Chester Zoo: The Ultimate Guide for Visiting Chester Zoo
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Chester Zoo Chester Zoo

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Contact:  01244380280 Address: Chester
Contact:  01244380280 Address: Chester
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The Ultimate Guide to Chester Zoo

Stop lion-around and hippo-hop to Chester Zoo, where you can see over 35,000 animals from around the world! This guide will take you through everything you need to know when planning your visit. View ticket prices and admissions, see how to get to Chester Zoo, find places to stay and much more.

Chester Zoo tickets and discounts | Getting to Chester Zoo | Places to stay | Animals at Chester Zoo | Gardens and Plants | Experiences at Chester Zoo | Restaurants and Shops | More about Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo tickets and discounts

By booking your Chester Zoo tickets in advance, you can beat the queues with fast-track admissions and secure great discounts online compared to purchasing them on the day and at the gate. Online ticket prices vary from £2.27 (for children between one and two) to £30 (for adults). Children under the age of 12 months have free admission to the zoo throughout the year.

Whether you purchase tickets online or at the gate, you can also opt for a donation. As Chester Zoo is a not-for-profit organisation, all donations go directly to preserving the conservation work at the zoo and protecting local and global wildlife and their habitats from extinction.

If you’re a frequent visitor of Chester Zoo, why not purchase a membership? Prices vary from free (for those under two) to £105 annually. Depending on your payment style and renewal method, you can also receive a discount on your Chester Zoo membership.

Exploring the zoo is much more fun with others. If you book for 15 people or more, you can get exclusive group discounts on Chester Zoo tickets. For group admissions, prices vary between free and £21.

Click here for more information on Chester Zoo admission.

Getting to Chester Zoo

zoo sign

Chester Zoo is located in Chester, Cheshire, England. It’s incredibly simple to get to via public transport and car.

How to get to Chester Zoo by car?

If you’re driving to Chester Zoo, follow the signs to Chester. As the zoo is not far from Chester city centre or the M56, you can easily navigate your way to the zoo using the brown tourist signs.

Once you reach the A41, your navigation system might get confused - DO NOT turn on Flag Lane North, as this is a dead end. Instead, you should stay on the road until you reach a roundabout with clear directions to Chester Zoo and follow your way around to the car park.

Chester Zoo has free parking on-site, and you’ll find charging ports for electric cars. Click here for more information on parking.

Estimated drive times:

  • Liverpool: 35 minutes
  • Manchester: 50 minutes
  • Birmingham: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • Sheffield: 1 hour and 40 minutes
  • Newcastle: 2 hours and 50 minutes
  • Cardiff: 3 hours and 10 minutes
  • London: 3 hours and 30 minutes
  • Glasgow: 3 hours and 40 minutes
  • Edinburgh: 4 hours

How to get to Chester Zoo by public transport?

Getting to Chester Zoo by train or bus is straightforward. There are two main train stations near Chester Zoo: Bache train station and Chester station.

Bache train station is 1.6 miles away from Chester Zoo. Once you get off at this station, you can cycle to the zoo or catch the 26 bus and the X1. This journey takes approximately 20 minutes, and the X1 bus takes you right outside the Chester Zoo entrance.

A more preferred train station is Chester station. This is 3.7 miles away from Chester Zoo, but it has direct connections to many large cities across England, including Liverpool, Manchester, Wales and London. Once you’ve reached Chester Station, you can opt to cycle to the zoo or catch the X1 bus, which takes you directly outside Chester Zoo. This bus journey takes approximately 18 minutes.

For more information on ticket prices for trains to Chester Zoo, check out Trainline. You can also click here for more information on Chester bus services and their timetables.

Places to stay whilst visiting Chester Zoo

If you’re travelling from afar and need a place to rest, either before or after your fun day out at Chester Zoo, check out our brilliant campsites in Chester.

Our popular Delamere Forest Club Site is just 22 minutes away from Chester Zoo, and it’s a great place to pitch up. The campsite is family-friendly, has dedicated accessible facilities, and welcomes pets. You’ll also find that our Delamere Forest Club Site has several pitch types, including grass-only and hardstanding pitches with electric hookups.

If you want to avoid driving to Chester Zoo after pitching up, then you can leave your belongings at the campsite and travel to the zoo via public transport – A train station is adjacent to the campsite, and a bus stop is nearby.

If you’re a member of the Camping and Caravanning Club, you can also check out our exclusive member-only campsites near Chester Zoo.

