We’re delighted to say the zoo gates are now open!
We ask that ALL visitors, including members, book their visit online in advance. Our teams have been busy preparing the zoo to ensure that we can uphold social distancing, minimise all hard surface contact points and further increase hygiene facilities – making it a safe and enjoyable space for everyone.
|GENERAL FAQ’s||MEMBERS FAQ’s||FOOD & DRINK FAQ’s||BOOKING FAQ’s|
Is the zoo open?
Yes, we are now open. We ask that ALL visitors, including members, book their visit online in advance. Our teams have been busy preparing the zoo to ensure that we can uphold social distancing, minimise all hard surface contact points and further increase hygiene facilities – making it a safe and enjoyable space for everyone.
What are your opening times?
From Saturday 4 July to Friday 31 July the zoo will be open from 10am – 6pm.
How will you ensure that we can visit the zoo safely?
We recognise our responsibility with regard to the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our staff and visitors in light of the coronavirus pandemic and are committed to following the advice and guidance provided by the government. For that reason, we’ve implemented a number of changes to the zoo experience: We’ll be strictly limiting the number of visitors and members who are able to come to the zoo each day to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience All visitors and members must book online in advance of their visit We’ll no longer be selling tickets “on the day” at our gates or admission lanes We have installed new self-scanning ticket facilities at the entrance turnstiles to ensure contactless entry. We’re providing lots of additional hand-wash and sanitisation facilities around the zoo. Our cafes and restaurants are slowly reopening with takeaway options at June’s Food Court from Saturday 4 July and Manado Street Kitchen. There will be no indoor seating at June’s Food Court. The Oakfield is also open from Saturday 4 July but you must pre-book your table online to ensure that we can keep numbers to a safe level. You can pre-book your table here: https://www.theoakfield.org/book-a-table/ Please note, we can only accept bookings for those who wish to dine at The Oakfield, we will not be able to allow those who wish to have drinks only, at this time.
Our main gift shop is also open from Saturday 4 July, and you can pre-purchase a soft toy with your tickets and pick them up from designated collection points when you visit. All of our play areas will remain closed to safely uphold social distancing measures and limit people’s contact with hard surfaces. We’ll be managing toilet facilities to control numbers of people in and out and ensuring enhanced regular cleaning takes place. Some of our animal houses and walk through exhibits including aviaries will remain closed to visitors. We’ve created “one-way only” systems on some paths to keep areas flowing and prevent overcrowding in popular areas. These will also be staffed by our expert team We’ve installed lots of guidance on hygiene, social distancing and safety measures around the zoo as friendly reminders to everyone how to enjoy their day – these include floor stickers to emphasise two-metre distancing and lots of signage.
Is 2m social distancing still in place?
Although the government has updated its guidance on social distancing we’re still recommending that you stay 2m apart wherever you can.
So we ask that:
• You are patient with staff who are helping to keep visitor numbers to a safe level in spaces where 2m distance is more difficult
• You clean your hands regularly using our hand sanitising and hand washing stations
• You avoid touching surfaces in indoor and outdoor spaces
• Pay attention to one way pathways to help with social distancing
• Don’t dwell too long in indoor spaces and be patient if you have to wait for other visitors to move on
• You supervise children in your care at all times
We promise we’ll:
• Provide safe queuing systems, signage and staff to help with social distancing
• Ensure there is as much fresh air in our indoor spaces as possible
• Clean surfaces regularly.
Please help our staff and visitors by keeping yourself and your little ones at a safe distance from others.
How do I book tickets for the zoo?
To minimise physical contact as much as possible, we’re now only accepting online bookings, made prior to your visit. This is so we can safely limit the number of visitors at the zoo each day. For our latest availability go to the shop section of our website. Please choose your day carefully, due to high demand, we won’t be able to amend your ticket booking once purchased. We look forward to seeing you at the zoo soon. We can’t accept bookings via email due to the overwhelming demand. This system is in place to enable us to manage our visitor numbers confidently and safely.
I have a gift ticket / adopter ticket / complimentary ticket, which has expired while you’ve been closed. What do I do?
When we closed the zoo on the 21 March we automatically extended all valid pre-paid tickets until the end of the year. So, you can visit using that ticket but please remember to let us know that you are coming in advance by booking on our website. You’ll need to bring this booking confirmation and your pre-paid ticket to gain access in to the zoo. You will need to book a date for your visit using the 8 digit code included on your booking confirmation via this link: https://shop.chesterzoo.org/bookings/standard/validate-existingbooking.aspx If you have a ticket for Chester Zoo, your ticket number will be on the back of the ticket, underneath the barcode. It will be 8 digits long and begin with a ‘1’. If you have a booking from an online order, your booking will have a QR code on it and your reference will be 8 digits long and begin with a ‘2’.
