We’re doing everything we can to ensure you can visit safely!
Our teams have been working hard 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?
We are closed from Thursday 5 November – Wednesday 2 December.
We ask that ALL visitors book their visit online in advance (members must book during the school holidays – check our online shop for dates). 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?
We open our gates every morning at 10am.
You can find the closing times for the date of your visit here.
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 that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience. We ask that you don’t meet in groups of more than 6 people during your visit.
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 limited seating and takeaway options. The Oakfield is also open 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 10am daily. Some of our play areas are now open, including Wildlife wood, sand play, balance maze Madagascar Play and Manado. 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 a busy times.
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.
Is 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.
We also ask that:
• You follow the group of 6 rule put in place by the Government and the local restrictions that apply in your area. We ask that you don’t mix in any of our indoor spaces with anyone outside of your household or bubble. .
• 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.
Are you participating in the NHS Test and Trace programme?
Yes, you’ll be asked to provide contact details for the NHS Test and Trace service when you book your tickets and if you book a table at The Oakfield.
From 25 September we will also be providing QR codes at the main entrance of the zoo and in some of our restaurants and cafes. We ask that you download the NHS Test and Trace app and use the QR codes to ‘check in’ when you arrive. We will need to have the contact details of at least one member of your group (of up to 6 people) to allow you to visit the zoo.
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.
Please note: Members to not need to book EXCEPT during school holidays. Check our book ticket page for details of dates.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
1. Your preferred date of visit
2. Voucher numbers
3. Number of adults and/or children in your party
4. Name, address and contact number of booker
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?
You can buy a selection of zoo products from our brand new online shop https://gifts.chesterzoo.org which you can then collect from the zoo. Our collection points will be at the main entrance kiosk and at the main gift shop.
Our main shop is also now open, 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.
Please note, following updated government guidance in England, we ask that you wear a face covering when visiting our shops.
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, 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.
Please follow the direction of the car park team, and park with other zoo visitors when accessing this area.
Will I be able to book a buggy, wheel chair or mobility scooter?
Wheelchairs and mobility scooters can be booked with our team, once you’ve booked your tickets by emailing email@example.com Please put ‘Mobility’ as the title of your email. 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. Thanks for bearing with us.
If you’d like to hire a buggy, you can book online when booking your tickets or on the day of your visit when you arrive. You’re more than welcome to bring your own buggy.
Please note that a refundable deposit will be taken when you collect the item. This area is at its busiest between 10 and 11, and due to the increased sanitisation taking place, we will do our best to help you as quickly as possible
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. We ask visitors to be aware of those around them, and in order to maintain social distancing, it may be beneficial to wait in your vehicle till those around you have left the area.
While we are not asking people to wait in their cars, and don’t plan on doing this, please be mindful of social distancing rules and act to keep yourself and others safe.
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?
Following government guidance in England, you must wear a face covering in ALL indoor spaces at the zoo, including our shops, takeaway food outlets and animal houses (with the exception of children under 11 years and those with medical or other exemptions).
For the health of our animals, you must also wear a face covering when visiting our lemur walk through experience. This applies to all visitors excluding children under 3 when carried by an adult. This is a specific request from our animal experts who are taking similar precautions when in close contact with these animals.
Will the animal houses and walk through exhibits be open?
We’ve reopened more of our indoor animal habitats. So you can now visit the Tropical Realm, Realm of the Red Ape, jaguar and monkey houses, plus Dragons in Danger, Lemur Walkthrough and the Giraffe and Butterfly house. You can also access the Tsavo aviary, Tsavo rhino house , Giraffes & Okapi, Plant Project, Parrot Breeding Centre, Bali Starling Aviary and the Sumatran Aviary by Tigers.
The Aquarium and Chimp house will both be open Monday – Friday, but will be closed on weekends.
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 don’t arrange to meet in groups of more than 6 people..
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 do not meet with more than 6 people and follow the latest government guidelines.
I’m a coach operator – can I book to bring a coach party?
Please get in touch with our groups and travel trade team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Is The Lanterns going ahead this Christmas?
The Lanterns at Chester Zoo is back for another MAGICAL year, and is set to be more enchanting than ever.
We’ve carefully planned this year’s event to keep you safe, but we’re sure you’ll have the same memorable Chester Zoo experience.
Tickets for the event have been selling fast and we’re now almost fully booked. We’ll be looking at ways that we might be able to release more tickets for the event so please keep checking back.
We just ask that you don’t meet with people outside of your household in groups of more than 6 people when visiting The Lanterns. Thanks!
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!
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.
From 14 September members can arrive at the zoo on weekdays (Monday – Friday) during usual opening hours without booking.
Members still need to book at the weekends in October (Saturday and Sunday) and during October half term (24 October – 1 November).
From 2 November members do not need to book for any date except the Christmas holidays (19 December – 3 January). We will release member tickets for the Christmas holidays in November.
Please don’t arrange to meet in a group of more than 6 people.
Please check our website before your visit as changes to our booking arrangements may need to change at short notice.