What animals are at Chester Zoo?

elephants in Chester Zoo

At Chester Zoo, you’ll get to meet over 35,000 animals from different corners of the globe. Some of the popular animals include:

Asian elephant:

Smaller than their African cousins, Asian elephants are very intelligent and social. They live together, and they’re often led by the oldest female. These Asian elephants are endangered creatures that live in forests and grassy terrains of India and Southern Asia. A fun fact about these gentle animals is that they spend almost two-thirds of their day eating grass, tree bark, roots and leaves. In fact, they can eat up to 200kg worth of food a day!

Black rhino

Black rhinos are a critically endangered species. They can live in several habitats, including wooded grasslands, savannas and deserts in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. These herbivores have an impeccable sense of smell, and they can reach speeds of 60kmph! Unfortunately, only 700 black rhinos are left in this world as they’re victims of poachers, but Chester Zoo is working with rhino rangers to fight for the survival of eastern black rhinos.

Bornean orangutan

Another critically endangered animal is the Bornean Orangutan. These magnificent creatures can live in the wild for 40 years. They’re native to the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia, and they share 97% of our DNA!


The cheetahs at Chester Zoo are native to Africa and Iran. As you know, they’re the fastest land animals on the planet, but did you know that they use their tails to help them turn? They can run up to 70 mph and spot their prey from 500m away.


Giraffes are nature's gentle giants that live in the savannas of Africa, where they roam freely on open plains. Their necks can be as long as 2 metres, and their tongues can be as long as 45cm. Some fascinating facts about giraffes are that their dark tongs protect them from sunburn and no two giraffes' coats are the same. Just like humans have different fingerprints, giraffes have unique patterns.


Although they may not be the king of the jungle, jaguars have the most powerful bite out of all their big cat family and are the most aquatic cat. They’re the third largest cat after the lion and tiger, and they’re incredibly independent. Did you know that jaguars can be yellow with black spots or look black all over? That’s right, there is no such species as a black panther. It’s just a jaguar with dark colour genetic mutations known as melanism.


You can't visit Chester Zoo without saying ‘hi’ to the king of the jungle. These beautiful carnivores live in the Gir Forest in India. If you don't spot them, you’ll surely be able to hear them, as their roar can be heard up to five miles away. Unfortunately, these Asiatic lions are endangered, and only 350 of them are left in the wild.

Other animals to see at Chester Zoo include:

  • Aardvank
  • African painted dog
  • Andean bear
  • Asian short-clawed otter
  • Babirusa
  • Banteng
  • Black lemur
  • Bush dogs
  • Capybara
  • Flamingos
  • Chimpanzee
  • Congo buffalo
  • Cheetah
  • Meerkat
  • Penguins
  • Red panda
  • Sifaka
  • Sumatran orangutan
  • Tiger
  • Kangaroo
  • Zebra

At Chester Zoo, you’ll also find a wide selection of birds, including the rhinoceros hornbill, scarlet ibis, javan green magpie, hyacinth macaws and many more.

Click here for a full list of all the animals at Chester Zoo.

Plants and gardens at Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo Garden

Escape the noise and head down to the tranquill gardens at Chester Zoo. You’ll come across a wide range of plants and hidden gems scattered all around.

Chester Zoo is home to five National Plant Collections, including:

  • Nepenthes National Plant Collection: These flesh-eating plants are found across South East Asia. Although it was thought that they just ate insects, you might see frogs, lizards or other animals inside. There are 160 known species of nepenthes, and although these plants are close to extinction, Chester Zoo looks after 130 different species of nepenthes – the largest collection of carnivorous plants in the UK.
  • Orchids National Plant Collection: Another popular national plant originating from South America is orchids. You can find 700 different types of orchids at Chester Zoo.
  • Cacti National Plant Collection: Don’t get too close to these prickly plants. Although they may seem scary at first, they bloom beautiful flowers. There are three different species of cacti at Chester Zoo, including Copiapoa, Matucana and Turbinicarpus.

You’ll also find breathtaking gardens around Chester Zoo. Some include:

  • Sunken Garden: A secret garden located away from the zoo. It’s the perfect place to feel inspired, relax and take in the many different plants and trees.
  • Rock Garden: Melt your worries away at this ‘zen’ garden. You’ll find a beautiful waterfall feature, pond, rippling streams and colourful plants.
  • Bee Garden: With bees disappearing rapidly, Chester Zoo has created a space where they can have plenty of food, nest and hibernate.
  • Enrichment Garden: To ensure animals grow up healthy and with the proper nutrients, Chester Zoo has an Enrichment Garden which grows herbs, flowers, leaves and fruit that the animals can consume at the zoo.

Experience at Chester Zoo

Spend koala-ty time with some of the animals at Chester Zoo by booking a memorable zoo experience. You’ll get closer to the magnificent animals and plants and get the inside scoop from the animal experts.

