The main entrance of Bristol Zoo Gardens.
United Kingdom
England
South West England
City of Bristol
Bristol
United Kingdom
England
South West England
City of Bristol
Bristol

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens in Clifton, Bristol, is a 184-year-old zoo in Bristol.
  • See the variety of animals on display as you visit animal kingdoms across the world.
  • Discover information about the Zoo and its work at events or throughout the Zoo and its exhibits.
  • Enjoy some delicious food and a sit, or even run around having a play.


Bristol Zoo Gardens officially called the British Zoological Gardens, is a zoo in Bristol and is the fifth oldest Zoo in the world. It first opened its doors in 1836 and has had more than 90 million guests visit. It's one of the best zoos in Bristol, run by the Bristol Zoological Society. If you enjoy the variety of land animals available, you might like to go to Bristol Aquarium, which is a seven-minute drive away.

The Bristol Zoological Society is a conservation charity which runs Bristol Zoo Gardens in Clifton. The Society focuses on conservation science research. The conservation charity works are on protecting species and habitats overseas, encouraging sustainable behaviours and perceptions from the public, educating, and entertaining families. The Society also cares for its conservation park, the Wild Place Project. Bristol Zoo has a collection of around 300 different mammals covering 50 species, so there's a variety to see as you walk around the Zoo. There are two Grade II listed buildings at the site, so it's a real piece of history.

There are plenty of animals and attractions throughout the Zoo, so you'll need lots of time to see everything. Whether you're interested in red pandas, gorillas, African penguins or Ring-tailed lemurs, there is a wide variety to see. There are twelve animal attractions you can explore throughout your time at Bristol Zoo. First off is the Aquarium, home of more than 115 different species of fish. Spot the red-bellied piranha, mudskippers, epaulette sharks and the giant gourami Gerry. Look across to the Seal and Penguin Coasts, an iconic part of Bristol Zoo. See seabirds and seals, as well as African penguins. You might even get to spot some seahorses. Check out Meerkat Lookout, home of the wonderful mob of meerkats at Bristol Zoo. Go along to a talk to hear more about these fascinating animals.

Want to see more insects? Try Bug World, with giant stick insects, hairy tarantulas and beautifully-coloured beetles, as well as spiders and scorpions. The conservation breeding rooms are home to the Desertas Wolf Spider, the Lord Howe Island stick insect and four species of Partula snails. The Butterfly Forest is the home to an incredible amount of butterflies and moths from the arctic to the tropics. The Forest of Birds will take you to the rainforest, with the sounds, plants, and free-flying birds from South-East Asia. Gibbon Island will introduce you to Samuel and Duana. Then you can swing over to Monkey Jungle where you can meet the Clifton monkey families of black howler monkeys, brown spider monkeys, and lion-tailed macaques. There's also a walk-through lemur garden. Gorilla Island is the home of seven western lowland gorillas, one being a brand new baby born in August 2020. The Reptile House has reptiles and amphibians in all shapes and sizes. For two incredible and unique exhibits, have a look at Twilight World, the first of its kind when it was first opened. It will take you on a fascinating journey to meet the yellow mongoose and Aruba Island rattlesnake. Spot one of the critically endangered Turkish spiny mice. There are plenty more rodents too. Finally, fall in love with the Tree Kangaroos of Papua New Guinea, the first of their kind at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

One of the Bristol Zoo Gardens' meerkats, and her babies.

Are you looking for some attractions that are a little different? There are lots of things to do once you've seen all the animals. ZooRopia will take you through the trees, so you can imagine you're one of Bristol Zoo Garden's gorillas, gibbons or lemurs. The Activity Centre is home to drawing, colouring and face painting, as well as a 'touch table', where you can learn about the conservation efforts of the Bristol Zoological Society charity. For something more energetic, enjoy the Adventure Playground, with a variety of new features like a sandpit and swing set. Splash is a brilliant water-play area, letting children paddle in all weathers. A long stream runs throughout squirting water, and your kids can also play in a beached dinghy.

If you want to be among nature, have a look at Bristol Zoo Gardens gardens. The gardens hold unusual trees, shrubs and plants from around the world. You can see rare species of plants like moth orchids from the Philippines and native plants like the bath asparagus, which are endangered in the wild. These are 12 acres which really put the gardens into Bristol Zoo Gardens. To see something more community based, The Bristol Community Plant Collection is the first of its kind. The aim is for different places around Clifton, and wider Bristol to grow different species of Calendula. This community garden is the home to all these Calendula and can be found inside the central Bristol gardens themselves.

Are you feeling hungry? There are three takeaway restaurants to choose from, as well as outdoor and indoor eating areas where you can bring your own picnic. The Hide Restaurant, Pasty Shack, and The Hungry Monkey Kiosk all have delicious hot and cold food, with lighter meals to snack on or a lunchtime feast.

Are you interested in some of the Bristol Zoo events? Recently, there's been the BRICKLIVE Ocean Sculpture Trail at Bristol Zoo Gardens, which involves 50 sculptures made of toy bricks. There are also online events, like Stories from the Field, which is an online conservation lecture series from the Bristol Zoological Society about their charity work in the field.

If you're looking for hotels near Bristol Zoo Gardens, try Victoria Square Hotel, The Clifton Hotel Bristol, or The Rodney Hotel, all of which are near to the zoo.

If you are looking for more to do and see in Bristol, Ashton Court Estate has a deer park, golf courses, cafés, gardens and more across the 850 acres.

What to know before you go

  • The Bristol Zoo opening times are typically from 10am to 5.30 pm, but are subject to change.
  • There is a dedicated changing room at the Zoo by the nectar garden and dedicated changing tables in the majority of toilets.
  • The largest accessible toilet is located near the Butterfly Forest entrance.
  • Most of the Zoo is accessible for wheelchair users and those with walking difficulties. There are moderately steep ramps on the entrance and exit of the Aquarium and Bug World.

Getting there

  • There are two on-site car parks, with the Bristol Zoo prices being a £4.50 charge for visitors and a £2.50 charge for Members.
  • The buses available are the First Bus number 8 and the Bristol Community Transport 505 service. There's also the Wessex Bristol 505 Park and Ride.
  • There are multiple cycling routes and a variety of bicycle racks available when you arrive.
  • For trains, there's a local train service to Clifton Down Station, which is a 10-minute walk from the station. You could also go from Bristol Temple Meads Station, take the number 8 bus service to the Zoo's main entrance.
  • Arriving by sustainable transport will allow you 33% off your ticket; try and come by bus, bike or train to get the discount.

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines
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