2021-2022 Home Education Sessions

We have restarted our in-person educational sessions at the zoo for Home Education Families.

Due to potentially unforeseen changes of Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines beyond Colchester Zoo’s control there may be unforeseen changes to session dates and/or topics, or sessions may be cancelled.


Registration details, including how to book located further down this page.

Interested in a special Christmas Educational Experience? Click here for more details further down this page


Education sessions for home educated children

These sessions are aimed at families who home educate. If you are a teacher at a school, please see our school page for more details (click here). Sessions require pre-registration. Unregistered children will not be allowed to participate. Home education classes are designed to build on one another, and you can (if registered) attend all the age-appropriate sessions, or if you prefer, just register for one or two.

These sessions do not include entry to the zoo. There is no fee for the sessions, but participants must arrange entry separately either by paying standard entry fees (click here for prices), organising themselves with 15 people to qualify for our group rates (click here for group details), or using zoo passes (click here for details)(recommended if you plan on attending more than one session) to gain entry to the zoo.


Regular Session Topics 2021-22

Sessions will run on three days each month (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday), the sessions offered are identical on each day. Each day will have a session aimed at 5-7 year olds, 7-11 year olds, and 11-16 year olds.

5-7 year old sessions take place at 1:00-1:45 pm
The 5-7 year old MONDAY sessions are fully booked. Wait list is available. Spaces still available on Tuesdays and Wednesday.

7-11 year old sessions take place at 2:00-2:45 pm
The 7-11 year old MONDAY, TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY sessions are fully booked. Wait list is available.

11-16 year old sessions take place at 3:00-4:00 pm
The 11-16 year old MONDAY sessions are fully booked. Wait list is available. Spaces still available on Tuesdays and Wednesday.

Click below to download a PDF of all the session topics, and a description of what will be covered for each age group.


Session Dates for 2021-22:

  • September – Mon 6th, Tues 7th, & Wed 8th
  • October – Mon 4th, Tues 5th, & Wed 6th
  • November – Mon 1st, Tues 2nd, & Wed 3rd
  • December – Mon 6th, Tues 7th, & Wed 8th
  • January – Mon 17th, Tues 18th, & Wed 19th
  • February – Mon 21st, Tues 22nd, & Wed 23rd
  • March – Mon 21st, Tues 22nd, & Wed 23rd
  • April – Mon 25th, Tues 26th, & Wed 27th
  • May – Mon 9th, Tues 10th, & Wed 11th

Session Registration

Participants must be registered a minimum of 2 days prior to the class. Please fill in the following registration form and send via email to education@colchesterzoo.org to register for the sessions.
After your booking form has been received by our education team, you will be sent a confirmation email to the email address you provided confirming your registration for the sessions. Please read the confirmation email carefully, as while we strive to place you in your first choice day of the week, this is not always possible.


Terms and Conditions:

Covid-19: Sessions are being offered based on current government guidelines and restrictions. Please be aware, that due to potentially unforeseen changes of restrictions beyond Colchester Zoo’s control (including but not limited to: zoo closure; no mixing indoors of different households; maximum numbers of adults mixing; etc.) there may unforeseen changes to session dates and/or topics. Additionally, based on these government guidelines and restrictions, sessions may be cancelled. We will strive to keep any registrants updated in these circumstances.

Age to Attend Sessions: The sessions are divided into different age groups because this lets us tailor the session to include terminology and activities which are better suited to different age ranges. However, the ages we provide are just guidelines of where we will be targeting the information/activities, not firm requirements. To ensure the smooth running of the session, and for the benefit of all participants, we request younger/older children do not attend if they would be disruptive to the rest of the group.

Adult Supervision: All children attending sessions must be accompanied by an adult.

Minimum Class Size: Colchester Zoo reserves the right to cancel a class, no less than 4 days prior to the first class of the month, if registration is under five participants. In this event, you will be notified via the email you provided when you registered. You will also be given the option to attend the other date the same session is offered (e.g. if the Monday session is cancelled you would be offered a space in the Wednesday class if you so wish).

Maximum Class Size: Classes have a maximum of 25 participants. If a class is full, you will be put on a waiting list and contacted if there are any cancellations. Being on the wait list does not guarantee you will be able to attend the session.

Unattended Sessions: If you are unable to attend a session, please inform Colchester Zoo via email (education@colchesterzoo.org) as soon as possible. This will allow them to contact someone on the waiting list to let them attend. If you repeatedly do not attend sessions you are registered for, without letting the zoo know, you may be removed from future sessions.

Please note – Home Education sessions are free of charge. However, Registration for sessions does not include entry to the zoo. Participants must arrange entry to the zoo separately; either paying entrance price, organising themselves independently into a group of 15 (to qualify for group rates), or using zoo passes (gold cards) (see above for further details).


Christmas Penguin Educational Session

This session is different from the ‘Regular’ scheduled monthly sessions (as above), and requires separate registration!

Bookings open at 9am on Monday, 4th Nov. We are unable to take any bookings or hold any spaces before this time.

Once bookings open, if you would like to attend this special Christmas Session, please email education@colchesterzoo.org to register with your child(ren)’s name and age and the parent/guardian’s full name (please note that this is a completely separate session and requires different registration than the usual free sessions for which registration is via the form found higher on this page). If you have any questions, email education@colchesterzoo.org

This session has very limited places which will be filled on a first come first served basis once bookings open.

Christmas elf on pebbles with 2 penguins in the foreground

Recommended for ages 5 to 9
60 minute session

Sessions will take place on the 1st Dec 2021. Two session time slots are available, either 12:00-13:00 OR 13:00-14:00.

This special session will run for Home Educated Children on Wed 1st of Dec 2021. This session is recommended for ages 5 to 9 although older or younger children are welcome to attend.

A festive elf will greet the group and need help learning all about penguins. Participants will work together with a magic book to find out more about these fascinating animals. The entire group then get the chance to observe real penguins up close before Father Christmas arrives to see how much you’ve all learned about one of his favourite winter animals! As you leave, Father Christmas will give each child a lovely plush cuddly toy penguin.

Due to the up close animal experience and the gift, there is a charge of £3 per child attending the session (this includes younger siblings attending if you would like them to receive a plush toy as well). (When registration is confirmed, we will send you details of how to make this payment).

This session will be identical to the Christmas Penguin Educational Experience that has previously been offered for Home Education families in prior years.

Please note, this session (as with all Home Education Sessions at Colchester Zoo) does not include entry to the zoo. Participants must arrange entry separately either by paying standard entry fees (click here for prices), organising themselves with 15 people to qualify for our group rates (fees (click here for group details), or using zoo passes (click here for pass details).

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