During this time of lockdown, we have been going out for daily walks. As restrictions lifted we ventured out to the beach. But the children haven’t stopped asking about our ‘adventures’. With Colchester Zoo reopening I managed to book us some gold pass holders tickets. Our allocated visiting time was from 3.30 pm to 4.00 pm. Which is the perfect time for us as we like short visits. This visit would be our first time experiencing social distancing at Colchester Zoo.
Please be aware that this visit to Colchester Zoo was before the 4th of July. The government has announced new social distancing guidelines from July the 4th.
How Does Social Distancing At Colchester Zoo Work?
Colchester Zoo is Operating at Reduced Capacity
This limits the number of people allowed to enter the zoo. When you purchase your tickets online you also select a time slot for your entrance. All visitors need a time slot even gold pass holders. You will not be able to enter without a time allocation.
A Social Distance Route
On the Colchester Zoo app, the map displays a suggested social distance route. There are also paw prints and arrows painted on the floor to help guide you around the zoo.
Red Floor Markings To Keep You Away From The Enclosure Glass
Red markings are in place on the floor near the glass enclosures. This is to avoid making the glass high-touch areas. These are in place with signs to remind you to keep back and not touch the glass.
Extra Hand Sanitiser Stations
There are already lots of handwashing and sanitising stations around the zoo. There are even more sanitising stations in place to help keep your hands clean.
Social Distancing Signs
Many signs are in place around the zoo reminding you about social distancing.
Our Visit With Social Distancing At Colchester Zoo
Our visits in the winter months to Colchester Zoo follow the same pattern. We say hello to the sea lions and the penguins before letting the kids spend time in the soft play. With social distancing in place, we knew that the soft play and outside playgrounds wouldn’t be an option. Having been in lockdown for over three months we were actually glad to be getting out. We wanted to walk around the zoo and see all the animals.
We arrived at the zoo at about 3.45 pm. There were no queues to enter the zoo and we walked straight in. We decided to follow the social distance route that took us past the sea lions first. Well, they are our favourites!
One of the sea lions had ventured out of the tank. The others were very busy in the water. I think it was possibly the time that the keeper talk normally takes place. To help with social distancing keeper talks have been put on hold for now.
We made our way around the zoo spotting our favouite animals. It felt like every animal was out and wanting to be seen. We very rarely spot the lion but he was out enjoying the sun. I was even able to take a great photo of him.
Following the suggested route meant that we saw animals, we wouldn’t normally see. We found the Mandrills and the Cheetahs. We didn’t get to see the Cheetah cubs though as they were being kept hidden away by their parents.
Another highlight of this visit was that we finally got to see the tiger cubs. Well, they aren’t really that small anymore. We had tried to see them on previous visits before lockdown but we were never able to spot them.
Did We Enjoy Our Visit With Social Distancing At Colchester Zoo In Place?
I must admit I was a little worried about how social distancing would work. As soon as we were in the zoo my worries melted away. I’m glad the zoo has taken into consideration the glass enclosures being high-touch areas. This was something that hadn’t crossed my mind. It made me aware they had thought of everything.
The social distancing that then takes place during the day depends on the other visitors. There were a few moments when I felt people were a bit to close to me. But the reduced guest numbers make it easy to get out of situations that make you feel uncomfortable.
We had a great day which turned into a bit of a big cat spotting day. In our below video you can see some of the animals we saw whilst at the zoo.
We even had an unexpected chip dinner during our visit. I hope we get the chance to book another time slot again soon.