For information on today's catering outlet opening times, planned closures and offers please click here.
Colchester Zoo is a full day out, so do get here early! You'll need to visit more than once to see every event. We are open every day from 9.30am except Christmas Day. Closing times vary according to season. Catering and Retail outlets will close at least one hour prior to the zoo grounds as well as some interactive areas and the Kingdom of the Wild building. Jungle Tumble and some of the larger animal buildings close 45 minutes prior to the zoo grounds. Please note that the zoo car parks close a maximum of 30 minutes after the zoo closes. For the opening times on the day of your visit please click here.
Emergency out of hours contact
For our out of hours emergency contact please dial 01206 331292 and select option 1 or 4.
You will be given a free welcome guide with your admission tickets, or pass holders can collect one at the turnstiles. This contains all of the information you need to be able to coordinate your day, including zoo, catering and retail closing times.
Please note that Colchester Zoo accepts all valid credit and debit cards except American Express. Cheques are no longer accepted as a form of payment at any pay point.
A full colour souvenir guide is also available at a small charge packed with additional information and imagery about the animals. Please ask for a copy at any pay desk.
Free wifi is now available throughout the Colchester Zoo grounds to download the Colchester Zoo app and access the website.
Please note it is not possible to hire buggies.
In an emergency, go to the nearest point of sale or someone wearing a Zoo uniform. You will be taken to the nearest First Aid Station.
Meeting Point, Lost and Found
We suggest that you organise to meet at the Meeting Point located near the Zoo exit. Please enquire at Guest Services, near The Southern Kitchen outlet, for lost property and if you are not reunited with your party.
Supervision of Children
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 aged 18yrs or over at all times whilst on the premises. Unaccompanied children under 16yrs will not be admitted.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Facilities for Babies
Nappy changing facilities and feeding areas for males and females are provided around the zoo. Please refer to the Welcome Guide/Map for more details and specific locations.
For bottle or baby food warming please ask at Penguini's Restaurant, The Patisserie, The Southern Kitchen, Jungle Tumble, Playa Patagonia Coffee shop or Meerkat Hangout Food Stop. You are also able to help yourselves to hot water from self-serve hot drink machines which are found in most kiosks, or you are welcome to ask a member of staff for assistance in any other outlet.
You are welcome to breastfeed your baby wherever you feel comfortable but we do also provide private rooms at the zoo entrance, Playa Patagonia, Meerkat Hangout, Remi Brown Play Area and Chimpanzee Lookout.
Facilities for the Disabled
Disabled parking areas are clearly marked on arrival. Please ensure that a Blue Badge is clearly displayed. Toilet facilities for the disabled are located in each toilet block and all catering and retail outlets are easily accessible. Because of the steep hills in the Zoo we recommend that anyone with a wheelchair follows the "Easier Route" which gives the best route possible around the Zoo avoiding the steepest hills. This is a yellow line to follow around the zoo's pathways. For this reason, discounted rates are available for the disabled. For rates and more information on our facilities for the disabled, please click here.
Visiting at busy times
When visiting on busy days we recommend that you follow the Easier route from Chimps heading towards Komodo Dragons to help avoid the crowds. To save time and avoid queuing we suggest you use the Zoo's main food outlets outside peak hours and use the shops during the day, rather than at the end of your visit.
Visiting on quieter days
Whilst some catering outlets will remain open, some will be closed on quieter days. All displays will run as normal even if one one person wishes to attend. You are always recommended, however, to arrive on time.
Please do not feed the animals unless directed as they need a carefully balanced diet. The natural style of the enclosures may mean that you need to look carefully to see the animals. Please do not bang on the glass or shout. You can always return later in the day for another look. If an enclosure were to be empty there would be a notice informing you of this.
Colchester Zoo can only allow assistance dogs on site in the interest of the welfare of our animals and general safety. Dogs which are allowed are fully trained certified Registered Assistance Dogs. Any visits with Registered Assistance Dogs must be arranged at least 24 hours in advance. Find out more about visting with an assistance dog here.
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
We recommend that visitors with additional needs or pushchairs follow the easier route around the park. This is marked with a yellow line on the paths around the zoo to avoid the steeper gradients whilst still being able to enjoy it all. For more details on access, please refer to our Access Page (click to be taken to it).
Re-entry to the park
If you would like to return to your car and re-enter the park today, please present your ticket at the Ark shop counter before leaving to obtain a wrist band. We regret that you cannot re-enter the park with just a scanned ticket, and the wristband is essential to gain re-entry on the day.
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 picnics into the park to consume in designated picnic areas. We regret that it is not possible to eat your own picnics in any of our catering outlets or the indoor play area. The designated picnic areas are clearly indicated on the map within your welcome guide.
As a quality family attraction, we request that t-shirts are worn at all times whilst inside the park.
Terms and Conditions of Entry
- 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
- Visitors upgrading admission tickets to a zoo pass must have their own admission ticket for upgrading. Another person's entry ticket cannot be used.
- Zoo Passholders cannot gain admission to the park without their valid pass
- Children aged 15 and under must be supervised by an adult at all times whilst inside the park
Bicycles, scooters, children's cars, skate boards, rollerblades, or roller skates are not permitted within Colchester Zoo. Three wheeled trikes are allowed only the condition that they are used like a buggy and the child does not propel themselves. Visitors use trikes at their own risk, take full responsibility for steering them and will be required to sign a disclaimer to confirm that they will be used safely.
- Please note that no dogs are allowed into the park, with the exception of Registered Assistance Dogs. Any visits with Registered Assistance Dogs must be arranged at least 24 hours in advance. Find out more about visting with an assistance dog here.
- Colchester Zoo cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to visitor's possessions inside the zoo or in the car park
- Photography for commercial use is not permitted without the expressed permission of Colchester Zoo
- Visitors are admitted on condition that, if requested to do so, they consent to security checks on themselves and/or their belongings. Management reserve the right to confiscate any item deemed as unsuitable or unsafe for use within Colchester Zoo.
- Colchester Zoo will not tolerate physical or verbal threats towards its staff and operate a complete zero tolerance policy. Any visitors behaving inappropriately will be denied access to, or told to leave the park, immediately without refund being made.
- Please be aware that Colchester Zoo is protected by 24 hour C.C.T.V surveillance cameras and video recording.
- Colchester Zoo reserves the right to close any or all parts of the zoo as necessary. Displays and trains can be temporarily withdrawn without notice due to animal sickness, inclement weather, power failure or for any other reasons. Refunds cannot be offered under these circumstances
- Non adherence of terms and conditions of entry will result in being told to leave the park immediately without any refund being given
- Visitors upgrading admission tickets to a zoo pass must have their own admission ticket for upgrading. Another person’s entry ticket cannot be used.
- Visitors who are visiting as a zoo passholder from a recipricol zoo must present their valid pass on the day of their visit otherwise full admission must be paid and is non refundable.
- All admission for Colchester Zoo is non-refundable.