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Bristol Zoo Review

Bristol zoo Gardens is an interactive and educational zoo based in the city of Bristol in South West England. It is the fifth oldest zoo in the world, opening its gates to visitors in 1836. The site boasts an impressive array of attractions including an aquarium, an adventure playground, zooropia, bugworld, a reptile house, an indoor butterfly forest, and all the usual delights of the zoo including monkeys, gorillas, penguins, and more. 


bristol zoo review


Our Rating




>> Beautifully Maintained Grounds

>> Interactive and Educational Zoo

>> Zooropia was good for my teens

>> Plenty of Benches around

>> Large Adventure playground & Splash area


>> Expensive Entry Price

>> £4.50 Parking Charge

>> Toilets Smelled Horrendous

>> Vending Machines Card Only

>> Forced to Exit Via Gift Shop


Bristol Zoo Gardens, England Review


When we Visited

We visited in late September 2021, on a lovely sunny day during the summer holidays.


How Much is Entry into Bristol Zoo?

I went on this occasion as one adult and three children, the cost was £49.22, plus a further £4.50 for parking on arrival. 

Here are the general admissions prices for Bristol zoo, although prices can vary throughout the year, depending on when you visit.

Adult Admission £16.22

Child (2-14) Admission £11.00

Under 2 Admission FREE

Carer Admission FREE

Note: All tickets automatically have a 10% donation attached, so ensure you uncheck it if you can't afford to pay it. 


Bristol Zoo Opening Times

Bristol Zoo is open from 10am - 5.30pm, 7 days a week. The zoo is closed Christmas day and shuts early on Christmas eve.


What were the Highlights?

The Grounds - Very well maintained gardens throughout the entire site.

The Zoo - All of the animal enclosures looked spacious and well kept.

Benches - There were plenty of benches dotted around the place, which made it easy to stop for a picnic and a rest when needed.

Park & Splash area - The park was really great, it's plenty big enough for children during busy times and the small splash pad was great for cooling off.

ZooRopia - Although it was an extra charge of £7.70 on to the cost of the day, my 12 year old really enjoyed it.

Gorilla Island - It's not to be missed, absolutely fascinating to watch them. 


What were the Downsides?

Toilets - This was the biggest letdown of the whole site. We visited three different toilets throughout the site and two of the three had such a pungent smell of urine it was revolting. People were coming out of them holding their noses and commenting on how bad the smell was. 

Parking Charge - I thought a £4.50 parking charge was rather steep considering it had cost almost £50 to come in for one adult and three children. 

Restaurant - Slow service.

ZooRopia - Although this was a welcomed addition to the day, there was a LOT of waiting around due to the fact they allowed children from age 5 to participate. It is WAY too advanced for any 5 year old and most children had to be rescued which took absolutely ages.  They should definitely look at making the minimum age at least 8 because no 5 year old would get past the first part. 

Card only - Everything was card only from the car park to the kiosks and vending machines. Annoying when you have only brought cash and Amex (which they didn't take) 

Visibility - It can be hard on busy days to get to the front of certain areas to actually allow the little ones to view any of the animals. There seemed to be a lot of couples/adults with large cameras who spent a long time getting the perfect shot, so it was hard for the children to see. They often got bored of waiting and wanted to move on to the next area.



Bristol Zoo is Great For

> Couples

> Families

> School Trips

> All ages


What are the Food and Drink facilities like at Bristol Zoo?

You won't go hungry at Bristol zoo! There are plenty of options available including...

Vending machines - These are dotted all around the park and you can grab ice creams, drinks and snacks such as chocolate and crisps.

Kiosks - There were a few kiosks around the park serving tea/coffees, cold drinks, snacks and pastries.

The Hide Restaurant - Here you can get a sit-down meal, but it's always very busy and the service is very slow. I always tend to bring a picnic on days out where the weather is nice, as it helps to keep costs down. 

Picnic Areas - There are plenty of picnic areas throughout the zoo. There are benches all over the park which you can use, as well as lovely lawns. You'll find picnic benches right next to the children’s playground, outside the restaurant, and there's a large undercover picnic area near Gorilla Island.

Ice Cream Truck & Fire Pit BBQ - These were both closed during our visit and apparently only open on hot summer days.


Do you have to pay for parking at Bristol Zoo?

Yes, the parking is £4.50 and they don't accept cash, so you'll need to ensure you take a suitable card with you. 


Are there any extra charges whilst at Bristol Zoo?

Yes, as follows...

There is a £4.50 parking charge for drivers.

The gift shop, which you have no choice but to exit from. 

Food & drink during your visit (if you haven't brought your own)

There's a small merry-go-round and an inflatable slide on the way of the park, which has a charge of £1.50 per child per go.

ZooRopia is £8.95 for adults and £7.70 for children.

Animal Encounters are also available at the zoo, from jr zookeeper experiences to animal feeding. Prices vary. 


Can I Save Money on my Booking at Bristol Zoo?

Yes, there are ways to save money at Bristol zoo, here are some...

> Take a picnic

> Remove the 10% donation before purchasing tickets

> Members pay less, but this only saves you money if you would use the membership regularly - otherwise, it could end up costing you unnecessarily

> Carers go free with one full paying adult/child price (Advance booking still essential). Evidence of eligibility will be requested!

> Children under 2 go free

Note: Bristol zoo rarely offers discounts such as 241 vouchers or money off, but the best way to find out if they have any offers available is to follow their social media pages and sign up to their newsletters.

Cheap Places to Stay near Bristol Zoo

Travelodge Bristol Central is an 8 minute drive from Bristol zoo and offers rooms from just £29.  Sundays are the cheapest days to stay.

Premier Inn Bristol City Centre is a 12 minute drive from Bristol zoo and again has rooms on offer from just £29 on Sundays.

Ibis Bristol Centre is another budget chain hotel that offers fantastic room prices, this is again only an 8. minute drive from Bristol zoo.


If you like saving money on days out, Join our Facebook Group for Cheap Holidays & Travel Deals


Claire's Verdict

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a nice family day out. My children all had a lovely day including my teen who is hard to please.  I wasn't completely wowed, but I also wasn't disappointed. 

Would I go again? Probably not! If it was cheaper, perhaps, but I feel for the price, once you have seen it, you wouldn't really be drawn to go back. 

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Claire Roach Founder & CEO @ Money Saving Central

Claire Roach Money Saving Central Founder

Claire is the UK's #1 'Online Shopping Expert', she is best known for creating sale date tracking to reveal UK sale dates so her followers are first to know when the next sale is due to land for their favourite stores - making her unpopular with major UK retailers!

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