Bristol Zoo: how to get your tickets as opening hours are extended to meet demand for farewell to historic zoo

Visitor demand has soared ahead of the attraction’s final day on September 3.

Bristol Zoo will allow more visitors to give their final farewells as it prepares to leave its historic Clifton site after 186 years.

An uptick in visiting demand has encouraged the zoo to open an hour earlier at 9am on September 2 and 3, extending its hours.

Bristol Zoological Society, the charity which owns Bristol Zoo Gardens, will create a new Bristol Zoo at its Wild Place Project site, just off Junction 17 of the M5.

A family stroll through Bristol Zoo Gardens in the early 1900s.

The zoo’s head of engagement believes the closure will end ‘a momentous chapter’ in Bristol’s history.

Simon Garrett said: “These last few days will mark a moment in the city’s history.

“Bristol Zoo Gardens has been a staple part of Bristol life for 186 years and recognised globally.

“Thousands of families will have memories dating back decades. For many the Zoo has been a significant part of their life.

“This week marks the end of a momentous chapter. In recognition of that, we want to give as many people as possible the chance to say their goodbyes before the gates close.”

More than 90million visitors have enjoyed the 12-acre plot which has housed a variety of animals and been praised for its conservation breeding programmes.

Some of its famous occupants, including the lions, penguins and seals will start moving onto their future homes once the Zoo has closed to the public.

Others, such as the gorillas and red pandas, will stay at Bristol Zoo Gardens until their enclosures are built at the Wild Place Project site.

Gorillas Touni and Juni.

One of the zoo’s, and Bristol’s, most-famed residents was Alfred the gorilla.

Alfred was the country’s only gorilla in capativitity when he was brought to Bristol Zoo in 1930 and spent 18 years in the city.

His taxidermic form stands today in the Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

All visitors wishing to say goodbye to the world’s fifth oldest zoo are advised to pre-book tickets as there is no guarantee that non-ticket holders will be able to gain entry to the site.

To pre-book tickets visit www.bristolzoo.org.uk/online-booking.

Bristol Zoo will close at 5.30pm on September 3.