Keeping COVID Safe at Chester Zoo
At the weekend we took a trip with some close friends to Chester Zoo for their son’s birthday. In the run-up to attending Chester Zoo, I’d been reading up about other people’s visits to the attraction. How their experience went and how they felt about keeping safe when visiting.
So let’s get started;
How To Keep COVID Safe at Chester Zoo
Like a vast majority of attractions right now, Chester Zoo is only bookable in advance. You are unable to attend the attraction without pre-purchasing tickets. As expected, Chester Zoo is always incredibly popular so we had to book our tickets a couple of weeks in advance as the park are only letting in about 1/4 of its normal daily visitors attend at present.
Upon booking we were given the option of 2 timed entry slots, 10 am or 12 pm. Given there are only 2 timed slots I did expect a gathering of people queuing to enter when we arrived at 10 am but we were very quickly greeted, scanned our tickets and were ushered through the gates. All very swift and super efficient for visitor safety.
Because Chester Zoo is predominantly an outdoor attraction it is easy at times to keep space from other guests at the government recommended 2-meter distance. Obviously, at times this wasn’t so easy to observe, especially if there was a gathering around certain enclosures. On the whole, though people, in general, were keeping a bigger distance than what they would have previously done on a “normal visit” which was great to witness.
Visiting indoor exhibits there were queuing systems with staff placed on the entry and at the exit counting people in and out. This kept numbers low on the inside which certainly made things feel comfortable. There is also a rule in place for members of the public to wear face coverings following the government guidelines in all indoor spaces. Wearing face coverings also includes food areas, shops, exhibits and walkways. It was great to see all members of the public abiding by this rule and also a large number of younger guests too.
Also around the attraction, you will very frequently come across hand sanitising stations. There must be hundreds, I actually thing Chester Zoo should count them up and gloat about this! You will find them on the entry and exit to indoor exhibits, dotted around close by to outdoor exhibits and frequently bump into them in the middle of paths all attached to A-frame boards. Our hands were incredibly well-sanitised during our visit that’s for sure!
Frequently radio messages were played out helping people keep COVID safe at Chester Zoo. The messages were to remind people of keeping to the social distancing rules and also the use of sanitiser stations.
We visited at a weekend rather belatedly for my sons best friends birthday and we had a fantastic day. Upon arrival, it was clear how well the staff at Chester Zoo were taking roles sensibly helping members of the public stay safe at bathroom visits, by limiting the numbers inside and having a queuing system outside. This was the same with all enclosed indoor spaces throughout the whole attraction.
After scanning our tickets for entry to the attraction we headed towards the elephants whilst walking through an array of A-frame boards with mounted hand sanitizers on them. A vast majority of guests taking things seriously used these as passing through which was very nice to see.
We then cracked on and has a relatively normal day at the zoo. We regularly hand sanitised and followed measures put in place for public safety.
At some exhibits we were greeted by yellow lines on the floor, these were usually by exhibits with glass windows or some exhibits with rails where people would put their hands. We had to stand behind those lines, which prevented us from touching the glass or hand railings thus keeping us and the public that little bit safer. There was the odd number of people that couldn’t follow that rule and plenty of younger visitors who didn’t know better either but it was nice to know that Chester Zoo were taking public safety seriously. We particularly enjoyed watching the Sunbears having a good climb and back-scratching moment.
During the course of our day, we managed to visit all the sites attractions which we’d never actually managed before as the site is usually incredibly busy which slows our progress. It was really lovely to walk around at our own pace and see all the site has to offer.
If I have one bit of advice if you are looking at visiting Chester Zoo in the near future, make sure you visit the Realm Of The Red Ape indoor area either early on or very last place in the day. There was a lengthy queue for this until late in the afternoon. We looked to go early on in our visit (mid-late morning) and the queue was already long, so we opted to complete all the site before heading back there late in the afternoon. We joined the queue at around 3 pm and still had to wait around 40 minutes for entry. All other indoor exhibits did show to have queues but the Realm of the Red Ape was by far the longest.
That said we still had a fantastic day and finished our visit just after 5pm after arriving for 10am.
The Gift Shop
Upon leaving we discussed briefly about visiting the gift shop, but the queue was rather lengthy so we decided to give this a swerve as it would have taken a while for us to get in there.
I certainly recommend visiting the gift shop upon your arrival if you are intending to visit the shop during your day.
Overall I am incredibly impressed with everything that has been put in place for keeping COVID safe at Chester Zoo for the public, the staff and volunteers. There is an absolute crazy number of hand sanitising stations around the attraction, so much so the kids were getting rather excited and probably visited every single dispenser between 4 kids on our visit. They were all very clean!
I was very pleased with the yellow taped areas keeping visits back from areas that would be frequently touched, i.e. windows and barriers.
We were also happy about the reduced numbers of guests allowed to go inside of indoor exhibits at any one time. Even with the huge queue for Realm Of The Red Apes, it was clear to see why the queue was so long when we got inside. The paths were rather narrow and there was a lot to see which makes social distancing rather tricky with people moving about. But there was certainly a good amount of people and space in there to keep to our 2-meter distance.
Overall visitor numbers to the site as a whole was comfortable, but bordering on being slightly uncomfortable at times. With there being 2 entry times for Chester Zoo (10 am and 12 pm), the attraction certainly felt a lot busier from early afternoon. Which depending on where you were on the park at the time’s felt slightly unnerving. We certainly spent more time in the afternoon trying to remind the kids (and ourselves) of social distancing. But as a whole other guests seemed to move in a respectable pack. Following the one-way systems (where there were some) and watching out for other guests too.
We certainly had no problems keeping COVID safe at Chester Zoo, we’d thoroughly recommend a visit!
Read more about other places we have visited here.
**This is not a collaborative post. We paid for our own tickets to Chester Zoo. We have not been asked to share our experience in any way. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.