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Bristol Zoo

Home > Bristol > Outdoor | Places of Interest | Zoos
by Tom Fieldhouse (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son. I love my city, and love to live here. I write about Bath a lot, and sometimes about travels in Ireland and France.
Published April 2nd 2019
Bristol Zoo- History, Conservation and Vibrant Animals
Zoo? This place is a living, breathing museum and education centre!

Some of the stunning Flamingos, in their enclosure by the main entrance.

Bristol Zoo has so much to offer. I went expecting to see a few animals, but left feeling truly inspired. With a vast array of wonderful and well cared for animals, stunning grounds and an ethos that champions conservation, this is an experience that is very special. Bristol is the world's fifth oldest Zoo (opening in July, 1836), and has to date saved over 175 species from extinction. You can find the Zoo on the edge of the open land known as 'Bristol Downs', in Clifton. I arrived by train and then on foot, via Clifton Down station, but there is a large car park and regular bus routes also. However you get there, what awaits you is magical.

Blossom tree
One of countless beautiful trees in the immaculate grounds. The surroundings alone make a trip here remarkable

My visit included an hour long conservation and animal welfare workshop, which really made the visit. A very learned member of the Zoo community gave a hands-on talk about conservation that included petting a python, combating illegal smuggling, identifying threats to endangered species and much, much more. If you visit, then I thoroughly recommend booking into the Educational Conservation centre.

Our fascinating guide in to the world of animal conservation

Birds, Beasts and entertainment for little monkeys!

Although the Zoo is fairly compact, there is a vast variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects to see. What follows are just a few highlights. Having a free map to hand is a must, as planning a route that takes in all of the areas is vital.

Gorilla Island- head over there at 12.30 for the feeding time talk

With a glass-ceiling Gorilla house and an open area to see the Gorillas, this area was a real highlight. The gorillas looked happy and relaxed at feeding time, and amazed all spectators by catching their midday snacks.

'Big Daddy' Jock, the Zoo's resident Silverback.

Glass ceiling
The glass ceiling of the Gorilla house

Seals, Penguins and an Underwater Wonderland

Subterranean tunnels and viewing windows, swooping seals and bobbing penguins all jostle for the viewer's attention. As with everywhere in the Zoo, there are also a wealth of informative and educational display boards telling visitors about the residents.

Underwater tunnel
The underwater tunnel in the aquatic section.

Some sunbathing penguins enjoying Spring

Adventure playground, where human visitors can let off some steam!

Boisterous Gibbons and serene Butterflies

A serene contrast to Gorilla Island was the walk-through butterfly zone. You can stroll amidst wonderful tropical plants whilst butterflies flutter by you.

One of the residents of the butterfly zone.

Butterfly cocoons on display

Alternatively, a stroll through the centre of the Zoo takes you past these Gibbons, Spider Monkeys and Howler monkey's, all of which looked like they were spelling out words to us with their arms.

Two Gibbons enjoying the sunshine

Whatever you go to see, Bristol Zoo is a lovely space to spend time in. The care and pride that the staff have in the place is very plain to see, and the buildings and trees offer a rare glimpse into England's proud and creative past. Some of the buildings would not look out of place in a remote Indian palace or a foreign embassy, and yet they are placed just above one of the most dynamic and busy modern cities in England. Whether visiting Bristol for the first time or a long time resident, a trip here is something to cherish.

Pavillion at the Zoo
One of many beautiful buildings in the Zoo

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Why? Superb Zoo
When: Consult website for 2019 dates
Phone: 0117 428 5300
Where: Clifton Down, in Bristol
Cost: Very reasonable entry, with a discount for members
Your Comment
That butterfly's markings are incredible.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 1228 days ago
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