Experiences include:

  • Keeper For a Day: Hang out with the zookeepers and get the chance to experience a day in the life. You’ll get to meet some animals, learn fascinating facts and ask all the questions you want. There are three types of keeper experiences
    1. Mammal and reptile keeper for a day experiences
    2. Birdkeeper for a day
    3. Gardener for a day
  • Early Access Bird Photography Tour: Capture the perfect picture at Chester Zoo’s bird photography tour. You’ll be able to birdwatch before the crowds take over, so you’ll be sure to have some uninterrupted access to bird habitats across the zoo.
  • Giraffe Experience: Get even closer to the tallest land animal by booking a giraffe experience. You’ll get the chance to meet and feed the giraffes from head height.
  • Elephant House Behind the Scenes Tour: Enjoy behind-the-scenes access to Chester Zoo’s elephants. Learn tonnes of information from the knowledgeable elephant keeper and get to see the large, friendly animals up close.

Click here for more experiences at Chester Zoo.

Restaurants and shops

Whether you’re feeling peckish or want a souvenir to remember this wonderful day out, here are some great restaurants and gift shops to visit at Chester Zoo.

Food and drink at Chester Zoo

A day out exploring Chester Zoo will leave you with the appetite of an elephant. There are plenty of places to eat and drink, including:

  • House of Sumatra – You’ll find authentic Indonesian food, drinks and gifts. Also, try a Sumatran coffee.
  • Bembe Kitchen – An eggs-traordinary stop for breakfast and tasty homemade hot deli sandwiches.
  • Manado Street Kitchen – Dive into Southeast Asian street food and enjoy some flavoursome dishes.
  • June’s Food Court – Enjoy family-friendly classic dishes like fish and chips, burgers and more.
  • The Oakfield – A contemporary British pub where you can enjoy freshly prepared and locally sourced food alongside hand-picked beverages.
  • Jaguar Coffee House – Get a coffee to go, or put your feet up and relax at the Jaguar Coffee House.
  • Food and Drink Outposts – You’ll find these kiosks scattered all around Chester Zoo. Treat yourself to an ice cream in the summer, or stay warm and purchase a tasty hot chocolate in the winter.

You could also bring your own packed lunch and enjoy a picnic in one of Chester Zoo’s designated spots.

Gift shops

Before heading home, stop by the Chester Zoo gift shop and treat yourself to a plush toy of your favourite animal. There’s so much to choose from at the gift shop, so make sure you save plenty of time to roam through the isles.

If you want to support Chester Zoo and its conservation work, you can donate at the gift shop or online and help save animals from extinction.

Psst, you might even get a free gift for your purchase.

More information about Chester Zoo

Black Panther, Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo opening and closing times

Chester Zoo opens at 10 am daily and closes between 3:30 pm and 5:30 pm, depending on the day. You can check the exact times here.

The zoo is open throughout the year, excluding Christmas and Boxing Day. In rare cases, the zoo may close due to bad weather, so please double-check online before going.

It’s also worth noting that the last admission for Chester Zoo is one hour before the zoo closes. If you’re a member, it’s 30 minutes before closing.


Chester Zoo is accessible to visitors with wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and limited mobility.

You’ll find the following accessibility facilities at Chester Zoo:

  • Free disabled parking at the main entrance
  • Accessible pathways
  • Free wheelchair and electric scooter hire
  • Accessible bathroom facilities
  • Wheelchair lift
  • River Boat trip has wheelchair access

If you have a hidden disability, Chester Zoo staff are trained to recognise symbols and offer help. If you need assistance, please flag down any staff member.

Sensory bags are available and designed to support visitors with additional sensory needs. These can help with focus and relaxation. You can collect these at Adventure HQ, which is at the main entrance.

Click here for more on accessibility at Chester Zoo.

Dogs at Chester Zoo

Dogs or other pets are NOT allowed to enter Chester Zoo unless they are a fully trained guide or assistant dog.

To uphold the welfare of the animals at Chester Zoo, there is a specific map to follow for those with guide or assistant dogs. Please call in advance and inform the staff if you’re bringing a guide or assistance dog so they can go through anything you’ll need to know before entering the park.

Adopt and animal

Whether you’re looking for a unique gift for animal lovers or you want to support Chester Zoo’s vision of protecting wildlife from extinction, you can adopt an animal.

There’s a wide range of animals to adopt, including

  • Penguins
  • Orangutans
  • Giraffes
  • Rhinos
  • Elephants
  • Pandas
  • Tigers
  • Bears
  • Chimps
  • Snow leopards

Click here for more information on adopting an animal.

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