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Review: Colchester Zoo

Review by Pia Howe at Toddle About Suffolk

We got the chance to visit Colchester Zoo during half term with our son Oskar (11) and Elliot (6). Someone said to me once “You’ve got to take the kids to Colchester Zoo, a must see for animal lovers!”

The Zoo is large - from the majestic African elephant, chimpanzee lookout, play parks and soft play area, there is something for all the family and you could easily spend the whole day there. We arrived at 10am and left just before the Zoo closed at 4.45pm. 

There are some beautiful animals to see around the zoo. One of the highlights for the kids was the monkey enclosure - those little mischievous baby monkeys was just the cutest thing to watch. 

The whole area is clean and well maintained, pushchair friendly and there is plenty of friendly helpful staff around to help giving directions - we must have looked really lost at times. The zoo covers a very large area so it is definitely advisable to grab a map on arrival or download their app and plan your route. 

We also recommend to check out what times the animal encounters are taking place. It’s a great chance to see an animal feeding time, training or enrichment activity or to learn more about them.  Make sure you visit the Red Pandas - cuteness overload!

If you want to get right up close and feed the animals the zoo offers a range of animal experiences that include feeding giraffes which you’ll need to book in advance. 

As well as seeing a huge variety of animals it’s also a very educational day out for the children. All enclosures  had some interesting facts about each animal - did you know that Aardvarks are colour blind and that Ostriches have 2 toes? Sadly a lot of the animals we encountered were critically endangered. 

Another highlight for the kids was the interactive zone, with an interactive dinosaur sandpit projection (wish I had this at home!) and a big screen where children have the opportunity to draw / colour an underwater animal and watch it come to life on the big screen. I’d never seen this done before so definitely worth checking out!

There are plenty of pit-stop options around the zoo. Pretty much every cafe/food outlet had a play park area right next to it, much to the delight of the children. There is plenty of seating and a lot of families brought their own picnic and snacks to enjoy in their dedicated picnic area. 

There are plenty of toilets and baby changing units available. 

Although we spent a whole day at the zoo, we didn’t get to see all of the animals. The little legs got very tired from all the running around and excitement. However, all of us got to see our favourite animals. Oskar got up close with the otters, Elliot got to feed and stroke the goats and I got to see the majestic great grey owl.

We truly had a great family day out and will definitely be back again to see the animals we didn’t get to visit this time around.

To book your tickets visit:

Don’t miss Colchester Zoo’s upcoming activities.

Shriek Week will be running until the 30th October with spook-macular daytime activities for the whole family. 

Join the Zoo this Christmas and immerse yourself in the wonderful festive atmosphere from 26th - 27th November, 3rd - 4, 10th - 11th and 17th - 24th December 2022. 

New for 2022 the Enchanted Trail of Light on the 3rd, 7th, 10th, 14th, 17th, 21st and 23rd December 2023 from 5.30pm. A magical journey, with a host of illuminations, dancing fountains and fairies spreading their magic. 

A big thank you to Colchester Zoo for inviting the Toddle About team to experience a day at the zoo. We had a wonderful time and highly recommend visiting.