Tel: 01244 380 280
About Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo is located on Caughall Road, Upton, Chester, and is an internationally-renowned Zoological Garden opened in 1931. The UK’s largest zoo, at 111 acres (with another 300 in reserve), it is the subject of an ongoing Channel 5 TV series and makes for a superb family day out.
The family attraction is a conservation charity and provides educational information and talks, but the emphasis is on a splendid family day out, a ticket to Chester Zoo ganing access to over 400 species and more than 7000 animals, as well as award-winning gardens. Just the ticket for either an action-packed or relaxing family day out.
Highlights of Chester Zoo’s family day out include Elephants of the Asian Forest, with Chester the first UK zoo to successfully breed Asian elephants. Indeed, there’s a breeding herd of 10 present, while The Elephant House also shelters African Elephants, Rhinoceros, pygmy Hippos and Tapirs.
Chester Zoo’s Spirit of the Jaguar features a rainforest, savannah, rivers and pools, and five jaguars. The Realm of the Red Ape adjacent to the orangutan house, with its Bornean and Sumatran orangutans, is a two-storey building with three indoor and two outdoor enclosures that can be observed from a public gallery and from the outside. Inside are gibbons, Phillipines crocodiles, emerald and mangrove monitors, pythons, orb-weaving spiders and king rattle-snakes.
The Chester Zoo Chimpanzee Breeding Centre’s 30 chimpanzees are the largest colony of chimps in Europe. Living in the Roundhouse on an island, there’s a climbing frame, platforms and seven dens where the cheeky chimps entertain their guests!
Nearby, the Monkey Islands house Colombian black spider monkeys, mandrills, macaques and guenons in glass-fronted enclosures with climbing frames and a moated outdoor area. Miniature Monkeys comprises two walk-through enclosures, with tamarins and marmosets.
For those seeking endangered species (and half of Chester Zoo’s residents are, as are 80% of the mammals), worth the price of the ticket alone is the Tsavo Rhino Experience. It displays seven black rhino fashioned after the Kenyan reserve and breeding programme, with paddocks also containing meerkats, red lechwe, mongoose and warthog.
Another dimension to the family attraction is added via the three species of bat in the Twilight Zone Bat Cave – the largest in Europe. No guano, Batman!
A family day out at the zoo should also take in Bears of the Cloud Forest, which features spectacled bears amid trees and rocks, along with nearby pens for vicuña, guanaco, capybara, tapirs and rheas. Chester Zoo’s Islands In Danger features Komodo dragons in an outdoor enclosure, including a litter produced from a virgin birth in 2007, and Red birds of paradise. Nearby is the Secret World of the Okapi and the Children’s Farm with goats, rabbits, pigs, sheep, guinea pigs and poultry.
Marmot Mania has tunnels that allow children to crawl in and emerge in plastic viewing domes. An equally fun element of the family attraction is the Sea Lion Beach and Penguins with their sandy run, and the Humboldt penguin pool, where the flightless fellas always entertain. Worth the ticket alone!
The Tropical Realm at over 26,000 cubic metres is Britain’s largest tropical house and boasts pathways around pools and tropical plants, as well as over 30 species of birds in aviaries on two levels. Among them are turaco, shama, oriole and curassow. The reptile collection features West African dwarf crocodiles, Maori tuatara, anaconda, boa constrictor, cobra, mamba, iguana, gila monster, caiman and gecko. The family attraction also has Galápagos, Egyptian and other tortoises, and ten types of frog, including poison dart.
Europe on the Edge features European birds, including vulture, stork, spoonbill, ibis and chough. Condor Cliffs houses Andean condors, and the Rare Parrot Breeding Centre has many cockatoos and macaws.
Chester Zoo’s Aquarium has freshwater and sea creatures, from electric eel and African lungfish, to Lake Malawi cichlids and axolotl. Another reason the family attraction takes a splash!
The Asian Plains and Paddocks zone of the family attraction features blackbuck and barasingha, Ankole Cattle and Sitatunga, while elsewhere are sitatunga, oryx, gemsbok, ostrich, emus and wallabies.
The Forest Zone has buffalo, wart pigs, giraffes, capuchins and wolves, while Lions and Tigers is a big cat collection featuring jaguars, breeding lions and Sumatran and Bengal tigers.
Elsewhere, Chester Zoo has Bactrian camel, onager, bongos, pudú, bush dogs, red pandas, Asian small-clawed otters, Snowy Owls, Mauritius kestrels, flamingos, coati, barbirusa, okapi, anoa, onager, lorikeet, Omani blind cave fish, Denison’s Barb, Australian lungfish, Banggai Cardinal fish, seahorses, corals, orchid mantis, cacti, and even Isle Of Man cabbage. So there’s something for everyone at this variegated family attraction, ensuring a wonderful all-year round family day out.
Additionally, Chester Zoo possesses many stunning gardens, with bedding displays of herbaceous plants, over 1000 orchids from over 400 species that are cultivated in the Garden Nursery, and a National Collection of Plerothallidinae. Further, there are 2000 trees on site, adding to the restive ambience of the family attraction, while the V.I.P. (Very Important Plant) border opposite the Lion enclosure features plants used by man for medicines, cosmetics, drinks, fibres, flavourings and dyes.
Chester Zoo’s numerous canals, moats and ponds teem with water plants and animals, while the Grass garden, which is 70 metres long by 30 metres wide, is divided into five sections showcasing grass species of major importance to humans: economic crops, bamboo, turfs, sand dunes and ornamental. The whole garden area is landscaped with a boardwalk running along the canal, interpretation boards, and boulders, a central seating area and thatched wooden roundhouse that afford a tranquil stop for ticket holders.
The Roman Garden reproduces the architecture and plants grown by the Romans during their occupation of Deva (Chester), c. 200 AD – a medicinal garden, rustic garden with herbs, fruit trees, flax and woad, and ornamental fountains, pools, beds enclosed by clipped hedges, lavender, rosemary, and pergolas with ivy, vines, hops and wild roses.
Chester Zoo’s Wildlife Garden has a compost heap, logs, wild flowers, a pond, bird and bat boxes, bird feeders, a shed, a herbaceous border, and vegetables, and was opened in 2007 by TV’s Bill Oddie.
Ticket holders can travel around Chester Zoo via the Zoofari Railway monorail and water buses on the canals, while the Tsavo Café, Ark restaurant, Oakfield Restaurant in the Victorian near the lion enclosure, and Acorn Bar, make for a family attraction with plenty of options. The facilities can also be booked for private functions, Oakfield Manor’s Library, with its original panelled ceiling and windows, being ideal for meetings.
Chester Zoo’s Safari Evenings take place for private parties who are guided on an informative tour visiting animal enclosures and meeting the Keepers. With children’s play areas like the Fun Ark, shops, kiosks, several picnic lawns and free parking, Chester Zoo offers a grand family day out, and with disabled facilities, it’s a family attraction everyone can revel in.