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Chester Zoo is consistently voted by visitors as Britain’s top zoo. This is quite an achievement given the competition from other zoos across the country. It is the UK’s most visited paid-for attraction after the Tower of London!
Opened in 1931 by George Mottershead, Chester Zoo is one of the largest in the UK with a total land holding of approximately 400 acres or 160 hectares. With no support from the government in terms of funding, Chester Zoo became a UK charity early on its life.
So what makes Chester Zoo so special?
From its inception, Chester Zoo was designed without any cage style barriers like the early Victorian zoos. As an alternative to iron bars, Chester Zoo uses grass banks, moats and ditches as the principal boundaries to keep humans and zoo animals separated and therefore safe.
Chester Zoo is also a pioneer when it comes to conservation. Over half the species at the zoo appear on IUCN’s Red List with over 15 classified as ‘threatened’. Over 100 further species are protected as part of a captive breeding programme; these include the Jaguar, the black rhinoceros, the Congo buffalo, the Madagascan tree boa and the amazing Rodrigues flying fox!
Approximately 1.5 million people visit the zoo every year
The zoo is home to over 500 species of animal
In total, over 20,000 animals now live at Chester Zoo
A 1 mile (1.5 Km) elevated monorail connects the main areas of the zoo
The zoo has been the focus of several UK TV series helping to boost its popularity
Chester Zoo has ambitious plans for the future. With a forecasted £225 million investment, the zoo’s Natural Vision plan aims to transform Chester Zoo into the largest conservation attraction in Europe. Phase One of the construction project called ‘Islands at Chester Zoo’ was completed in 2017 and extends the zoo’s footprint by creating six island habitats themed on Southeast Asia.
Prices vary depending on the day you visit. Adult prices range from £16.36 to £26.00. Child prices range from £13.18 to £22.00. Family tickets are also available with at least a 16% discount.
Stay In Britain Tips
Paying at the gate is more expensive. Book online to secure discounts of at least 10%. Also, be sure to check the pricing calendar to pinpoint the cheapest days to visit. As a general rule, summer prices are more expensive, as are weekends.