It would be totally possible to sum up Chester Zoo in word one:
But, well, that’s not overly helpful is it. So I shall give you a bit more information about our day out.
We visited Chester Zoo on a busy Thursday in the school holidays. Parking at the zoo is free and plentiful and we managed to park near the entrance.
Tip 1: Pre-book your tickets online.
The zoo was busy when we visited and there was a long queue to buy tickets ‘on the door’. As we had pre-booked online, we managed to go straight to the turnstiles where an exceptionally pleasant member of staff took our order number and we were in!
We paid £44 for 5 of us to visit the zoo. Including a donation to the conservation work of the zoo, an Adult ticket is £22, a Child £18 with under 3s going for free. As we attended with a disabled guest, a carer can accompany them for free.
As you walk through the turnstiles, there is a cafe/restaurant, toilets and a lovely view of the elephant enclosure. There are also walk-around photographers who take a photo that you can purchase when you leave (should you wish).
Tip 2: plan your route.
We were given a map when we entered the zoo and I put it at the bottom of the pram. BIG mistake. I wish now, in hindsight, we had looked at it and planned a route so that we could see more of the animals as we did wander around slightly aimlessly at times. However, we did always try and keep left. I thought that way we would get round eventually.
Our first stop was the elephants. And quite frankly, I could have spent all day there just watching them! E was just absolutely fascinated by them.
I could tell you about all of the exhibits we saw, but it would be war and peace rather than a blog. Safe to say, all of the enclosures appear to be designed so well and are very specific to the animals inside. They are clean and the animals all look content and happy. There were a few enclosure under construction but these were very few and far between. We saw all of the animals. None appeared to be hiding or ‘staying out of the way’ as at some zoos we’ve been too.
Tip 3: Take a picnic
Well you don’t have too, but I did find the food onsite quite expensive. You can get picnics there (prices range from £6 – £15 per person) and for a family of 4 to eat burger and chips was around £25. There are however lots of lovely picnic areas, all of which overlook exhibits. E loved eating her picnic looking at the monkeys. There are lots of places to grab a coffee, drink or ice cream at various points but again, a bit expensive.
By far, my favourite thing from the zoo though was our handprint print. I just fell in love with it. Around the tigers area there were lots of activities to do and the handprints were being done there.
The print cost £40 fully mounted and framed. (It would have been £24 without as each handprint is £6). They do an array of different animals but I just loved the elephants holding their tails. Families stick together. The staff were fantastic, especially with G who was so small. The artwork was ready to pick up in an hour and has pride of place on our wall.
And so after 6 wonderful hours, and only 3/4 of the zoo covered it was time to go home. There is a monorail and a riverboat ride at the zoo which are available at an extra cost but we chose not to do these as the queues were quite long and we took a very impatient 20 month old.
- Wear comfy shoes – your feet will thank you in the long run
- If going with smaller people, take the pushchair. E insisted that she wanted to walk but it would have been far too far. It was great having the pushchair she could just jump in and out of when tired. You can hire them on site but these do go quite quickly
To sum up, Chester Zoo is a fantastic family day out and we will definitely be back!
All of the words, opinions and pictures above are my own. All prices and information given relating to the zoo were correct at time of publishing. Up to date information on admission prices, opening times and facilities can be found on the Chester Zoo website. This is not a paid or sponsored post, just an honest review of a family day out.