I have a gift voucher but can’t use this online. Can I still book a ticket?
Yes. Please email email@example.com with your preferred date of visit and the number of adults and/or children in your party. We’ll then be able to get in touch to book your ticket over the phone and you’ll be able to collect your ticket from the admissions window when you arrive. We’ll need you to bring the gift voucher with you to redeem against the ticket value.
Can I buy items in your shop?
When you buy your tickets you’ll have the option of selecting one of our cuddly toy offers for collection at the zoo. Our collection points will be at the main entrance kiosk and at The Oakfield shop. Alternatively you can buy from our brand new online shop https://gifts.chesterzoo.org Our main shop will also open from Saturday 4 July but we’ll be limiting the numbers of visitors in the shop at any one time.. All the purchases you make from our shop support our zoo and our vital conservation work to prevent extinction. Please only visit the shop if you have a booking for the day so that we can keep visitor numbers in the main entrance to a safe level.
Can I still come and see the elephants even though I don’t have a ticket?
At the moment, unfortunately not. If you are visiting the zoo you must have a pre-booked ticket, this also includes our members. Our staff will be managing the number of visitors in all our open spaces to ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable day with us.
Will the nature reserve be open?
Yes, our nature reserve will be open, but we must insist that those visiting are mindful of others in this space, and to observe social distancing and safety measures when visiting.
Will I be able to book a buggy, wheel chair or mobility scooter?
Yes. These items can be booked online when you book tickets or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note these are subject to availability and booking is essential. We currently have a limited number available due to the new safety measures we have in place therefore we recommend booking early. We only have a small team working therefore it may take us a little longer than usual to get back to you.
Will car parking change?
You’ll still be able to park free of charge at the zoo, as normal. We’ll be asking that visitors please respect social distancing measures when leaving and returning to their vehicles. On arrival you may be asked to wait in your vehicle to help our team manage the number of visitors approaching the zoo entrance at one time.
Where do I find hand-washing facilities?
Each of our toilet facilities buildings has hand-washing facilities, and you’ll find around 100 hand-sanitisation stations dotted around the zoo for regular cleaning.
Will toilet facilities be open?
All of our toilet facilities (apart from those within cafes and restaurants) will be open, with limited capacity to enable social distancing. Our team will be carefully managing these areas, and so there may be a short wait to use the facilities. All of our washrooms will be cleaned thoroughly and regularly throughout the day for your safety.
Will we have to wear masks to visit the zoo?
Based on the current government guidance and advice, you won’t be required to wear a face mask when visiting the zoo. Similarly, our team will not be required to wear any form of face mask unless their role requires it due to hygiene practices in place. For example, our first aid teams, or the normal biosecurity measures adhered to by our animal keepers. However, we would encourage anyone who feels that they would like to wear a face mask to do so.
Will the animal houses and walk through exhibits be open?
Thanks to the introduction of new government guidelines Realm of the Red Ape, Tropical Realm, Jaguar and Monkey indoor habitats will be open from Saturday 4 July with strict limits on numbers and hygiene measures in place. Our other indoor spaces and walk-through exhibits will remain closed to visitors for the time being as we follow social distancing advice. Please help us to keep you safe by following safety advice in indoor spaces and keeping as far apart as possible from people who aren’t in your group. This may sometimes mean that there will be a short wait to get into some of the indoor spaces – thanks in advance for bearing with us.
Will the Lazy River Boat Trip and Treetop Challenge be open?
Our Lazy River Boat Trip and Treetop Challenge will remain closed to visitors. We’ll continue to monitor the latest government guidance and may in future be able to open these areas.
Can I bring a group to the zoo?
We’ll be restricting the numbers of visitors coming to the zoo each day so that we can safely facilitate social distancing measures, adhering to the latest government guidance. For that reason, we won’t be able to accept large group bookings which include people from multiple households at this time. Please keep checking back on our website for any updates.
Will I be able to meet family and friends at the zoo?
For your own safety and that of others, please only visit with members of your household. If you meet friends at the zoo please maintain clear social distance at all times and follow the latest government guidelines.
I’m a coach operator – can I book to bring a coach party?
