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Everything you need to know before your first trip back to Colchester Zoo

PUBLISHED: 16:54 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:36 18 June 2020

Cienna and Helene Gibbons enjoying their preview day at the zoo Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Cienna and Helene Gibbons enjoying their preview day at the zoo Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Colchester Zoo has opened for the first time since lockdown – find out everything you need to know before you go.

A penguin watches the crowds  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA penguin watches the crowds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

How can I get a ticket?

You can book tickets on the Colchester Zoo website or app. Existing Zoo Pass holders can use their passes to book a ticket. Visitors will choose a 30-minute window to arrive in, to ensure numbers stay at a safe level. Tickets can be booked up to 10 days before your visit.

A little boy watches the penguins  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA little boy watches the penguins Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Can I buy a ticket on the day?

All tickets must be booked ahead of a visit. Children under three do not need a ticket. However, you can upgrade your purchased tickets to a Zoo Pass at the Guest Services office on the day of the visit.

Signs have been put in place to remind people to socially distance  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSigns have been put in place to remind people to socially distance Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Can I use any vouchers or discounts?

In a statement on its website, Colchester Zoo says: “Our admission prices have already been reduced for reopening and therefore not further discounts are available. This includes Tesco Vouchers and the Zoo Passholders Discount until further notice.”

MORE: Zoo director warns ‘hardest times are yet to come’

Signs have been put in place to remind people to socially distance  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSigns have been put in place to remind people to socially distance Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

What do I have to do when I arrive?

Entry to the zoo is through the new contact-free gates. You need to present your booking confirmation showing your time and slot to staff at the entrance and scan your ticket at the admission gate to enter.

Zoo Keeper Leeanne  cleaning the windows ahead of the official opening Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNZoo Keeper Leeanne cleaning the windows ahead of the official opening Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

What are the staff doing differently?

Many staff in the park will be wearing visors to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, as well as showing visitors the safe places to queue for food, drinks and the gift shop. There will be no scheduled feeding times or animal displays for visitors to attend.

MORE: The animals you can see at Colchester Zoo – and the animals you can’t

Colchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNColchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

What will be different inside?

The layout of the zoo has changed to create a one-way system throughout. Some junctions allow visitors to take different directions before returning to the same path. The new route is marked out by red arrows on the ground, with red paw prints leading to animal enclosures and red dots spaced two metres apart to keep visitors at a safe social distance. Signs reminding visitors to keep socially distant have also been places throughout the zoo.

Sea Lions enjoying a swim  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSea Lions enjoying a swim Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

How can I find my way if I get lost?

There are signposts across the zoo directing you to specific animal enclosures, the entrance and exit, toilets and shops. New maps showing the zoos one-way system will be available for visitors from June 18. You can see a copy of the map on the Colchester Zoo app which is available now.

A tiger basks in the sunshine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA tiger basks in the sunshine Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Where can I go to the toilet?

There are eight toilets still open across the site, all of which are being cleaned frequently to comply with ‘Covid-secure’ measures. The seven toilets within the zoo all have accessible toilets and baby changing facilities. The car park toilets are accessible but have no baby changing facilities.

Elephants having a walkabout in their enclosure Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNElephants having a walkabout in their enclosure Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Is there hand sanitiser available?

There are 23 new hand sanitising stations across the zoo which will be regularly refilled.

Colchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNColchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Where can I get something to eat and drink?

There are seven food and drink outlets still open in the zoo. There is no indoor seating available and hot food is only available for takeaway. Open air seating areas are still accessible and are being regularly cleaned.

Colchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNColchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Is the gift shop open?

The zoo has a new gift shop and is open to customers for the duration of the zoo’s opening hours, 10am-6pm.

The Red Panda enclosure Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Red Panda enclosure Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Can I still hire a buggy, wheelchair, mobility scooter or a locker?

All of these services are still accessible. If you need a buggy, wheelchair or mobility scooter, Colchester Zoo recommends booking them by phone at least 24 hours in advance. These can be collected from a member of staff at the zoo entrance.

Matthew,Felicity, Emily and Poppy Walker Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNMatthew,Felicity, Emily and Poppy Walker Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

What activities have been cancelled or closed?

Popular events such as giraffe feeding and elephant feeding have been cancelled until further notice. There are no animal shows or group activities currently planned to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission. All play areas have also been closed.

Colchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNColchester Zoo opened it's gates for the first time in months Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Can I still take a ride on the land train?

The Lost Madagascar Express land train is currently being fitted with Perspex screens to allow it to take passengers again. It will be returning to the zoo in July.


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