Colchester Zoo

Feed elephants and giraffes, watch a falconry display and meet the fearsome Komodo dragons at one of the U.K.’s best zoos.

Colchester Zoo is sure to delight families. Watch the Patagonian sea lions play above your head as you wander through an underwater tunnel. Take a ride on the Madagascar Road train through the lemur enclosure and don’t miss out on the daily animal feeding sessions and impressive falconry displays. 

The zoo opened in 1963 and is now recognized as one of the U.K.’s premier wildlife attractions. Covering 60 acres (24 hectares), the zoo is big enough to house 260 species of animals. A visit can easily fill a day.

Start in the Kingdom of the Wild exhibit, where rhinos, giraffes and zebras wander the plains. Come during the morning and you will have the chance to feed the giraffes, as well as the elephants, in the nearby Elephant Kingdom. In the Tiger Taiga area, see other wild beasts such as the extremely rare Amur tigers.

Continue to the Walking Giants area, where three of the world’s four largest species of tortoise make for an impressive sight. Make sure you visit Playa Patagonia too. In this exhibit you walk through an 80–foot (24-meter) glass tunnel and look up at the graceful sea lions swimming above you. 

Then visit the Wilds of Asia exhibit where red pandas, hornbills and gibbons are among the attractions. Enjoy the sight of the colorful koi and have a laugh while observing the cheeky otters. Near here, you can also see Komodo dragons. These large reptiles are threatened with extinction in the wild.

Check the timetable and decide which of the more than 40 daily shows you want to attend. Besides the elephant and giraffe feeding you can watch the orangutans, the penguins and the tigers have lunch. Several food outlets around the zoo offer a range of meals and drinks if you could do with refreshments yourself.

Colchester Zoo is located 3 miles (5 kilometers) south of Colchester town center. Parking is free and buses service the zoo regularly. The zoo is open daily throughout the year and there is an admission fee, some of which goes towards wildlife conservation.

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