Can I visit ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoos?
Yes, our Zoos re-opened on 15 June. You can pre-book your ticket here.
Visitors will need to pre-book a timed slot (except Members, Fellows and Patrons visiting on weekdays outside of school holidays). Closing times vary by date: please check for London here and Whipsnade here. Last entry is one hour before closing time.
Will the Zoos be very busy with lots of queues?
We have strictly limited the number of tickets on sale each day and split them into timed slots to spread visitors throughout the day. We will also be quickly scanning visitors on arrival to avoid big queues at the entrance and we have marked out areas where queues might occur to help everyone maintain 2m distance from one another.
We have also stopped several promotions and all third-party sales so that we can control numbers more effectively and ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience.
Are all the exhibits open?
All outdoor exhibits are open along with many indoor areas and most of our animal walkthrough exhibits. Masks are advised and are mandatory for visitors in indoor areas and walkthrough exhibits. You don't have to wear a mask during the rest of your visit in outdoor areas, but we do encourage it as a courtesy to other visitors and staff.
We have also introduced one-way routes around London Zoo to help with visitor flow and to ensure social distancing. Visitors can choose from 3 different routes depending on the animals they would like to see and the time they would like to spend in the Zoo.
At Whipsnade, our penguins close at 5.30pm, and last entry to the Butterfly House is at 5.15pm.
Can I take the one-way routes around London Zoo multiple times?
Yes, all the routes end in the Zoo's central courtyard so you can take them in any order and as many times as you wish, as long as you remain in the Zoo.
Tickets are for single entry to the Zoo only.
How long can I stay at the zoo?
There is no time limit on your visit but to manage capacities and ensure safe distancing, we would recommend you stay no longer than 4 hours.
Are the play areas open?
At London Zoo the Animal Adventure play equipment is open from 4 July. The splash park remains closed.
At Whipsnade Zoo, Hullabazoo (indoors and outdoors) remains closed until further notice.
Are the cafes and shops open?
In line with government advice, our sit-in cafes remain closed with the exception of our Terrace restaurant at London Zoo which is operating a limited indoor dining experience. As government advice permits and enables our other indoor dining areas to open, then they will be done so with appropriate contingencies in place as we have done with our Terrace restaurant - including limiting numbers, protective screens, social distancing measures and card transactions. Visitors to the Terrace restaurant will need to wear a mask on entering and exiting the restaurant but may remove this when seated by a member of our friendly team.
Take-away units are open, and our Base Camp restaurant has reopened for indoor dining with social distancing guidelines in place. You are welcome to bring your own picnics and packed lunches, as mentioned below. You will still be able to refill water bottles at our Visitor Centre; buy cold drinks, ice cream, sweets and crisps at each of our Sealion Shop, Penguin Kiosk and Visitor Centre, and treat yourselves to an ice cream at Jude's Ice Cream Van [near Lions] and our Railway Station, on site at Whipsnade. Our Station Store and Africa Outpost will also be able to offer you sandwiches, salads, hot drinks and bakery items.
Our zoo shops are open, so you'll be able to pick up a souvenir there, from outdoor pop-up vendors, or our online shop.
Can I bring my own food and drink? And where can I eat it?
Yes, you can bring your own food. There are open-air picnic areas at both Zoos and outdoor tables will be 2m apart and cleaned regularly. We kindly ask everyone, whether bringing their own food or buying food on site, to help our staff and please dispose of all waste in bins provided.
How will you manage your toilets so they are safe to use?
We are providing extra hand sanitiser for people to use before and after entering the toilet blocks. We also have social distancing markers and reminders for everyone, and expect all visitors to respect these whilst using these facilities. Our cleaning staff will also be cleaning all bathroom facilities with increased frequency. In addition, a queuing system will be in place for the main toilets at Whipsnade with only one family/household being allowed in the toilet block at any one time.
Will you be running talks and demonstrations?
No. As these attract groups of people standing in close proximity, we are not running our talks programme until further notice.
What about animal experiences like ‘Meet the animals’ or overnight stays in the Lodges?
Selected animal experiences are now available - please see the Experiences section of the website for the latest details.
Anyone with pre-booked experiences whose booking has been affected will be contacted by our Supporter Contact team.
Are the Zoos still accessible for wheelchair users?
Will I still be able to hire a wheelchair?
Yes, both Zoos will still have wheelchairs for hire which will be cleaned after each use.
Is the number of tickets I can buy restricted?
In order to maintain social distancing, we need to limit the number of people visiting the Zoo, therefore initially we have set a limit of buying no more than 6 tickets in one transaction. We will monitor our visitor numbers on a regular basis with a view to increasing our capacities when it is safe to do so.
Will I need to wear a mask?
We want you to feel comfortable during your visit. In line with government guidelines you don't have to wear a mask during your visit in outdoor areas, but we do encourage it as a courtesy to other visitors and staff.
Masks are advised and are mandatory in indoor areas, on entering and exiting the Terrace restaurant, and while enjoying walkthrough exhibits.
Some of our Zookeepers will be wearing masks to minimise any risk of transmitting any virus onto our animals.
Why do children as young as 3 have to wear a mask?
This is to minimise the risk of passing any virus to our animals, especially primates. As well as keeping visitors and staff safe, it’s really important we protect the health and safety of our animals in walk-through enclosures.
What if I have a disability or medical condition that makes it a struggle to wear a mask?
As masks are for the safety of our animals, if you or a member of your party may struggle with a mask, please make yourself known to the steward at the entrance of the exhibit. We will do all we can to make reasonable and practical adjustments – this may for example include adhering to more stringent social distancing measures inside the exhibit. However, if it’s felt that the safety of the animals can not be guaranteed, we may have to refuse entry.
Why are some zookeepers wearing masks?
Some zookeepers are wearing masks as an extra precaution while going about their work.
How is ZSL contributing to NHS Test and Trace, and what does this mean for my data?
If you visit one of our Zoos, we will ask you to give us some basic information at the point you purchase a ticket, including your name and email address. Government guidelines ask us to do this to help NHS Test and Trace reduce the risk of a further COVID-19 outbreak.
If the information is requested by the NHS Test and Trace service, we will share it with them so they can use it for contact tracing and to investigate local outbreaks of COVID-19. Only the basic information needed for NHS Track and Trace will be shared, and only if deemed necessary by the NHS – other details collected during your transaction (e.g. payment details) are not passed on. This process allows NHS Test and Trace to quickly identify people who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. NHS Test and Trace can then ask them to act in ways that keep them and others safe.