Christmas at Whipsnade Zoo

3 Dec - 24 Dec 2022

Get into the festive spirit with a fun-filled, family day out at Whipsnade Zoo this Christmas. With traditional fairground rides, interactive storytelling, festive animal talks and our Walk of the Week guided tours, there’s something for everyone.

Available all year round and already a favourite with our regular visitors, choose your favourite animal and take a whirl on our classic Carousel*. 

Plus, joining us just for the festive season, you’ll be able to jump aboard our Wooden Swing Boats*, Spinning Teacups* and Chairoplane* rides. These traditional fairground rides* are sure to be a hit!

In the Rainforest Room, Santa and his elves are on a mission to make Christmas more sustainable. Accompany them on their journey to the rainforest to save Christmas, meeting Kahawa the frog, Msitu the elephant and Mafuta the chimp along the way. This interactive puppet show runs twice per day on weekends from 3 December, then 17-24 December and is perfect for kids 5+. 

Join an animal talk with a winter twist. Learn how wolverines, penguins, tigers and many of our other animals adapt to the chilly weather. Check what’s on boards at the Zoo for daily talk times. 

In addition to our festive animal talks, on selected dates this Christmas, you can join a free Walk of The Week around the Zoo. With different themes each week, spend an hour with our experts and get out and about in the fresh, winter air. For dates and themes, head over to the Walk of the Week page. 

December also sees the return of Meet Santa at Whipsnade Zoo, where children are invited to meet Father Christmas along with some of the best company the animal kingdom has to offer. See further down the page for more information.

BOOK ZOO TICKETS NOW

All tickets must be booked online in advance. The above ticket link is for Zoo entry tickets only. Please see below for Meet Santa ticket information.

All visitors will need a valid Zoo ticket or ZSL membership, in addition to any Meet Santa ticket, in order to enter the Zoo. Members, Fellows and Patrons will be granted Zoo entry on arrival simply by showing their membership card.

*additional charges apply, paid for with cash or card on site. 


Meet Santa at Whipsnade Zoo 2022

10 – 11 and 16 – 24 December.
ZSL Gold Member, Fellow, and Patron exclusive dates: 3 and 4 December.

 

Meet Santa – £15

Little ones can join in festive crafts before meeting Father Christmas in his magical grotto. Every child who meets Santa will receive an early Christmas gift to take home.
A limited number of additional sessions have been added on Friday 16 December for this event. Please click on the link below for available times. 

BOOK MEET SANTA

The above link is for Meet Santa sessions at Whipsnade Zoo only. For Meet Santa at London Zoo, please click here.
 

All other Whipsnade Zoo Meet Santa sessions are sold out 

Meet Santa Gold Member, Fellow and Patron Exclusive sessions, Meet Santa Relaxed sessions and Meet Santa Animal Gift-Giving sessions at Whipsnade Zoo are now sold out for 2022. 
 


Missed out on your preferred date or want to be the first to know about future events?

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Important information for Meet Santa

Members, Fellows and Patrons will be granted Zoo entry on arrival simply by showing their membership card. Child members wanting to see Santa will need a Meet Santa ticket. Membership alone only provides access to the Zoo.
All other visitors, including Under 3s and any non-members accompanying members, will need a valid Zoo ticket in addition to any Meet Santa ticket in order to enter the Zoo.
The Meet Santa ticket alone does not include Zoo admission.
For Meet Santa a maximum of 3 children can be added per booking onto a single time slot. If you require more than 3 Meet Santa tickets, you will need to book more than one slot to allow everyone to have enough time with Santa. If two slots are booked within the same session time, you can all still enter the grotto together.
A maximum of 2 adults per booking can accompany children into the grotto.

Full event T&Cs apply.
 

Meet Santa FAQs

When do Meet Santa 2022 tickets release?

Meet Santa tickets for both Zoos will be released on 13 October. The ticketing links will be sent out first via email to those who have pre-registered their interest. Gold members, Fellows and Patrons will get a priority booking window ahead of other bookers.

Will London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo tickets be released at the exact same time?

Tickets for both Zoos will be released on the same day, but you may find there’s a slight gap between the London and Whipsnade Meet Santa emails. 