Unfortunately, we’re not currently accepting group or coach party bookings. Please ensure you stay in touch with us so we can update you, if and when that changes.
Is The Lanterns going ahead this Christmas?
We hope to bring you our magical event once again this winter. We’re currently working to ensure that the event will provide a magical experience, whilst still adhering to social distancing requirements. We’ll update you as soon as we know more!
Can I still use cash at the zoo?
We encourage you to use cashless and contactless payments as much as possible when at the zoo, however we will still have some till points available to accept cash where needed. All locations accept card payments and contactless payments, which can now be made for transactions up to £45.
Can the animals catch or pass on Covid-19?
COVID-19 is a brand new strain of coronavirus and global experts currently don’t know everything about it in humans, let alone animals. The zoo is, of course, taking every precaution for staff, visitors and animals and our expert animal teams have always had a strict set of biosecurity measures in place given that we’re home to so many rare and precious species. Lots of different coronaviruses have always been a part of animal biology and occur naturally in all sorts of different species. Scientists and conservationists at the zoo are monitoring the very latest research and evidence to try and understand how this new virus acts in animals.
Will there still be talks at some of the animal habitats?
Due to social distancing requirements we cannot currently provide talks which encourage gatherings of visitors in one area. We do, however, have lots of information on our website where you can learn more about the animals and plants at the zoo.
Will school visits be allowed?
We’re working with schools to provide access to learning resources online. If you wish to book a school visit for a future date, or would like a member of our team to come to your school, please contact our team directly at email@example.com
Can I still use the lockers at the zoo?
Unfortunately, we’ll be unable to offer lockers for hire due to guidelines around hygiene.
I’d like to support your fundraising by making a donation. How do I do this?
Please visit our page on JustGiving which is the best place for you to donate. Your kind donation will allow us to carry on preventing extinction – thank you! https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ChesterZooFuture
We have a question and can’t get through to anyone on the phone.
To ensure the safety of our staff we currently have a smaller team working at the zoo. This means that it’s taking us a little longer than usual to answer enquiries. You can find lots of information about booking and visits on our website. For anything else, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for bearing with us at this time.
I have a booking for an event or experience, will this go ahead and will there be any changes to our plans?
Our event team will be in touch with you individually to talk about your event or encounter and we’re taking steps to ensure that all activities at the zoo are delivered with safety in mind, following the latest government guidance. Please bear with us, as our team are working through our lists which will take us a little bit of time.
We’ve pulled together some helpful FAQs and a quick step by step guide on how to book your member tickets below…
- Go to our Members shop page here to log in. If you are having trouble logging in, you can book a visit using your membership number here >
- Please select an available day. Don’t forget to double check the selected date of your booking and remember to book a place for everyone in your group, this includes any children under the age of 3.
- To book your tickets you will need to enter your membership numbers. You can book tickets for up to 6 people. If you want to make a booking for a non-member you will need to do this as a separate booking here.
- You will receive a confirmation email that you will need to bring with you on the day of your visit to scan, along with your membership cards.
I’m a member, why do I have to book?
The number of visitors being welcomed through our gates each day will be limited to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable day with us, while fully adhering to the government’s social distancing and safety guidelines. To do this, our team will be carefully managing the amount of people at the zoo at any one time. This means that our family of members will also need to let us know that you plan to visit, in advance, by using our online booking system. To do this, simply go to the ‘plan your visit’ section of the website and follow the link for member booking. You’ll need to log in and select the day of your visit but there is, of course, no charge for the booking. You’ll need to bring your booking confirmation and your membership card with you on the day as you’ll need to scan both when you arrive. Remember to book a place for everyone in your group. Thank you for your understanding and for your incredible, unwavering support – it’s hugely appreciated.
I’ve deferred my membership renewal or was taking a payment holiday while you were closed. Can I still visit?
Yes, of course! Your membership is still valid and we’ll make arrangements to renew your membership and reinstate your payments as planned in June. Please remember that you must book in advance online to let us know that you are visiting. You’ll need to bring this booking confirmation and your membership card with you to the zoo.
I’m a member – are there any changes to my membership?
Your membership still gives you a fantastic range of benefits but for now, the only difference is that you must prebook your visit to the zoo. You won’t be asked to pay anything extra on top of your normal membership fee, but we need you to book so we can manage the number of visitors each day and keep the zoo a safe space for everyone.
When is the next Z magazine due out?
