School children to visit Chester Zoo for free
Update: We have had an overwhelming response since releasing this news and our free school visits offer is now fully booked.
Chester Zoo will make school visits free from November to February this year, as part of a bid to inspire a generation of conservationists.
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 with a remit to conserve the living world.
The planet is facing an extinction crisis with large numbers of species under significant threat of extinction, including rhinos and elephants, frogs, birds and more.
Even closer to home, there are widespread problems. The hedgehog appears to be declining in the UK at the same rate as tigers are globally, three bumblebee species have already gone extinct and one in five of Britain’s wildflowers is threatened with nationwide extinction.
An army of field conservationists from the zoo are fighting back, working with partners to deliveri more than 80 vital projects in 30 countries worldwide, while at home in Cheshire the zoo is a world leader in breeding endangered species. Yet the challenges facing the planet are so great that they require widespread public engagement if they are to be successfully overcome.
A recent scientific study, supported by the zoo and published, confirms that people have significantly better understanding of biodiversity and conservation after a visit to a zoo than before their visit.
With 1.9m visitors per year and more than 100,000 people taking part in organised educational trips, Chester Zoo’s ability to shape a generation of conservationists is significant.
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.
Now, school children visiting the zoo with their schools from November to February will visit for free.
Charlotte Smith, Head of Discovery and Learning at Chester Zoo, said:
Conservation is critical and now is the time to act for wildlife. We won’t stand back. We know that visiting a zoo improves people’s understanding of biodersity and the living world. We want to encourage as many school children through our gates as possible. It could be the key to protecting the living world around us.
School groups are asked to pre-book, with a maximum capacity of bookings per day to avoid overcrowding and ensure every child and visitor is able to enjoy a world class experience.