Bristol Zoo

So much to see at Bristol Zoo

Always a friendly face at Bristol Zoo
Always a friendly face at Bristol Zoo

So much to do and see

Bristol zoo has always played a big part in my life. From days out as a child, watching Johnny Morris on the TV, taking my own children and going on school trips. I have seen it grow and transform into the conservation and education that it is today. Situated on the outskirts of Bristol on the downs, the zoo has a calm atmosphere enhanced by the wonderful plants and well tended beds of flowers. Having said that there is plenty to do and see. Rangers at the zoo give well informed talks throughout the day and are willing to answer questions. There is the amazing animal show, the feeding of the seals and the gorillas, face painting, the lemur walk-through and so much more.

Amazing animals

Rio the Macaw at Bristol Zoo
Rio the Macaw at Bristol Zoo

The amazing animals

The animals displayed natural behaviors and was not forced to do anything
The animals displayed natural behaviors and was not forced to do anything

The amazing animal show

On the main lawn every hour is the amazing animal show.  The animals come on from behind a board coaxed out by food. The show is not forced, but the animals come out while a presenter talks about it. There was Rocky the raccoon, Archie the armadillo, Rio the Macaw and Collin the red ruff lemur. Rocky picked out raisins from a tree log, showing his natural behaviour and dexterity.  Archie eventually scurried out to eat his food and wooed the crowd with his eagerness to eat.  Rio, flew around the lawn showing his spectacular plumage. While Colin decided not to come out at the 1 pm show, but appeared at the 2pm show and showed his natural climbing and jumping behaviours, coaxed by food.  This is what I liked about the show, the animals were in charge, They did what they wanted, nothing outside their natural behaviours, and the presenter allowed the show to go with the animal.

Grey Atlantic seals at Bristol Zoo

Attari the Male Atlantic seal showing his teeth,so he doesn't have to be put out to be examined by a vet.
Attari the Male Atlantic seal showing his teeth,so he doesn't have to be put out to be examined by a vet.

The Bond between the keepers and the seals

The bond between the people and the animals was very evident and very sweet
The bond between the people and the animals was very evident and very sweet

Feeding time with the seals

At 3pm the seals were being fed so we went along to see. When we got there the seals were already working the crowd. Attari, the big male seal was swimming around the pool infront of the gathering crowd.  He proudly eyed the crowd and played with his two mates, Nina and Mary. Then he sensed something and made his way to a hidden door in the rocks and waited, not for long, as the 3 keepers arrived.  Then Attari showed us what he could really do.  Two keeper fed the seals while the third gave an informative talk about the seals.  It was explained that the seals had been trained to do some rudimentary movements, not for entertainment, but so they could be examined, without the need to be anesthetized.  The keepers used a target and a whistle so the seals could lift a flipper, open their mouths and lie out.  Again the animals were in charge and only showed natural behaviors and were not forced. you could clearly see the bond between the keepers and animals. It was rather sweet, sorry if that sounds twee, but it was true.

Feeding and training the seals

Explorer's Creek

A Lorikeet at Bristol zoo
A Lorikeet at Bristol zoo

Other things to do at Bristol Zoo

The explorer's Creek was our next stop. Outside was a children's play area and inside a humid area with plants exotic birds and a waterfall. At one end you could buy nectar and feed the lorikeets. With instruction from the staff, you held out the small pots and the birds would land on your arm and feed. It seemed very popular with families. We then went to see Jock, and his family of Lowland Gorillas. Unfortunately he had just been fed and like all males was having a doze, while the kids were squabbling. The scene seemed very familiar! We then went to listen to a talk about Kamala, the Asiatic lion. it was quite a shock to hear how endangered this animal is. There are only about 350 of this species of lion left in the world. As the ranger, who was giving the talk pointed out.'There were more people in the zoo that day, than Asiatic Lions in the whole world.' The ranger stayed and answered many questions from the crowd and spent a lot of time with the children. other high-lights of our day were the butterfly house, bug world, twilight world and the Meerkat talk.