As a charity, the zoo has taken the decision to make use of the government’s job retention scheme and many of the zoo’s staff are on furlough leave. For that reason we have paused Z mag due to a reduction in working staff – we do hope that’s understandable. We’ll be keeping you up to date via email and our social media channels about all the animals, and as soon as we’re able, we’ll publish the next edition to you.
Will members’ days go ahead?
Within current restrictions on numbers of visitors we’re unfortunately unable to offer members’ days. However, as soon as we can re-arrange them, we’ll let you know the new dates and details of how to book.
Can I visit the membership office?
Our membership office remains closed at the moment, so we ask that unless you have a booking to visit the zoo please email us at email@example.com . This will help us to keep visitor numbers in the main entrance and car park to a safe level where social distancing can be maintained. If you have a booking to visit the zoo then there will be a member of the team located at the admission windows to answer any queries or resolve any issues you might have with your membership.
I’m a member and can’t log in.
If you haven’t registered an online account before then go to https://shop.chesterzoo.org/loginreg.aspx and register.
I’ve tried to register / log in to my account and can’t.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your membership number and preferred email address and they’ll reset your password and ensure that the email address we have for you is up to date. Please bear with us as the team are dealing with lots of queries at the moment.
I’ve logged in but it says I don’t have any memberships.
It could be that your membership has expired. If this is the case then please email email@example.com and they’ll be able to renew your membership for you. If your membership is still valid then it might be that your online account isn’t linked to your membership record. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and they’ll be able to link the two together for you. Please bear with us as the team are dealing with lots of queries at the moment.
I’m a member and all of the slots have been filled, can you release more for the day. I want to visit?
We’ve significantly increased the number of slots for members compared with the numbers of member visits last year. This means that the majority of tickets for this month will be allocated to members. We know that in the first few weeks there will be very high demand for these places but we are hopeful that you’ll soon be able to book a place. We ask all members help other people by booking only one visit at a time. We’ll be reviewing our ticket allocations regularly and releasing more tickets only if we know that it is safe to do so.
I’ve lost my membership card
If you come to see the membership team at the main entrance on the day of your visit they will be able to print a new card for you. Please ensure you have a valid booking for that day before you visit.
I’ve bought a new membership but don’t have a card yet, what do I do?
Thanks for joining the Chester Zoo family. You will still be able to book your member tickets using your membership number which can be found on your order confirmation. Please see our membership team on arrival at the main entrance with your confirmation letter and they will be able to arrange your membership card for you.
FOOD AT THE ZOO
Will there be changes to your cafes?
Our cafes and restaurants are slowly reopening with takeaway options at June’s Food Court from Saturday 4 July and Manado Street Kitchen. There will be no indoor seating at June’s Food Court. The Oakfield is also open from Saturday 4 July but you must pre-book your table online to ensure that we can keep numbers to a safe level. You can pre-book your table here: https://www.theoakfield.org/book-a-table/ Please note, we can only accept bookings for those who wish to dine at The Oakfield, we will not be able to allow those who wish to have drinks only, at this time.
Can I book a table at The Oakfield?
The Oakfield is open from Saturday 4 July but you must pre-book your table online to ensure that we can keep numbers to a safe level. You can pre-book your table here: https://www.theoakfield.org/book-a-table/ Please note, we can only accept bookings for those who wish to dine at The Oakfield, we will not be able to allow those who wish to have drinks only, at this time. If you have an event booked at The Oakfield, our team will be in touch in advance of your event to discuss your options.
Can I just pop in to The Oakfield when I’m visiting the zoo?
No, we have to ask everyone to book in advance. You can do this here: https://www.theoakfield.org/book-a-table/ The guidance from government means that we have to reduce the number of tables available each day so please do bear with us if you can’t get a table straight away.
I’d like to amend my booking at The Oakfield.
You are able to make any changes to your table booking (cancellation, time, amount of guests etc.), by going into the confirmation email you are sent at the time of booking.
What safety measures are in place at The Oakfield?
We’re taking safety really seriously but hopefully still providing a really relaxing and high quality dining experience. Here’s how things will change:
- We’ll be operating a pre book only service to ensure we can keep the number of people in The Oakfield to a safe level at all times.
- We’ll be asking you to keep 2m distance from people not in your group wherever possible.
- You’ll be greeted at the door and if you have a booking you’ll be shown to your table.
- You’ll have only one member of the team looking after you during your meal. We’ll take your order and you’ll be served all of your food and drinks to your table so you won’t have to move around too much.
- We’ll be cleaning tables and chairs thoroughly after each diner and we won’t be reusing menus.