How do I book Meet Santa tickets for 2022?
  1. Tickets are booked on the website for Meet Santa at Whisnade Zoo. If you registered your interest in advance for Meet Santa, you’ll receive an email with direct links to booking as soon as tickets are released. If you pre-registered for both Zoos, please ensure you’ve opened the right email before booking. 
  2. If you didn’t pre-register, any remaining tickets will be released for booking on this Meet Santa page.
  3. Choose your session type (Meet Santa, Meet Santa Relaxed etc) and click the relevant link.
  4. Choose your date and time.
  5. Add your ticket types. 
  6. Please note: You can add a maximum of 3 children. For Whipsnade Zoo, the child ticket types are separated into age groups (under 3; 3-6; 7-10; and 11+) this year. Please choose the correct age for each child to ensure they receive an appropriate gift. There’s also a limit of 2 adults per booking.
  7. If required, you can then add admission tickets for your party. Members, Fellows and Patrons will be granted Zoo entry on arrival simply by showing their membership card, but any accompanying non-members will need an admissions ticket alongside their Meet Santa ticket in order to enter the Zoo.
  8. Checkout and payment.
I’d selected my tickets and got close to payment, but now I’ve got a message saying my basket is empty. What happened?

Meet Santa tickets are very popular every year and unfortunately that means that the last tickets for a date or time can sell out while you’re in the middle of choosing your tickets or added extras. If this happens please try selecting a different date or time slot.

An extra item called ‘family booking’ has been added to my basket. What is it?

This is automatically added to your booking to help our ticket system count the number of bookings being made. There’s no cost and it is not a ticket of any kind. 

Why do I have to choose an age bracket on the ticket for my child this year?

The age brackets ensure that Santa can give your child the perfect present. 

What age bracket do I choose if my child’s birthday falls between booking and the actual event?

We’d recommend you choose the age bracket relevant to the age your child will be at the experience, so they receive an appropriate present from Santa.

What dates are available for Meet Santa this year?
  • Meet Santa
    Weekends from 10-11, then 17-24 December; session times throughout the day.
  • Meet Santa Gold Member, Fellow and Patron Exclusive Sessions
    3 and 4 December; session times throughout the day.
  • Meet Santa Relaxed Sessions
    3 and 4 December at 9.10am and 9.40am.
  • Meet Santa Animal Gift-Giving
    10, 11 and 17 – 24 December at 8.30am. 

 

Will there be any Gold member, Fellows and Patrons exclusive or preview dates for Whipsnade Zoo’s Meet Santa event?

Yes, this year our Gold members, Fellows and Patrons exclusive sessions take place across the first weekend of the event: 3 and 4 December. 

NOTE: There are also relaxed sessions at 9.10am and 9.40am on both of these dates that are open to all bookers, not just Gold members, Fellows and Patrons. 

What Meet Santa session types are available at Whipsnade Zoo?
  • Meet Santa
    Little ones can join in festive crafts before meeting Father Christmas in his magical grotto. Every child who meets Santa will receive an early Christmas gift to take home. £15 per child.
  • Gold Member, Fellow and Patron exclusive Meet Santa session
    Same experience as Meet Santa. Only available on 3 and 4 December at discounted rate of £13.50 per child.
  • Meet Santa Relaxed session
    Includes the same experience as Meet Santa, but with limited lights, sounds and other sensory stimulation, for those with additional needs. £15 per child.
  • Meet Santa Animal Gift-Giving
    As well as meeting the man himself and receiving an early Christmas present, little ones will prepare some food or enrichment and deliver it to our animals, take a special tour of the Zoo with one of our presenters and enjoy a scatter feed for another of our species! £40 per child.
What is a relaxed/quiet Meet Santa session?

We appreciate that the Zoo and our events can be quite loud or overwhelming for some visitors. Our Meet Santa Relaxed Sessions offer visitors with additional needs a more comfortable experience. This may mean less lighting, reduced noise, and off-peak times to limit the number of visitors on site.

Which animals will I get to make enrichment for as part of the Meet Santa Animal Gift-Giving Sessions at Whipsnade Zoo?

