Chester Zoo remains closed but we hope to reopen our gates again soon.

When exactly that will be, we don’t yet know, but we’re busy making a whole host of changes to ensure that when the time comes, and when the government makes it possible for us to do so, we’ll be ready to welcome visitors back safely. When we do reopen, it’ll be at the right time.


When are you re-opening?
The latest government guidance means that we unfortunately don’t yet have a set date when we can re-open the zoo due to ever-changing coronavirus situation. However, as the government starts to ease lockdown measures, 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.
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 will remain closed, but takeaway options will be available from selected outlets, including Manado Street Kitchen on Islands Our gift shops will remain closed, but 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 regular cleaning takes place 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 emphasize two-metre distancing and lots of signage
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 monitor/limit the number of visitors at the zoo each day. We’ll be sure to update you via email and our social media channels as soon as we open our online booking system. We look forward to seeing you at the zoo soon.
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.
I have a gift voucher but can’t use this online. Can I still book a ticket?
Yes. Please email 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.
Will I still be able to buy souvenirs?
There will be a small range of soft toys available to purchase online (for collection at the zoo) when booking your tickets. You’ll receive further information on how to collect these following your purchase.
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 mobility scooter?
Yes. Mobility scooters can be booked online when you book tickets or by emailing
Will I be able to rent a buggy or wheelchair?
Yes. Buggies and wheelchairs can be booked online when you book tickets or by emailing
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.
Will the animal houses and walk through exhibits be open?
All of our indoor spaces and walk-through exhibits will remain closed to visitors for the time being as we follow social distancing advice. We’ll continue to monitor government guidance and may in future be able to open some of these spaces.
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. If you’re a group organiser and would like to receive details when you can visit, please email
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
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’m a volunteer – can I come back to volunteering at the zoo?
We’ll be in touch with all of our volunteers to update on when it’s possible to return to the zoo. We’re really missing you!
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!
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 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.


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 . 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.


Will there be changes to your cafes?
Due to social distancing restrictions and for your safety, our cafes and restaurants (including The Oakfield) will remain closed for now. There will however be takeaway options around the zoo (details here).
Can I book a table at The Oakfield?
The Oakfield is currently closed, however please keep an eye on our social media channels and when we are able to re-open, we’ll be sure to let you know. 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 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 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
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