- As part of the government’s ‘track and trace’ plans we need to make sure we’ve got contact details for you. We will take these from you on the day. We promise your details will be kept confidential and only used for this purpose.
Can I book an event at The Oakfield?
We’re not currently taking bookings for 2020 right now, but if you are interested in booking an event for 2021 or would like to talk about hosting a small meeting of up to 8 people then please get in touch with our events team on email@example.com
Can we bring a picnic?
Yes, you’re very welcome to bring a picnic with you when visiting the zoo. Please use our picnic areas and where possible, please take your waste home with you for responsible disposal
I have another question or would like to make a suggestion?
We’ve tried to cover as much as possible here in our FAQs but please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions that have not been answered, or if you’d like to make any suggestions/. We’re always happy to hear from our wonderful visitors and members! For more information and advice on Covid-19 in England, please visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
I couldn’t make a booking.
I’m so sorry that you have had problems booking. The demand for tickets was quite overwhelming on the opening days. We’ll be releasing more tickets on a regular basis so we hope you’ll find a booking very soon. We know the rush for tickets was quite frustrating but rest assured we are working hard to enable as many of you to visit as possible, all whilst ensuring that your visit to the zoo can be as safe as possible. We’ve missed seeing you all over the last few months so we’ll look forward to seeing you soon.
I’m a member but can’t see the tickets.
Member tickets can be found here https://shop.chesterzoo.org/loginreg.aspx You will need to log in to your account or register to set up an online account. Once we’ve verified you are a member you’ll see the free member bookings.
I made a booking but haven’t received a booking confirmation email
It can sometimes take a day or two for our system to send out the confirmation emails when we are so busy. We’ll make sure it reaches you before your visit but if you are still haven’t heard from us by the end of Friday then please try to make another booking.
I want to book for more than 6 people.
Social distancing is still in place in order to protect people from coronavirus. For this reason we are not allowing large group bookings at this time. Please help us to keep people safe by visiting only with your own household group or ‘bubble’. Please don’t meet up with other family and friends at the zoo. Following the recent changes to the government’s guidelines, we are reworking some of our plans. We don’t yet have specific details but we’ll be sure to add info on any changes to our website as soon as we’ve had chance to carefully consider the latest safety guidelines.
I’ve booked too many tickets / for the wrong day / want to add an under 3 to my group / need to make changes to my booking.
Unfortunately we are only able to accept online bookings at this stage due to the overwhelming demand for a limited number of tickets and we must refer you to our terms and conditions which state that all tickets purchased are non-refundable and non-transferable, therefore we cannot move booking dates or add extra guests to your booking. If you would like to add more people to your booking, we ask that you make a separate booking for those people. We’re currently unable to accept online bookings for groups of more than 6 people as we must adhere to government guidelines, this is one of the many measures we’ve put in place to ensure you have an enjoyable but also safe day out. Social distancing is required at all times in order to protect visitors and staff. Please help us to keep people safe by visiting only with your own household group or ‘bubble’. If you need to add an under 3 ticket to your booking, please let one of our team know when you arrive on day.
How often will you be releasing tickets / can I book for x date in the future?
At the moment we have bookings on sale until the end of July. We’re currently working up our plans following the recent changes to the government’s guidelines on social distancing. Once we have completed this we will be making tickets for August onwards available online. Currently you can only book online so please keep checking our website for updates. At this stage we can’t confirm when dates are being released, but keep an eye on our website for more updates.
What time does the afternoon ticket give me access?
The first admission in the afternoon is 2pm. The zoo will close at 5pm.
What is the difference in price between a full day and half day ticket?
There are different prices for adults, children, concessions and depending on if you choose to make a donation but the Adult (donation) price for a full day is £26 and £12 for an afternoon ticket.
I’m a member at another zoo can I get in for free?
We have recently implemented a new ticket booking system to help us manage and maintain our numbers and keep our visitors and staff safe. We will need all visitors to pre-book their visit online in advance. Our own members will be able to add their membership number to access a free ticket but unfortunately we have no way of enabling this feature for members of other zoos. For this reason, we apologise that we won’t be able to issue tickets for a free visit for members from other zoos. You are more than welcome to purchase tickets here: https://www.chesterzoo.org/visit-the-zoo-new/ We are unsure how long this arrangement will be in place and thank you for your understanding.
Why can’t I book for later in the year?
We’ve only released booking slots up to the end of July right now. Please bear with us and we’ll release more sessions as soon as we can. Please keep checking back over the next few weeks for more dates.