Bookings for 2023 are now open!

Find details about this popular festive session below:

Booking Details

To book a Christmas Penguin Experience please contact our education department directly at or via phone at 01206 33251 at 01206 332512

When requesting to reserve a place please ensure you know:

  • your number of pupils / number of sessions required (each session is for a maximum of 30 pupils at a time)
  • Your first three choices of dates (ranked in order of preference)
  • Estimated arrival / departure time

After a specific date/time is reserved for you, your space will be reserved for one week, and you will be sent the link to the more detailed booking form to complete online within that time.

The sessions are available Mon-Fri from the 13th Nov 2023 to the 15th Dec 2023. Sessions will be bookable on the hour at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, and 13:00. Each time slot is for one class, a maximum of approximately 30 children.

Current session availability as of 27 Sept. Please note this calendar is not live and will not show bookings received but not yet processed.

Risk Assessments

Please see our detailed school trip risk assessment page for our general school trip risk assessments and session risk assessment, which covers associated risks of live animals in sessions including the Christmas Penguin Educational Experience.

Session Details

Take part in a wonderful Christmas educational experience at Colchester Zoo! Your class will be greeted by a festive elf who helps you learn all about penguins. You’ll then get the chance to observe a real penguin up close to test what you’ve learned. Father Christmas will then join you to see how much you know about one of his favourite winter animals! As you leave, Father Christmas has a lovely gift for each pupil.

Suitable for EYFS, KS1, and lower KS2 classes with accompanying adults. The session can also be deliver for SEND groups working at these levels.

The session covers a wide range of learning about penguins as well as the National Curriculum links as outlined in the below PLOs.

After your Christmas Penguin session, you can also complete a follow up activity with your class where they can write letters to Father Christmas and receive a custom, personalised reply. Download the worksheets for this here, or check your confirmation email attachments.

The Christmas Penguin Experience includes:

  • Entry to Colchester Zoo
  • Meet a live penguin
  • Father Christmas
  • Gift for each child
  • Free adult places*
  • Indoor lunch space**

**Each participating class will receive an assigned time slot within an indoor eating area. Please note that outside of these timeslots, these lunch spaces may not be available.

Christmas Penguin Experience Cost:

All prices still to be confirmed. Price information will be updated on this website by the end of August prior to bookings opening on the 11th September.

Ticket TypeCost
Primary Pupil£11.50
*Primary Disabled Pupil £11.50
**Primary Zoo Pass Holder £4.50
Additional Adults £10.99
*Adult CarersFree

Schools are offered free adult places at a ratio of 1 free adult per 6 paying pupils. Any adults above this free ratio are charged at the additional adult rate. Please note that any pupils who qualify for carer places (as detailed below) are provided free adult carer at a 1:1 ratio and therefore these pupils will not count towards your free adult ratio.

* Adult carers are admitted free of charge at a 1:1 ratio for any pupils 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 pupils who attend on the day. Carer places are offered at a 1:1 ratio for each disabled pupil. If your pupil requires a higher carer ratio, please contact us.

** Zoo Passes (Gold Cards) must be shown on the day of your visit. If passes are not shown, pupils will be charged the full price of £11.50.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to our newsletter for all the latest deals, news and more!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter