Colchester Zoo – One of the Best Days Out in Essex

One of the Zoo's Lions
One of the Zoo's Lions

Colchester Zoo is one of the finest zoos in the UK, and certainly one of the biggest visitor attractions in Essex. It is the zoo that was featured on Channel 5’s Zoo Days with Konnie Huq. The zoo is home to many of the popular African animals including elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebra and lions as well as tigers and many other animals from all over the world. Possibly the most famous resident is Rajang, the 41 year old male orangutan. The zoo has over 260 rare and endangered species. It also has many interactive areas including the Wild About Animals Theatre, where snakes and bugs can be touched. The latest update to the zoo is a new Orangutan Forest enclosure, where the orangutans can live a more natural lifestyle while still being visible to the public.

Special Events

Colchester Zoo holds many special events throughout the year especially during Easter, the Summer and Halloween. The Christmas Celebrations at the zoo are always very popular.

Tiger Taiga

A parrot at the zooThe zoo has several tigers, which prowl around in their own domain. Often in the summer they are seen sheltering from the sun under the cover of vegetation or inside their shelters.

Lion Rock

One of the most popular parts of the zoo is the Lion Rock, where several African lions can be found.

White Tiger Valley

Home to a beautiful Bengal White tiger called Sascha. The enclosure provides a jungle style environment for Sascha to ensure he stays comfortable.

Tiger Taiga at Colchester Zoo
Tiger Taiga at Colchester Zoo

Opening Times

  • Open daily except Christmas Day
  • 09:30 – 18:30 Summer holidays
  • 09:30 – 18:00 Easter – September, June & July to start of holiday.
  • 09:30 – dusk (or 5pm if later) October – March

Operating Hours: Last admissions are one hour before closing. Customer services, catering and Retail outlets will usually close at least one hour prior to the Zoo grounds. Please note that the zoo car parks close a maximum of 30 minutes after the zoo closes. Colchester Zoo is a full day out, so do get there early!

Rajang the Orangutan at Colchester Zoo
Rajang the Orangutan at Colchester Zoo

Address and Location

Colchester Zoo
Maldon Road
Essex CO3 0SL
Tel: 01206 331292
Fax: 01206 331392

View Map



Lion Eats Barn Owl

In January 2012 Colchester zoo appeared in the national press (ThisisLondon, The Guardian) after an unlucky barn owl landed in the lion enclosure and was very quickly caught and eaten in front of terrified visitors. One visitor reported that “women and children were screaming” when the lion attacked.

It is a shame that a prized owl was lost during a falconry display, however, the event was a good reminder that lions are wild animals.

One Comment on “Colchester Zoo – One of the Best Days Out in Essex”

  1. