Why is Bristol Zoo Gardens closing? Closure date, where animals are going - and can I still get tickets

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The animals currently at the zoo will move to The Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire.

On their 186th anniversary, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex visited the Bristol Zoo ahead of their closure.

Edward is the Royal Patron for Bristol Zoological society, and heard about its plans ahead of the closure in September.

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The zoo is one of the oldest in the UK, and has saved an estimated 175 species of wildlife from extinction due to its conservation programmes.

After welcoming some 90 million visitors since it opened in 1836, the zoo confirmed it would close during the Covid lockdown, with the official closing date confirmed.

So when is Bristol Zoo closing, why, and where will the animals go, and can tickets still be purchased?

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When will Bristol Zoo close?

The zoo, currently located at its current gardens in Clifton will close for good on 3 September 2022, with the animals currently residing at the zoo set to move on to a new location.

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Where is the zoo moving to?

Some of the zoo’s rarest animals, which need conservation action will join the animals at The Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire, owned by the Bristol Zoological Society. These include reptiles, amphibians, birds, and the gorillas.

Some other completely new animals the zoo has never had before will be brought to the new site too.

A new Bristol Zoo is due to open in 2024, and The Wild Place Project will be open to visitors as normal while it’s built.

Can I still purchase tickets?

General admission tickets for the Bristol Zoo are still available to purchase online.

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Simply pick a time when you wish to go and finalise the payment on the website.

Your timed ticket is simply your arrival time, and you are free to stay on site all day, until the park closes at 5pm.

Without adding a donation and at peak times, adults pay £17, tickets for children from ages 2-14 cost £14 and children under 2 plus carers get in free, but must still book their tickets in advance.

Off peak tickets without donations cost £12.75 for adults £9 for children aged 2-14 and again children under the age of 2 and carers get in free.

People over the age of 15 pay as adults at Bristol Zoo.

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Why is Bristol Zoo closing?

The decision to close the zoo and relocate was taken after the second national lockdown, with the zoo having missed out on large sums of money due to dwindling numbers in the spring and summer - a time when zoos are usually at their busiest in the year.

The Society has planned a number of events to be held in the time leading up to the closure, to allow people to share their favourite memories of the site.

Dr Justin Morris, the society’s chief executive said: “Bristol Zoo Gardens is a special place for so many people and we want to give them a chance to come, to see our animals and the gardens and to talk about their memories.”

What will happen to the land?

Plans to build more than 200 homes on the current site, and a public park were revealed late last year, to ‘safe-guard’ the future of the site.

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The process is currently underway to sell all 12 acres of the land, with the subsequent housing to provide a solid income for the new zoo at the Wild Place.

The Charity claims that a fifth of the new homes to be built, will be affordable to those looking to purchase a house, or below the current market rate.

The grounds will still remain open to the general public, free of charge. A conservation hub, an exhibition space, a children’s play area and a lake will feature when the move is completed later this year.

Despite its the dwindling visitor numbers, the zoo has had its fair share of success in the past.

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It was the subject of a weekly BBC show titled ‘Animal Magic’ which ran for 21 years, from 1962 until 1983.

The show featured presenter Johnny Morris, who portrayed the role of a zoo keeper, talking to animals and giving their responses in a hilarious voice-over.

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