As we arrived at the zoo, we immediately noticed that it was much busier than our last visit. There were several coaches dropping off guests by the main entrance and the car park was completely full. Luckily we managed to find some parking down a nearby side street, though I was slightly worried that it would be incredibly busy inside and whether this may affect our day. I am pleased to say that we had an amazing day out and the increase in visitors did not have any impact on our day at all. If anything it was great to see so many people out and about enjoying themselves ranging from couples and families, to school groups and youth clubs. The weather was in our favour and this meant that guests were able to utilise the large open grass areas and enjoy picnics or treats from the operating food outlets. As a result we found that the attraction didn't seem crowded at all and my initial concerns were quickly forgotten.
As we entered the zoo, my children began to remember the layout of the zoo and where some of their favourite animals were located. Riley immediately ran over to the flamingos, which are situated opposite the entrance, whilst Ben and Emma took a left turn and headed straight for the lions with their dad.
The lion enclosure is fronted by large glass panels, which means that you can see these beautiful creatures really up close. At one point one of the lions was stood right by us and we could see every detail on its stunning face. My children found this fascinating and could have literally stood there for hours admiring them. My daughter took a wonderful photo during our previous visit, which shows just how close you are!
As we made our way along the path, the full beauty of the landscaped gardens became apparent. The pathways looked wonderful on our previous visit during the Autumn, but seeing all the flowers in bloom in the summer was absolutely stunning. Benches were ideally situated all along the walkway, so it was also the ideal place to just have a sit down and relax. The gardens are clearly extremely well cared for and appeared immaculately maintained.
The children then made a bee-line for the Twilight World, which is home to some fascinating nocturnal animals. It is very dark in here, so my youngest son Riley did get a little scared, but with a bit of guidance he was able to make his way around and spot some interesting creatures. However, he absolutely loved the area at the end, which has been recreated into a kitchen area. At first glance you may think, why is there suddenly a mini replica of the inside of a house, but on closer inspection, all is revealed. Riley began peering into the cupboard doors and noticed some small furry animals scurrying around in between the grocery boxes.......Mice!
The reptile house was up next and my children were excited to see the lizards. Riley remembered that we had seen some brightly coloured frogs on our previous visit and he was looking forward to spotting them again. All my children enjoyed learning more about the reptiles, by reading the information signs by each animal. This helps to make the visit to the zoo very educational and it was very interesting finding out some new facts.
One of our favourite areas on our last visit, was the lemur enclosure, so once we had finished our lunch we made our way over to the entrance. It was a hive of activity in here with lemurs circling around above us and jumping from tree to tree. The opportunity to get so close to them is incredible and they didn't seem nervous at all about having guests.
As we left the lemurs we checked the time and realised that if we were quick, we would just make the Gorilla talk and feed session over on Gorilla Island. Their size and beauty is just astonishing and they are an incredible animal to watch and learn about. The talk was really informative and Riley thought it was hilarious how the gorilla's could catch their food with their hands, when it was thrown to them. We learnt all about their diet and how they behave in the wild, which we all found really interesting. We spent a further half an hour on Gorilla Island before visiting some of the other monkeys and watching them play, swing and climb in their enclosures.
The Butterfly Forest offered yet another area of amazement and delight as stunning butterflies flew around us and in an out of the trees. My children enjoyed trying to spot as many different species as possible and Riley was fascinated by the cocoons and learning how butterflies develop. A lovely lady who was there also provided Riley with some information and pointed out things to him through the viewing window. He was mesmerised!
Overall we had a wonderful time at Bristol Zoo Gardens which echoed our previous experience. It was lovely visiting in the summer as it was beautiful being able to see all the gardens in bloom and enjoy the outdoor facilities. It was also delightful to walk around in the sunshine and enjoy an ice cream whilst appreciating the surroundings. We found the talks and information boards really helpful and it was nice to be able to provide the children with not only a fun experience, but also an educational one too. We believe this to be an excellent all year round place to visit and would definitely recommend to others.
Address: Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton, Bristol, BS83HA
Opening times: 9am til 5pm, 364 days a year.
Ticket Prices: Tickets can be purchased both online or on the gate. Prices vary, so please visit the Bristol Zoo website to obtain the most up to date details here: Ticket Information
Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. Opinions and photographs are my own, unless stated otherwise.