We love Colchester Zoo. By far one of the best family attractions in Essex. Having been so many times, if you are looking for a Colchester Zoo review, to plan your visit, here’s our top tips on how to enjoy your Colchester day out to the max.
Colchester Zoo, Maldon Road, Stanway, Colchester, Essex, CO3 0SL
First of all, If you can, its a good idea to get there early. Whatever the time of year, its always busy. Not so busy that it feels really crowded, there’s plenty of space, but its much quieter first thing. Plus, you’ll be ready for lunch earlier, so won’t have to hunt for somewhere to eat your picnic or queue for the cafes and you’ll avoid the walk from the overflow car park.
Things To Do At Colchester Zoo
The birds of Paradise are beautiful and really worth a visit. Again though, these are best visited in the morning. You can pay £1 for a little pot of nectar for the birds to drink and they take it right from your hand. It’s amazing, but better earlier in the day when they are still hungry.
The Discovery Centre is open everyday from 9.30am and a great way to get interactive. Despite the amount of visitors at the zoo, we’ve never had to queue for long and my children love holding the various giant bugs and learning about the different animals on show.
The Lost Madagascar Express train is brilliant. There is a lot of walking at the zoo, so it’s a nice place to head for a rest when little legs are getting tired. There’s a guided tour of the enclosures as you go along and then a chance to go into the Lemur enclosure.
Food at Colchester Zoo
Take snacks! There are cafes and ice-cream stalls, but with the zoo covering such a vast space, you’re not always close. So, it’s good to have a bag of snacks for hungry little ones to keep them going.
How to get Discounted Tickets for Colchester Zoo
You can get cheap tickets for Colchester Zoo, by buying online before you go. You just need to purchase them before 11pm the night before. The zoo passes are also really good value. When we lived in Essex a couple of years ago we had them and it was great being able to just pop along for a couple of hours whenever we wanted. If you go more than a couple of times a year they work out cheaper. With the soft-play included and all the parks, there’s always something different to do. Children under 3 also go free. You can find out all the current pricing on their website here.
Plan Your Day at Colchester Zoo
We have made this mistake so many times – It’s best to start leaving way before you are ready to go. Because there’s so much to do and see, it’s really tempting to just keep going. Instead its a good idea to start heading towards the exit about half an hour before. As well as the walk, there’s always more to look at, so it takes forever to get anywhere. especially with tired little legs or heavy buggies to push. The sea lion tunnel is nearish to the exit, so a great one to entice the children towards on the way out.
Finally, like lots of big family attractions, you have to walk through the shop on the way out. Just thought it’s good to share, so you’re forewarned and can manage expectations! There are actually quite a few reasonably priced little things for children though, if you are buying treats.
Where’s your favourite family day out in East Anglia?