Important: Responsible relaxation of member pre-booking requirements

by ZSL on

From Thursday 10 Sept, we are introducing a trial where Members, Fellows and Patrons no longer need to book for weekday off-peak visits. Pre-booking member tickets will still be required for all weekend and school holiday visits.

Since reopening our doors on 15 June, we’ve implemented lots of changes to the zoo experience to ensure our visitors and members safely enjoy great days out, from one-way routes to increased sanitiser stations, and to manage our strict capacity limits, we had to ensure everyone booked in advance.

Maximum capacities remain in place at both London and Whipsnade Zoos, but with schools returning in September, weekday visitor numbers will be much lower. So, from Thursday 10 September, we are confident we can safely admit Members, Fellows and Patrons without the need to pre-book from Monday to Friday only. During off-peak weekdays only, Members, Fellows and Patrons, will be able to visit any time with their ZSL membership card – or temporary slip for new members – in the same way they used to visit before the lockdown.

Of course, we will still maintain the very highest safety standards in accordance with national guidance, including social distancing, enhanced cleanliness and hand-washing measures. In recognition of these high standards, both London and Whipsnade Zoos have been certified with the official ‘We’re Good To Go’ accreditation.

We will initially run this as a trial to begin with and will continue to carefully monitor visitor numbers and maintain social distancing measures at all times. In the unlikely event that the Zoo reaches its capacity limit for the day, we reserve the right to not grant further members entry. If the trial goes well, we will continue with no-booking for off-peak weekdays and will inform members accordingly. 

Please note that Members, Fellows and Patrons will still need to pre-book tickets for all weekends and every day during school holidays.

Important points for Members, Fellows and Patrons for off-peak visits:

  • Please be aware that this is a trial, and we might have to change the pre-booking rules again, as safety remains a top priority. Always check the website before you visit for the most up-to-date information on entry terms.
  • Staggered arrival times: General visitors mostly arrive around 10am and 12pm – to avoid queues, stagger your arrival time if possible and try to avoid these busiest times. The Zoos will be open until 5pm.
  • Fridays and sunny days are the most popular days for a Zoo visit. Where possible, avoid these busy days to have more of the Zoo to yourself.
  • Fellows and Patrons will not be required to book their single guest tickets on off-peak weekdays.

Overview of peak and off-peak timings:

  • Off-peak times with no pre-booking required, starting 10 Sept until further notice:
    • Weekdays: Monday – Friday (excl. school holidays)
  • Peak times with pre-booking required for Members, Fellows and Patrons:
    • Weekends: All Saturdays and Sundays
    • Every day of the week during School holidays:
      • October half term: Monday 26 Oct – Friday 30 Oct 2020
      • Christmas break: Monday 21 Dec 2020 – Friday 1 Jan 2021

Things to consider before your visits:

  • If you are booking tickets for non-members, they will still need to be pre-booked online for all days, as there are no walk-up sales for the time being. Please book tickets for family and friends who aren’t members here.
  • Member, Fellow and Patron tickets for weekend slots will continue to be released in two-week batches on the following dates
    • Tuesday 1 Sept: Ticket release for 7-9 September and weekends 12-13 Sept and 19-20 Sept
    • Tuesday 15 Sept: Ticket release for weekends 26-27 Sept and 3-4 Oct
    • Tuesday 29 Sept: Ticket release for weekends 10-11 Oct and 17-18 Oct
  • Only pre-book a weekend ticket if you are sure you can make it. If plans change, cancel the ticket as soon as possible (by enterting your reference and postcode in the Order Tracker section) to enable others to enjoy the Zoo instead. 
  • A booking limit of two visits within 2 weekends per member will remain in place for the time being to give as many members the chance to visit and to reduce the high no-show rate.
  • *New from 7 Sept* Whipsnade Zoo will close at 5pm, so the 2pm slot will be changed to a 12pm slot.
  • We would like to give our valued supporters the chance to visit the Zoos as easy as possible with this trial. If this proves successful, we will be re-introducing the usage of half price tickets soon, when it is safe to do so. Keep an eye out for your emails for the latest information. Not receiving emails from ZSL? Sign up here quoting your membership ID – the short number on your membership card. It’s the best was to stay up to date on all things ZSL.

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