We’re the UK’s most visited tourist attraction outside London and the country’s most popular zoo, and we’re also both a conservation and an education charity with an aim to conserve the living world.
The planet is facing an extinction crisis with large numbers of species are 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.
We’ve got an army of field conservationists fighting back, working with partners to deliver more than 80 vital projects in 30 countries worldwide, while at home in Cheshire we’re 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 we have supported 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, our ability to shape a generation of conservationists is significant.
Our major Safari Ranger outreach programme already delivers free sessions to schools throughout the north west of England and north Wales. Some of our expert staff 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 us with their schools from November to February will visit for free.
Charlotte Smith, Head of Discovery and Learning, 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.
We ask school groups to pre-book, with a maximum capacity of bookings per day to avoid overcrowding and ensure every child and visitor is able to enjoy world class experience.