Our amazing leaping colobus monkeys will be moving into a fantastic new home next year - as we adapt and restore our iconic Snowdon Aviary and give it a new life as Monkey Valley.
The aviary was an innovation in design when it was constructed in the 1960s, harnessing a combination of structural tension and balance to create an enormous space for birds and people to share.
Monkey Valley is a milestone project - a celebration of ZSL's heritage and pioneering spirit, and will give visitors the chance to get up close to these incredible monkeys - as well as opportunities to test out monkey behaviour, learn just what makes the former aviary so special, and relax in our quiet zone.
From late August, visitors will be invited to cross the Zoo’s historic bridge over Regent’s Canal into Monkey Valley, where they’ll enter a Grade II* listed architectural wonder – newly transformed into the perfect pad for primates. Keep an eye on this page for future updates!
Meet the Eastern black-and-white colobus
These fluffy-tailed monkeys are currently housed right next to London Zoo's Gorillas. Born entirely white, they change colour as they age, developing patches of black across their bodies. Expert climbers, look our for them swinging around on your next visit.
We're partnering with organisations who work with local older people, families on a low income and people with additional needs and disabilities to provide an affordable opportunity to enjoy a day at ZSL London Zoo.
Organisations can apply online for an allocation of heavily subsidised tickets to share with service users to visit the zoo within 12 months. The aim of the scheme is to help overcome some of the barriers that people face by providing subsidised rates and information to support in planning a visit. Please refer to the eligibility criteria and additional information below before applying to ensure that your organisation is eligible. If you are an individual please consider asking the eligible groups and networks you are part of to apply.
We are committed to learning from partner organisations and individuals so we can make changes and improve the experience of visiting ZSL London Zoo, and improve the experience of visiting ZSL London Zoo for everyone.
We ask our partners to ensure that:
- The tickets acquired are used by the people that they are intended for,
- 25% of their ticket holders complete a short survey after their visit.
This feedback will support our goal of making London Zoo accessible for all.
If your organisation meets both of the following criteria, please apply for tickets.
Your organisation works with or supports one or more of the following audiences:
- Households on a low income
- People with additional needs and/or disabilities
- Older people
Your organisation works with people living in any of the 33 London Boroughs.
We are offering heavily subsidised, flexible use tickets which will be valid for 12 months, allowing individuals to visit at a time that suits them best. Below is the pricing breakdown per person for organisations purchasing an allocation of tickets (minimum of 10 tickets).
|Households on a low income||£3.00|
|People with additional needs and disabilities*||£6.50|
Please note: Tickets will require payment at the time of booking which is after your application has been accepted. Our team will call to confirm the number of tickets required and total price before taking payment details. Tickets will be sent via email for the organisation to distribute to service users.
*Subsidised price includes a free carer
Can we buy more tickets?
Once all the tickets from you first purchase have been redeemed, you can email our Supporter Contact team on email@example.com to reserve more tickets and request to pay via BACS. Please ensure that you include your unique Account (CRM) number from your previous booking. Once the payment has cleared your tickets will be sent to you via email, this is most accessible option as our call centre can sometimes have long wait times.
Alternatively, you can call us on 0344 225 1826 to speak to our Supporter Contact Team and purchase more tickets, this route would enable you to pay for your tickets via credit card. Check our Contact Us page for our phone line opening times.
We require that individuals visiting through the Community Access Scheme complete a post-visit survey to share their experience of ZSL London Zoo. This feedback will support in developing our offering and in delivering on our commitment to becoming more accessible for everyone.
The survey will be shared with the applying organisation at the same time we send the tickets, it is up to the organisation to ensure all individuals complete the survey. We will review completed surveys and if an organisation chooses to apply for more tickets we will consider their completed survey rate.
We also aim to make the application process as easy as possible, if you also have any feedback on this please email firstname.lastname@example.org
All organisations who have been accepted to purchases tickets through the Community Access Scheme are considered Community Engagement Partners and we trust that you are ensuring the tickets are going to be used by the people they are intended for.
We work with a range of fantastic organisations to provide access to ZSL London Zoo, from charities working to help stuggling families through to local community groups for older people. Here are just a few of our partners, if you are an individual who would benefit from their services please consider getting in touch with them.
Family Holiday Association
The Family Holiday Association is a national charity providing British seaside breaks and day trips for families struggling with some of the toughest challenges life can bring.
Leonard Cheshire supports individuals to live, learn and work as independently as they choose, whatever their ability. They are led by people with experience of disability and open doors to opportunities and choice and support in communities around the globe.
We're proud to be working with The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Landmark footage shared by ZSL London Zoo shows the historic moment the famous Snowdon Aviary is ‘unwrapped’ - signaling a defining moment in the iconic structure’s restoration journey.
The dramatic footage shows experts abseiling down the Grade II listed building this morning (Friday 30 July) to carefully peel away the first of 200 mesh panels wrapped around it in 1965 - starting the one-year countdown to its summer 2022 rebirth as a new home for a troop of Eastern black and white colobus monkeys.
To celebrate the renovation project’s milestone, the Zoo also revealed today that the former aviary will be renamed Monkey Valley when it opens next summer - in recognition of its new role as the primate troop’s new home.
ZSL London Zoo’s Director of Fundraising and Engagement, James Wren said: “It’s incredible to think that this piece of architectural history has now been seen in its present form on the Primrose Hill skyline for the last time.
“Taking down the first 25metre tall panel was no small feat for everyone involved today and it will take up to a month of further careful work for the remaining panels to be removed.”
Following the sympathetic renovation, which will include the careful replacement of over 3800 sqm of mesh, the famous peaked silhouette of the historic structure will be fully restored to the London skyline, taking the same size and form as the original.
The new, more flexible mesh replacing the long-standing panels has been chosen with the colobus monkeys’ needs in mind but is also closer to architect Cedric Price’s original vision for the structure; in the 1960s, Price’s plans called for a steel that had both tensile movement and flexibility, which didn’t exist at the time.
“The original rigid steel mesh panels will be replaced with an exciting new - and more flexible - material, which the agile colobus monkeys will easily be able to climb on and jump from,” explained James.
“We're excited to get to work on this ambitious and sensitive restoration project, which will breathe new life into a truly iconic structure - part of the capital’s history for more than 50 years.”
Thanks to a grant of over £4million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund - alongside assistance from other dedicated ZSL supporters - the newly developed space will allow generations of future visitors and schoolchildren to get even closer to the amazing animals at ZSL London Zoo.
James added: “Monkey Valley will reflect our world-leading expertise in animal care and - thanks to money raised by National Lottery Players - engage millions of future visitors, while restoring the former Aviary’s position on the London skyline.
One of the Zoo’s most recognisable buildings, the Aviary celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015, after far surpassing its intended 30-year lifespan.
Inspired by the graceful movements of flying birds, the Snowdon Aviary was truly unique for its time; conceived by Lord Snowdon and realised by architect Cedric Price with structural engineer Frank Newby, it was pioneering in its use of aluminium and tension for support and was Britain’s first walk-through aviary when the exhibit opened in 1965.
It is also a rare example of a completed work by Price – a visionary architect who built very little but whose influence on British architecture still resonates today.
The structure’s restoration has been similarly inspired – this time by the elegant movements of the shaggy-tailed primates who will soon call it home; the impressive leaps of the colobus from treetop to treetop have earned the species the nickname ‘high-flying monkeys’.
- Find out more about Monkey Valley at ZSL London Zoo