01 15/01/2018

School children to visit Chester Zoo for free

Chester Zoo will offer free entry to 35,000 school children later this year, as part of a campaign to inspire a new wave of conservationists.

  • The zoo hopes to prevent extinction by inspiring a new generation of conservationists
  • UK’s most popular zoo is also a conservation and education charity
  • Educators are hoping to reach more children from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • The initiative follows a similar campaign in 2017, with more places than ever up for grabs this year

The zoo, which is the UK’s most visited tourist attraction outside London and the country’s most popular zoo, is both a conservation and an education charity.

This is the second year the zoo has offered free school places, after a successful trial in 2017, with more places than ever available this time around. The zoo will initially allocate the free places to schools who have not taken up the offer before. 

A scientific study, supported by the zoo, reported last year that people have significantly better understanding of biodiversity and conservation after a visit to a zoo than before, so conservationists hope that school children motivated by their visit in 2018 will go on to play a crucial role in preventing extinction for years to come.


From songbirds in Asia to rhinos in Africa, large numbers of species are under threat across the world. Right here in the UK, almost all wildlife is in decline. Almost three quarters of British butterfly species are in decline, one in five wildflowers are threatened with extinction and the hedgehog population has decreased by 50% in rural areas in only 15 years.

Field conservationists from the zoo are fighting back, working with partners to deliver more than 80 vital projects in 30 countries worldwide, including the UK.

Chester Zoo’s major Safari Ranger outreach programme already delivers free sessions to schools throughout the North West of England and North Wales. Experts from the zoo also train community group leaders in habitat conservation, work with local field partners to protect endangered species and engage families and young people on site in Chester every day.

Charlotte Smith, Head of Discovery and Learning at the zoo, said:

Inspiring a new generation of conservationists could be the key to preventing the extinction of species in years to come. We want to encourage as many schoolchildren through our gates as possible and we hope to remove as many barriers as we can to create opportunities young people may never have had before. It is time to act for wildlife.

The free school places scheme is available for weekday visits between 1 November 2018 to 28 February 2019, during the Cheshire West and Chester region term time.

School groups are advised to book early via the book your visit page.

There is a maximum capacity of bookings per day to avoid overcrowding and ensure every child and visitor is able to enjoy a world class experience.

A range of post-visit learning resources for schools are also available at www.chesterzoo.org/education.

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