Bristol Zoo has announced it is closing on the 8th of September.
Falling visitor numbers and rising costs due to the pandemic have meant it is no longer sustainable for the Bristol Zoological Society to maintain their city centre location.
The animals are expected to join others in the BZS collection at the “new Bristol Zoo” which is at the Society’s Wild Place Project. This should be opening in 2024 and is a key part of the masterplan for Bristol Zoo’s reinvention. The sale of the prime location is a key source of funding for this project.
A number of the buildings are listed so the famous Monkey Temple won’t be going anywhere. Also the zoo entrance is going to be made into the Clifton Conservation Hub and the home of the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project. The gardens will remain and in a nice touch they are going to be opened up to the public for free, although I can’t work out who is paying for the upkeep/running – maybe the council?
The rest of the land will be a mix of housing, spaces for education and talks, children’s play areas and presumably a few shops here and there.
It is sad when a zoo has to shut doors, especially one which has as much history as Bristol Zoo. Did you know Bristol Zoo the second zoo to open in England in 1836 (after London in 1828)?
We will have to wait and see if the new Bristol Zoo lives up to the legacy.
Photo credit Bristol Zoo