Group trip to Colchester Zoo.
If you have already booked your trip and received confirmation of it, please download and complete the following form: Familiarisation Request Form Download

Please note, this form must be sent in at least 10 days prior to your suggested visit date.


You are offered free adult places to ensure your educational youth group has adequate supervision. Children who qualify for carer places are provided free adult carers at a 1:1 ratio and therefore these children will not count towards your free adult ratio. Children using Zoo Passes (gold cards) may enter free of charge, but do not count towards your free adult ratio.

The ratio of free adults to children is:

  • Ages 5-10 – One free adult is per 6 paying children
  • Ages 10-16 – One free adult per 8 paying children

These are guidelines only. While we require children to be supervised, we do not require these exact ratios. Please base your supervisory ratios on the behaviour of your specific children.

Children ages 14 and younger must be supervised at all times.

Children ages 14-16 require supporting leaders to accompany them into the zoo, but are allowed to traverse the zoo in small independent groups without direct supervision. All unsupervised children must be in uniform and/or otherwise identifiable in the event we need to contact you regarding their behaviour.

All children must be supervised while on the train or in the Gift Shop.

Please be aware that there are other visitors in the zoo at the same time as you, please ensure the children you are responsible for are respectful and use appropriate language.

Play Areas

Educational Youth Groups are offered discounted entry rates because their visit is educational in nature and encouraging their children to learn about animals and the environment. As such, Educational Youth Groups are not permitted to use the Jungle Tumble Soft Play indoor play area.

Educational Youth Group children ages 10 and older are not permitted to use any play areas.

Educational Youth Group children ages 5 – 10 are allowed to use any outdoor play area within the zoo between between 12-2pm only


We have a number of undercover picnic areas around the zoo. These cannot be pre-booked and are available on a first come, first served basis. Please download and see our Group Map showing all of these locations. During wet, cold weather we recommend eating inside the Giraffe Building. Please note that Educational Youth Groups eating packed lunches are not allowed to eat inside our food outlets or cafés.

Please note that there is no lunch box storage available.

If your older children plan to eat at our food outlets, please be aware that on quieter days some of them may not be open. The main café, Penguinis, is always open. On busy days there are often queues at our food outlets. To avoid the queues eat outside of the peak times of 11:30-1:30.

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