I know opinions are divided about zoos but if you're going to have them then the Bristol Zoological Gardens is one of the best. First founded in 1835 it is the fifth oldest zoo in the world but it hasn't stayed in the past. You get the overall feeling that the animals are well cared for and some of the enclosures - particularly the themed coastal one for the penguins - really are stunningly good. The regular talks on the gorilla family are well worth attending - ask for times when you go in - and the recently arrived baby is definately worth a peek. We also spent a very enjoyable 10 minutes watching the giant tortoises tussle with their large chums for sticks of celery. Obviously a bit of a delicacy as far as they're concerned!
UK VTers will remember the iconic 'Animal Magic' BBC childrens television programme from the 60s and 70s featuring the much missed Johnny Morris. Well this is where he filmed all his snippets in the guise of Keeper Morris. Curiously I didn't see anything reminding people of the fact - let's hope it's me missing it rather than an oversight on their part.
There is a restaurant/café on site with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating for all. It's actually much better than it looks and I can personally vouch for the splendid homemade cakes!
5 May 2003: We decided to go to Bristol Zoo. The Zoo was packed with people as it was another beautiful day. The car parks were full, so we found a nice space to park on the street not too far away. We saw baby marmosets, baby prairie dogs, and baby meerkats. We heard a talk on the Brazil animals, given by the lemur lady. We heard a talk on lemurs, by the lemur lady. We watch them 'feed' the gorillas (if you call throwing fruit at a gorilla 'feeding') and the penguins. It was a very nice little zoo.
* Open daily from 9am to 5.30pm in peak season, closing at 5.00pm off-peak.
* Closed Christmas Day.
* Last entrance to animal houses is half an hour before closing.
* Last entrance to the Zoo is an hour before closing.
* Free entry for under 3's - baby changing and feeding facilities available.
* The Pelican Restaurant serves hot meals and snacks and has a covered picnic area.
* Discounts for groups.
* Shop for gifts and souvenirs.
* Wheelchair-friendly: 20 wheelchairs and 2 electric scooters are available for hire. Please phone to pre-book 0117 974 7357.
Allow 2-5 hours for your visit
Individual admission prices
Prices are effective from 22 March 2006
Child (3-14) £6.00
Child (Under 3) Free
2 Adults + 2 Children £29.00
Concession: 15-18 yrs / student / senior citizen / disabled adult £8.70
Disabled child £4.50
Bristol Zoo is really pleasant and not too big that it takes hours to get around. It doesn't have lots of chimps or giraffes but does well with smaller animals.
There's a tunnel underwater where you can look at the penguins and sealions swimming above you wich is pretty cool.
I can't remember how much it cost but it was about £11-£15 for adults
The Gorillas were probably our top reason for visiting. We had seen Jock at the London Zoo years early and heard of his move to Bristol. We also had heard the wonderful story of his new offspring. We enjoyed our day at this Zoo greatly. A very pleasant place, well kept.
Over 300 different animals and a lovely laid out garden, I can spend hours just walking about taking in the atmosphere. The enclsures are a mixture of glass fronts and cages.
Great nocturnal house with mice, mongoose, frogs, desert cats, the mysterious aye aye and various other animals which thrive at night. At the end is a mock-up of a kitchen complete with mice in the microwave and rats in the cellar.
The Bug World has some gorgeous and colourful inhanitants (see photo) including cockroaches, spiders and bees which are free to fly in and out.
The Penguin Coast is marvellous with above-and-below-water viewing areas - I just love sitting down watching the penguins 'fly' though the water. There are seals too, with regular feeding times.
Ring-tailed lemurs have their own island, as do spider and other monkeys, located in a lake full of pelicans.
The reptile house is amongst my favourite, with lizards, snakes, frogs and crocodiles.
Other animals include lions, red panda, gorilla, okapi, a monkey house, aquarium, pygmy hippo, a walk-through aviary, meercats, prairie dogs, Zona Brazil with cappuchins, marmosets, tapirs, agouti and peccaries. Lots of birds too, including a small flamingo lake.
Entrance fee £9.50 for adults
£6.00 for 3-14 year olds
FREE for under 3's
Senior citizens half price Fridays
Open from 9 am to 16.30 in winter
9 am to 17.30 in summer
Wheelchair access and hire. Restaurants and fast food outlets. Shops. Toilets.
Allow in excess of two hours for your visit
Car parking available at £1 per visit
For more pictures from the zoo, see the travellogues on my Clifton page
Although I visited the zoo many times as a child I avoided it when we first came to live in Bristol.
Then I had to take my class for a day out there and realised what a gem it is! Most of the large animals have gone (there used to be an awful polar bear pit with the poor creatures pacing up and down all day.) Wendy, the elephant, who had become an institution in her own right, sadly died last year.
The zoo has been modernised, there's a superb sea lion enclosure, a gorilla island and much more. Also the gardens are absolutely stunning.
The conservation work being carried out is impressive and the Education Department is wonderful, if you're a teacher.
Well worth a visit!
Visit the famous zoo. When I was there in March 2000 there were lots of rare breed animals breeding.
The veterinary scientists of Bristol University use the zoo as a giant laboratory and a training ground for the next generation of vets. From their research they were able to show the psychological damage of keeping the really large mammals in such a confined space like Bristol Zoo.
Dec 2003 9 Rare Savu pythons (Liasis macllotti savuensis) have hatched at the zoo. They are orange in colour on hatching and become darker as they mature over the next 2 to 3 years. Savu pythons were only discovered in 1993 and are only found on one 100 square kilometre island in Indonesia.
The photo is of a red panda cub about 3 months old.
It is the Bristol Zoo!!!!
Haven't been there in the past but now..after 3 years in Bristol (7 years for my boyfriend!!!) we visited the for the very first time the Zoo.
I must say that is was the most fun thing I did for a long time now!
The entrance fee is £8.80 for adults and £7.70 consessions (students.... save the pound!)
The Bristol Zoo is yet another famous attraction. Families & friends head out for this place for fun & interest. The zoo has over 300 wildlife species, including some of the wold's most endangered species.