Having proudly celebrated its 60th anniversary earlier this year, Colchester Zoo is and oasis of animal wonder that’s home to over 160 species set in 60 acres of parkland and lakes. The zoo contains many rare and endangered species, including big cats, primates and birds as well as many invertebrates and fish species that are sure to thrill both families and wildlife enthusiasts.

©Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo continues to stand as a beacon of education, conservation, and exhilaration. Let’s embark on a journey through its diverse habitats, engaging activities, and the importance of understanding and protecting the planet’s precious biodiversity.

©Visit Essex

Colchester Zoo is a living testament to Earth’s varied ecosystems, housing a captivating array of animals from around the world in a haven of different habitats. Within its sprawling grounds, visitors can traverse continents and climates, exploring nature’s diversity and discovering creatures in habitats meticulously crafted to mimic their natural surroundings.

The Power of Colchester Zoo

Colchester Zoo isn’t just a place of observation; it’s also an learning space where children can learn valuable lessons about the natural world and also develop important skills that will serve them into adulthood. Here are our top five ways that a visit to Colchester Zoo can enrich your child’s development.

1. Education and Curiosity

Zoos spark curiosity, encouraging children to ask questions and learn about different species and ecosystems.

2. Conservation Awareness

Visits instil a sense of responsibility and empathy for animals, inspiring the next generation to take action to protect our planet.

3. Nature Connection

Zoos foster a deep connection to the natural world, nurturing a lifelong love for wildlife and the environment.

4. Critical Thinking and Observation

Observing animals stimulates critical thinking, encouraging children to analyse behaviours and make connections.

5. Environmental Stewardship

Zoos teach about the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability, empowering children to become responsible stewards of the Earth. With plenty of interactive stations to keep enquiring minds occupied children can play music with the wallabies.

Or they can play matching games with their favourite animals.

Enriching Lives Within Enclosures: A Commitment to Animal Wellbeing

Colchester Zoo understands that the wellbeing of its animal residents is of paramount importance. The zoo’s enrichment program is a testament to this commitment, ensuring that each animal’s physical and mental needs are met. Enrichment activities mirror natural behaviours, providing entertainment, stimulation, and exercise that contribute to the overall health and happiness of the animals.

Captivating Creatures: Fun Facts About The Animals at Colchester Zoo

Step into the sprawling expanse of the African savannah, where African Elephants roam majestically, their immense size and gentle demeanour captivating hearts young and old. Did you know that elephants are excellent swimmers? They use their trunks as snorkels while crossing deep water.

Witness the grandeur of Southern White Rhinoceros, nature’s ancient guardians, as they graze and interact, showcasing their remarkable social behaviours. Despite their massive size, rhinos can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour when running.

Stretching gracefully towards the sky are the Giraffes, nature’s living skyscrapers, who saunter elegantly through their enclosure. These gentle giants have incredibly long tongues, which can stretch up to 18 inches to grasp leaves from tall trees.

Explore the secrets of the desert as Meerkats pop up from their burrows, standing guard and entertaining visitors with their playful antics. In the wild, meerkats take turns as sentinels, standing on their hind legs to keep a lookout for predators while others forage for food.

Journey further to discover Kangaroos, the embodiment of adaptability, who famously hop through the arid landscape of the Australian outback. Kangaroos are marsupials, meaning they carry and nurse their young in pouches. Their powerful hind legs enable them to cover large distances in a single bound.

And don’t miss the African Spurred Tortoise, a living relic, quietly trudging along, their slow and deliberate movements a testament to survival in harsh conditions. As a defense mechanism, these tortoises are known to retreat into their hard shells when feeling threatened.

And look out for statues along the way.

Swing into the world of primates, where the lively Barbary Macaques engage in dynamic social interactions, reminiscent of human family dynamics. These social primates live in tight-knit groups, providing mutual support and protection within their community.

Nearby, Cherry-Crowned Mangabey enchant with their inquisitive behaviour, reminding us of the astonishing diversity of life within our natural world. These monkeys are skilled climbers, using their long tails to help maintain balance as they navigate through treetops.

You can also learn about Greater Kudu, whose majestic spiral horns can reach lengths of up to 72 inches, making them a remarkable sight to behold.

Also not to be missed at Colchester Zoo are the Ostriches who are the largest and heaviest birds in the world, capable of running at speeds of up to 43 miles per hour.

A World of Outdoor Play

Through its engaging outdoor play areas, children are transported to a world where play and healthy activity seamlessly intertwine.

These spaces provide an ideal setting for kids to explore, climb and slide adding another fun dimension to their visit at Colchester Zoo.

A New Roar-some Adventure on the Horizon

As the 60th-anniversary celebrations continue, Colchester Zoo has an exciting surprise in store. In early 2024, the eagerly anticipated Dinosaur Realm is set to launch, transporting visitors to a world lost in time. This immersive experience will feature animatronic dinosaurs, including a towering Brachiosaurus that stands just under 5 meters high. Amidst lush foliage, shrubbery, and a serene pool, visitors will come face-to-face with creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, offering an educational and thrilling experience for aspiring paleontologists and dinosaur enthusiasts.

Colchester Zoo is more than a collection of captivating creatures; it’s a sanctuary for learning, conservation, and unforgettable experiences. With its meticulously crafted habitats, engaging activities, and commitment to animal wellbeing, Colchester Zoo invites visitors of all ages to join in its mission to appreciate, understand, and protect the planet’s remarkable biodiversity.

For more information about things to do and places to stay in Essex, go to www.visitessex.com

Colchester Zoo
Maldon Road, Stanway, Heckfordbridge, Colchester CO3 0SL
01206 331292