Chester Zoo | Kidadl

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  • Visit Chester Zoo for a wild day out, with thousands of amazing animals living in this wildlife park in northwest England.
  • Discover the incredible creatures who call this park home, including some of the world’s most endangered species.
  • Get involved and learn more about the zoo through one of their many events.
  • Have fun at one of the zoo’s play areas, which are designed to let kids experience movement like one of the zoo’s animal residents.

Chester Zoo is a brilliant place to visit with your family; the zoo’s incredible collection of animals are certain to create an unforgettable experience. With 35,000 animals living in the zoo’s 130 acres of enclosures, Chester Zoo attracts over 2 million visitors every year. The zoo opened in 1931 and is run by the North of England Zoological Society.

Chester Zoo is one of the most interesting things to do in Cheshire. The zoo stands out as a global leader in conservation efforts, and is consistently seen as one of the best zoos in the UK. They run many different conservation projects aimed at tackling extinction. If you’re looking for exciting animal parks in Cheshire, the zoo is a great choice for a fun and educational day out seeing some of the most spectacular animals in the world.

One of the families of animals that make their home at Chester Zoo are the brilliant chimpanzees. These incredible primates are our closest living relatives, sharing 98% of their DNA with us humans! They live in large social groups and are very clever animals; able to use tools and communicate with each other. 

The only place in the wild that you’ll find Asiatic lions are the Gir Forest in India, so a trip to Chester Zoo to see the zoo’s family of Asiatic lions is a very unique experience. The zoo does important conservation work in keeping these animals around, and their enclosure mimics the jungle habitat of their Indian home very closely. 

Herd of elephants eating and enjoying the mud.

Another incredible species that calls the zoo home are the Asian elephants. These magnificent creatures are intelligent and sociable, and can be found in the wild in India and other parts of southeast Asia. Asian elephants are slightly smaller than their African cousins, but can still grow to a gigantic 12 feet and weigh more than 5,000 kilograms! 

Animals aren’t the only living attractions at Chester Zoo. The zoo also has a large collection of diverse plant life from all across the world. There are ten different gardens to explore at the zoo, each with their own theme and special features. The gardens are also important for the zoo’s local wildlife, as they attract different kinds of animals and insects, keeping the zoo fresh and fun.

Many of the animals leap, fly, and jump to get around the place, and kids can imagine what life is like with these methods of movement by playing at one of the zoo’s play areas, which are designed to mimic the movement of some of the zoo’s residents. The Madagascar play area creates an environment that could be mistaken for the tropical African island, where kids can leap about like the animals that call Madagascar home. The Ape Around playground is perfect for children aged between three and five, with climbing frames, rope bridges, and slides. 

There’s also the Wildlife Wood, which was inspired by the brilliant and beautiful wildlife that can be found in our very own British woods and forests. For adventurous visitors, the Treetop Challenge is a chance to fly through the trees. Attached to a harness, kids make their way across the obstacle course, with zip lines and rope walls. The course is the biggest of its kind in the UK and is aimed at kids aged between two and seven.

Chester Zoo hosts tons of great events throughout the year, which are a great way for families to get involved and learn more about how the zoo works and about the animals that live there. Keeper talks and zoo tours take place regularly and are a brilliant chance to discover incredible facts about the animals at the zoo. There are loads of fun events for kids, including the opportunity to be a junior ranger for the day.

What to know before you go

  • The zoo opens at 10am each day. The closing time varies throughout the year, with the zoo open until 6pm during the summer months but closing at 3pm in the height of winter.
  • The zoo has loads of great options for places to eat and drink. The Oakfield is a contemporary British pub in the heart of the zoo, where you can enjoy a delicious meal after a day spent exploring the safari zoo. There’s also the Jaguar Coffee House, which sells hot and cold drinks, cakes, and sandwiches. June’s Food Court is home to a bunch of foodie family favourites, such as burgers and fish and chips.
  • Manado Street Kitchen specialises in delicious food from southeast Asia, and Bembe Kitchen is a great place for a lovely breakfast before you begin your day out. There are also many food and drink kiosks dotted around the zoo, which are a great place to grab a snack or a drink while you explore.
  • There are plenty of toilet facilities at the zoo, with accessible toilets available, and baby-changing facilities that you can use.
  • The zoo is wheelchair and buggy friendly. You can also book a wheelchair or a buggy by emailing the zoo ahead of your visit, although these are subject to availability.

Getting there

  • Chester Zoo is only a 35-minute drive from Liverpool and a 50-minute drive from Manchester. You can reach it by the M56 and the A41, where there are plenty of roadside signs to guide you to the zoo.
  • There is lots of parking available at the zoo, and all parking is free of charge.
  • The zoo is also accessible by public transport too. Bache train station is a 15-minute bus ride away, and Chester train station is a 20-minute bus ride away. The 1 Gold bus takes you to the zoo’s entrance from either train station.

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