Chester Zoo is open daily from 10am (9:30am during Easter holidays) except for Christmas and Boxing Days.
Closing times vary throughout the year (typically 4pm - 6pm), see zoo's website for details. Last admission is 1 hour before closure.
Peak Season (5 April-2 November):
Children (aged 3-15)
Children under 3:
Family (2 + 2)
Low Season (3 Nov-31 Dec):
Children under 3:
Family (2 + 2)
The Waterbus and Monorail are subject to additional charges:
One carer admitted free per disabled visitor.
Tickets bought online in advance allow the use of a dedicated gate at the main entrance, bypassing the regular queue.
Online discounts and group rates also available; see zoo's website for details
Chester Zoo has been voted the `Best Large Tourist Attraction for 2006' and offers in excess of 7000 individual animals, of over 400 different species, and award-winning gardens. The Zoo covers an area of 100 acres and is internationally known for its innovative enclosure designs and its many breeding successes. The collection is particularly strong on rare and endangered species. With so many animals on show, it is only possible to include a few highlights in this description.
The Tsavo Black Rhino Experience is designed to provide natural surroundings for the Zoo's group of seven Black Rhinos, a species that is critically endangered in the wild. The Zoo has had much success with breeding these animals.
The Twilight Zone allows visitors to walk through a darkened forest among two species of fruit-eating bats. There are around 60 of the highly endangered Rodrigues Fruit Bats, from Rodrigues Island of Mauritius (in the 1970's there wild population numbered in the seventies), and over 200 Seba's Bats from the tropical forests of central and south America. Also within the Twilight Zone are tanks containing Turkish Spiny Mice, and Madagascan Giant Hissing Cockroaches.
The Spirit of the Jaguar houses the Zoo's three Jaguars, one of them black. Claimed to be the biggest and best Jaguar enclosure in the world, it is divided into two sections to show the Jaguar's different habitats with appropriate landscaping and planting - savannah and rainforest.
Stars of the Islands in Danger feature are the three Komodo Dragons. Believed to be the most intelligent of reptiles, these large lizards come from a few small islands in Indonesia. Hot rocks are placed near the public viewing windows to encourage them to bask in full view. Other rare island species in the Islands in Danger feature include Red Birds of Paradise, Pheasant Pigeons, St. Lucia Amazon Parrots, and Socorro Doves, which are extinct in the wild.
A series of informative talks is given at intervals throughout the day beside several of the animal enclosures. The early afternoon sea lions talk also includes a feeding display. Full details are given on the Zoo's website.
A Monorail train runs around the Zoo, between two stations located near the main and pedestrian entrances. Tickets are valid for two journeys, and passengers must disembark at the next station. A complete circuit must therefore be done in two stages. A Water Bus also runs along some of the lakes and waterways in the Zoo, and offers a different view of some of the enclosures. This service runs from Easter to Autumn, and only at weekends during quieter periods. The Monorail is fully wheelchair accessible, but the Water Bus is not.
Chester Zoo was founded in 1934 and is run by the North of England Zoological Society, a registered charity. It receives no government funding.
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The Ark Restaurant
Oakfield House Tea Room and Restaurant
The Acorn Bar
Indoor and Outdoor Picnic Areas.
Children's Fun Ark
Face and Pottery Painting Studios
Baby changing facilities
Wheelchair and Electric Scooters for Hire for free, but a £10 refundable deposit is required. The Zoo is completely wheelchair accessible.
Assistance dogs are welcome at the Zoo, but such visitors are requested to avoid the monkey, chimpanzee, and elephant enclosures.
Disabled toilets, First Aid Centre.
Cash Machine, public telephones, first aid and lost children
Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult
Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fish, Invertebrates
Note: The animal pictures on this page are merely representative of this type of attraction; they do not mean that the animals can be found at this specific attraction.
New for 2010: Giant Otters, Giant Anteaters and African Painted Dogs.
Black Rhinos, Jaguars, Tigers, Lions, Chimpanzees, Orang Utans, Elephants, Giraffes, Komodo Dragons
New for 2009: Tsavo National Park Bird Safari walkthrough outdoor aviary featuring a wide variety of ground, water and other birds.
New for 2009: Butterfly Journey, the largest zoo-based butterfly house in the UK.
Tsavo Black Rhino Experience
Realm of the Red Ape
Twilight Zone Bat Cave
Rare Parrot Breeding Centre
Tropical Realm (Reptiles & Birds)
Monorail & Water Bus (at a small additional charge) and gift shop.
Keeper for the day.
Weddings, birthdays, private parties, safari evenings, naming ceremonies and conferences: see the main website (above) for details.
How To Get There:
Follow the brown Chester Zoo signs from M56, Junction 14 or Junction 12 on the M53. The Zoo is also clearly signed on the A41 Chester road.
Note: If you are using a postcode-driven satnav system, the postcode above appears to apply to the pedestrian/deliveries entrance to the zoo. The car park and main entrance is at the other end of the zoo. When you get close to the zoo (on the A41), follow the signs, not your satnav system.
From the M6 (junction 20):
At junction 20, take the M56 west towards Chester and Birkenhead. Continue to junction 15, then turn left onto M53. Continue south to junction 12. Turn right onto A56 towards Chester city centre, then right again at next roundabout onto A41. Chester Zoo will then be on the right at a roundabout, after about 2 miles.
From Birkenhead (and Liverpool via Mersey Tunnel):
Take the M53 south towards Chester. Either continue to junction 12 as described above (from M6), or leave at junction 10, then turn right onto A5117. After about 1.5 miles, turn left at roundabout onto A5032 towards Chester. After about 1 mile, merge south onto the A41. Chester Zoo will then be on the left at the next roundabout, after about 1.5 miles.
From North Wales coast:
Follow the A55 to Chester. Continue around Chester on A55 until it becomes the M53. Turn left here (M53 J12) onto A56, then right at next roundabout onto A41, and continue to Chester Zoo as described above (from M6).
From Welshpool (and Welsh Border):
Follow the A483 (and A5) north past Oswestry and Wrexham towards Chester. Turn right onto the A55 and continue to M53 J2 and the Zoo as described above (from North Wales coast).
From Telford (direct route):
Follow the A442 north towards Whitchurch. Turn left onto the A41 and continue around Whitchurch and on to Chester. Continue on A41 around Chester, and the Zoo will be on the right at a roundabout, about 2 miles after crossing the A56.
By Public Transport
From Chester Main Line Station:
During the summer holiday period (18 July - 30 August) a free shuttle bus will operate at least once an hour (9:30am - 6:30pm daily) to take rail passengers direct to the zoo. See the zoo's website for further details.
Take taxi (app. 2 miles), or bus to Town Hall bus exchange. Then Mon - Sat, First Crosville number 1 half hourly to main entrance, or number 4, half hourly to pedestrian entrance. Bank Hols, #1 only. Sundays and Bank Hols, Arriva #411, #412 to main entrance.
From Merseyrail Bache Station:
First Crosville #1, (Mon - Sat and Bank Hols) from Mill Lane, or Arriva (Sun and Bank Hols only) #411, #412 from Liverpool Road. All Arriva Trains Merseyside manned stations sell combined rail/bus/zoo tickets.
From Rivacre, Ellesmere Port and Cheshire Oaks:
First Crosville #4, half hourly to Pedestrian Entrance (Mon - Sat).
From Liverpool, Birkenhead and Ellesmere Port:
First Crosville #1 half hourly to Main Entrance (Mon - Sat), Arriva #411, #412 half hourly to Main Entrance (Sun and Bank Hols).
Data on this page last updated: Apr 13 2014