This is subject to availability on the day of your experience, but children will get to deliver their enrichment to one species and do a scatter feed with another species.

Is there a maximum number of children I can book onto the Meet Santa event?

There’s a maximum of three children per booking, but if you wanted to book for more children, you’d just need to make two online bookings. If booked into the same time slot, we’ll do our best to allow the children to enter together; the limit per booking just allows us to manage the time slots and capacities of the event. 

How many adults can accompany the children taking part?

At Whipsnade Zoo, a maximum of 2 adults per booking may accompany children, due to limited space in the grotto. Please add these free ‘Accompanying Adults’ tickets to your basket along with your children’s tickets. Any adults without a ticket will not be allowed to enter the grotto area, with the exception of carers. 

I’ll be bringing an under 3 along but I don’t want them to meet Santa or receive a gift. Do they need a ticket?

If you do not wish for them to meet Santa or receive a gift, they do not need a ticket. If you wish for them to participate in the experience in any way, you must book them an under 3s Meet Santa ticket.  

​​​​​​​Do I need a Zoo entry ticket alongside my Meet Santa ticket in order to access the experience?

Members, Fellows and Patrons will be granted Zoo entry on arrival simply by showing their membership card. Child members wanting to see Santa will need a Meet Santa ticket. Membership alone only provides access to the Zoo.
All other visitors, including Under 3s and any non-members accompanying members, will need a valid Zoo ticket in addition to any Meet Santa ticket in order to enter the Zoo.
The Meet Santa ticket alone does not include Zoo admission.

Where will the Meet Santa grotto be at Whipsnade Zoo this year?

Santa’s grotto is at Lookout Lodge this year. For Meet Santa, Meet Santa Relaxed and Meet Santa Gold member, Fellow and Patron sessions, your experience will begin there. For Meet Santa Animal Gift-Giving sessions, your experience will begin at the meeting point next to the Visitor Centre where you will be met by a member of staff. 

Will Meet Santa take place outside or inside?

All Meet Santa experiences will include both inside and outside activities, so please ensure you wrap up warm.

Is the Meet Santa event wheelchair accessible at Whipsnade Zoo?

Santa’s grotto is fully accessible for standard-sized wheelchairs. The craft element of Meet Santa may take place outdoors (fully accessible) or indoors (via one-step access) depending on availability. Please let our event staff know when you arrive if you require accessible crafts. An accessible toilet is available nearby the lodges.

As part of the Animal Gift-Giving experience, there is a tour lasting up to 15 minutes. Since the animals visited and routes taken during this experience may vary, at this time we regret we cannot guarantee this activity will be fully accessible.

How long do the sessions last at Whipsnade Zoo?

Meet Santa, Meet Santa Relaxed sessions and Meet Santa Gold Member, Fellow and Patron Exclusive sessions last up to 30 minutes. 

Meet Santa Animal Gift-Giving sessions last up to 1 hour 30 minutes.

What will Whipsnade Zoo offer at Christmas this year after Meet Santa sells out?

We’ll have storytelling and a themed talk programme on offer. We’ll release more details about our Christmas offering at Whipsnade on this page, so keep checking back for the latest information. 

I’ve booked Meet Santa tickets for the wrong Zoo. Can I just show up to the other Zoo or can you exchange the tickets for me?

Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Tickets are only valid at the Zoo the booking was made for. 

I’ve made my booking but haven’t received a confirmation email or my tickets yet.

Confirmation emails can take a little while to come through so please be patient and check Junk or Spam folders. If there’s still nothing, you can access your booking details and download your tickets using your booking number and email address through the SEE Tickets customer support centre.
 

I couldn’t get a ticket when they released, will you be releasing any more?

Once a session has sold out, unfortunately we don't expect to be able to release any more tickets.

I have a question or problem regarding my tickets. Who should I contact?

Most questions will be answered by our FAQs which can be found here: 

If you have already made a booking and have a query about your booking, please quote your booking reference in the SEE Tickets Customer Service portal:

If you do not already have a booking and your question is not answered in the FAQs, contact ZSL’s Supporter Contact team on 0344 225 1826 or generalenquiries@zsl.org

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