Chester Zoo is one of the top 15 zoos in the world, and it’s home to over 11,000 animals and 400 different species – which include some of the most endangered species on the planet – and is actively involved with animal charities and welfare worldwide. You’ll pack loads of exciting stuff into a day at Chester Zoo – and even then you’ll probably want to come back for the rest!
The animals include more than 400 species of rare, exotic and endangered wildlife. There are world-class enclosures and animal houses which provide the best possible animal welfare as well as a fantastic, up-close experience for visitors. Immerse yourself in the Realm of the Red Ape – an Indonesian forest themed exhibit where visitors can experience the world of the forest canopy and see rare Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans, or take a journey with beautiful, colourful butterfly species from around the world in the UK’s largest zoo-based butterfly house featuring free-flying butterflies and moths in an immersive tropical environment filled with lush plants.
The Asian Plains exhibit paddock is a mixed exhibit featuring the magnificent Greater One-horned Rhinoceros which lives alongside the Brow-antlered Deer and Black Buck – you might even get to see the Rhinos taking a nice sticky mud bath! The state-of-the-art Elephants of the Asian Forest enclosure immerses visitors into an Asian forest and focuses on a celebration of the forest community – and it’s home to not only the magnificent Asian elephants but also other threatened species like monitor lizards and parakeets.
Alternatively, step inside The Fruit Bat Forest and explore the darkness with free-flying bats around you! This special forest is home to three bat species and visitors can travel through the darkened forest with them as they go about their nightly business, deftly avoiding people as they fly. The zoo also plays host to some magnificent jaguars and the excellent enclosure means visitors can experience the Jaguars at home in their different natural habitats.
Aside from the animals there are also 110 acres of award-winning gardens to explore featuring beautiful and exotic plants from around the world, and plenty of play areas for young children to let off some steam to give you the chance to take in the tranquil surroundings. If you’re a keen gardener you can even join the zoo gardening team for the day and get ‘hands on’ to learn more about the fascinating array of exotic plants and – including some of the world’s most rare plants – discover fascinating facts you didn’t know about much-loved common flowers and trees, and learn how you can grow and care for colourful species in your own garden.
There’s always something new happening at Chester Zoo, and there is a daily program of fun and informative daily talks about some of the zoo’s most famous animal occupants – if you’ve ever wanted to know facts like how fast a penguin can swim or how many muscles an elephant has in its trunk these talks are sure to please and increase your animal knowledge! Talks change daily so check the times when you arrive, or alternatively take a look at the zoo’s website before you visit to plan your day using the online talk itinerary.
There are also a multitude of seasonal events for all the family to enjoy such as spooky Halloween fun where you can get to know some of the zoo’s most scary creatures and snack on toffee apples and ghoulish ginger bread – and ‘Lantern Magic’ at Christmas time when you visit the zoo during the night time when the zoo is even more magical, even more sparkly and even more fun. Children can have a go at lantern making with festive characters, sample some of our deliciously tasty treats and can add their Christmas wish to the Giant Wishing Tree before viewing the beautifully crafted animal and visiting Santa.
And what’s more there will soon be an incredible new feature at the zoo – a new Indonesian jungle house called Monsoon Forest is currently under construction and will be revealed in 2015. It will be the largest of its kind in the UK and will feature raised walkways, underwater viewings and free-flight areas, as well as a sub-tropical climate for visitors to experience the true environment of some of the zoo’s most exotic and endangered species including Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques and the sunda gharial crocodile.
Chester Zoo is open daily from 10am almost every day of the year, on site car parking is free and there are fantastic facilities for disabled visitors, including self-drive electric scooters and wheelchairs. The zoo is easily accessible by road, rail, bus and coach.