A family of Meerkats

We listened to a very interesting talk about Meerkats at Bristol Zoo
We listened to a very interesting talk about Meerkats at Bristol Zoo

Future events

We were exhausted after our day out. There really was SO Much to do and see. We are planning another visit to see some of the things we missed. It has to be said that it was the best day out we have had for a long time and I can highly recommend Bristol zoo to anyone interested in animals. I learned so much. I also didn't know that the zoo runs so many events. There is an outside carol concert at Christmas, A bangless firework display in November and in the summer an outside musical event called 'Boogie for Brizzle'. They also run Keeper for the day, which seemed very popular and not too expensive.

The lorikeets

The beautiful Lorikeets that you can feed with a tub of nectar
The beautiful Lorikeets that you can feed with a tub of nectar

The red ruff lemur

They are so cute and inteligent.  How wonderful are the lemurs at Bristol Zoo
They are so cute and inteligent. How wonderful are the lemurs at Bristol Zoo

Meerkats

A new enclosure for the meerkats at Bristol Zoo which allows people to view these wonderful creatures up close
A new enclosure for the meerkats at Bristol Zoo which allows people to view these wonderful creatures up close

Beautiful butterflies

The butterfly forest at Bristol Zoo allows people to view these rare butterflies up close
The butterfly forest at Bristol Zoo allows people to view these rare butterflies up close

A proud mother

The proud lioness sits with one of her cubs at Bristol Zoo.  It is hard to see but she is sat besides one of her cubs
The proud lioness sits with one of her cubs at Bristol Zoo. It is hard to see but she is sat besides one of her cubs

Tropical birds

The tropical birds come in many shapes and sizes at Bristol Zoo
The tropical birds come in many shapes and sizes at Bristol Zoo

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Comments 13 comments

BristolBoy profile image

BristolBoy 3 years ago from Bristol

Good hub, as someone who grew up going to bristol zoo out brought back memories!


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks healthinfo for your comment and I hope you enjoy your visit to the zoo.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

I'm sorry, I don't have any information back that far, but I will make some inquiries.


Designaka profile image

Designaka 6 years ago

I'm looking for images from 19th Century Bristol Zoo? All I can find on the 'net so far is an 1855 engraving of lions and an 1854 photograph of a Great Horned Owl. I do have a few photocopied maps – 1886, 1894, 1899. That's all. Considering the zoo opened in 1836 there doesn't seem to be much recorded before 1900. Can anyone help?


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Good memories and good times at Bristol Zoo. Thanks for the comment Bristolboy I'm glad you love the zoo too.


BristolBoy profile image

BristolBoy 6 years ago from Bristol

Bristol Zoo is an amazing place which I have been to several times - the last time was in fact my end of school prom!


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks ethel for the comment. Zoos certainly are not the places they were when I was young. The emphasis now is now much more on conservation and education, and the enrichment of of animals life. They are places now to see animals display only natural behaviors, in as much as possible a natural environment. Johnny Morris-ah those were the days-LOL


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I know Zoos are not THE places these days but I loved London Zoo. Bristol sounds good. Johnny Morris eh. He brings back memories


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks everyone for the comments, Bristol zoo certainly sparks memories for many of us of a certain age. Johnny Morris was animal magic, i loved the voices he gave the animals. Thanks again for the comments


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 6 years ago from The English Midlands

Sounds good!

I've never been to Bristol Zoo, but I certainly remember Johnny Morris. Was it 'Animal Magic'? (I get mixed up with Desmond morris and 'Zoo Time'.)


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

This sounds like a great day out with a lot of fun. Thank you for taking us on this trip.


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

Memories of Bristol zoo from when I was a kid. We took my children there and now we're taking our grand children there. What a great day out. Thanks jayjay, a great hub.


Super Chef profile image

Super Chef 6 years ago from Around the world

Great hub jayjay keep up the good work.

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