Thank you for your understanding and for your incredible, unwavering support – it’s hugely appreciated.
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 at weekends and during school holidays. . You won’t be asked to pay anything extra on top of your normal membership fee, but we need you to book during busy times so we can manage the number of visitors each day and keep the zoo a safe space for everyone.
Will members’ days go ahead?
We have taken the difficult decision to cancel the remaining Member’s Days in 2020. As yet we have no confirmed plans for our Members Days in 2021 but we are hopefully to be able to relaunch as soon as we can, with something new and exciting!
For the safety of our members, guests and staff we have had to reduce the visitor capacity significantly since we re-opened to ensure social distancing can be followed and visitor numbers can be carefully managed. We are also following the rule of 6 and do ask that people don’t visit us with friends or family from other households. This has meant events such as member’s days simply cannot go ahead and we have had to pull back on discounting any standard tickets.
We are as always, so grateful for our members. Your ongoing support has helped save our zoo and enabled us to reopen our doors, so we do hope that you will choose to continue with your membership. Despite the cancellation of our member’s days, and even though we can’t all meet in person right now, we do have plans for some exciting virtual members events and talks, so make sure you’ve signed up to receive our email updates for the latest information.
We do hope you will be coming to visit us again soon.
Can I visit the membership office?
Yes, our membership office is now open. Please bear with the team who will be managing the numbers of people in the office so that we can keep everyone safe.
I’m a member and can’t log in.
If you haven’t registered an online account before then click here and register.
I’ve tried to register / log in to my account and can’t.
Please email email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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?
Members now only need to book on weekends (Sat & Sun) and during school holidays – which are our busiest times.
This is so ensure that social distancing can be maintained and to adhere to government guidelines.
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.
Can I cancel my booking if I can no longer make the date so other members can book a space?
Yes – if you need to cancel your member ticket please let us know by logging in to your members account, and clicking the VIEW button next to your booking. From here you will be able to cancel your booking.
My child is booked onto a junior member event and we are from an area where there’s a local lockdown. Can they still attend?
It depends where your live so we would recommend that you check your local guidelines. Unless there is an explicit instruction not to travel for ‘non-essential’ reasons we understand that in most areas it is acceptable to travel to visitor attractions. Please check the government website for information on specific restrictions for your local lockdown area.
FOOD AT THE ZOO
Will there be changes to your cafes?
Our cafes and restaurants are slowly reopening with limited seating and takeaway options at June’s Food Court & Manado Street Kitchen. There will be limited indoor seating at June’s Food Court. The Oakfield is also open 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.
Additionally, 10 kiosks can be found around the zoo with Ice Creams, Drinks, Snacks and Hot Dogs, as well as a pop up bar outside the Oakfield (when the weather permits!)
Can I book a table at The Oakfield?
The Oakfield is open, 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.
However, When the weather permits, we do have a pop up bar outside the Oakfield.
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.
- There is a QR code to scan to facilitate the NHS track and trace app.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Please note, the indoor picnic lodge is closed and picnic space is mainly outdoors.
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 email@example.com 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 can’t find my booking confirmation email, how do I get hold of my tickets before I visit the zoo?
You can check your bookings and resend your confirmation email by logging into the account you used to buy / book your tickets here: https://shop.chesterzoo.org/myaccountsummary.aspx Once you’ve logged in you will be able to see a list of your bookings made on that account. View the one you haven’t received a confirmation email for, then on that page you have the option to ‘resend confirmation email’.
I couldn’t make a booking.
We’re so sorry that you have had problems booking. The demand for tickets has been quite overwhelming. 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. You can check your bookings and resend your confirmation and tickets by email. To do this, log into the account you used to buy / book your tickets here. Once you’ve logged in you will be able to see a list of your bookings made on that account. View the one you haven’t receive a confirmation email for, then on that page you have the option to ‘resend confirmation email’.
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 in groups of more than 6 people, per the government guidelines. We’ll be sure to add info on any changes to our website if the latest safety guidelines change.
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. We therefore cannot move booking dates, add extra guests to your booking or transfer a standard ticket to a member ticket or vice versa. In order to manage our visitor numbers and ratios between members and standard visitors we are managing our ticket allocation really carefully. Any additional capacity from returned tickets or unused tickets will be reallocated to that specific category.
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.
If you are a member and would like to cancel a booking you’ve made so that another member can book a space, please log in to your account here, and click the VIEW button next to the booking you’d like to cancel. From there you will be able to cancel your booking.
I’m a member at another zoo can I get in for free?
From the 14 September Chester Zoo members, along with members from other zoos which offer a reciprocal visit, can arrive at the zoo on weekdays (Monday – Friday) during usual opening hours without booking.
However, at the weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and during October half term (24 October – 1 November), as we can experience busy days during the autumn and need to ensure that everyone is able to visit safely, our recently implemented ticket booking system will be in place. This is to help us manage and maintain our numbers and keep our visitors and staff safe. This requires 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 for weekends, and school holidays. For these dates, you are more than welcome to purchase tickets here. We are unsure how long this arrangement will be in place and thank you for your understanding.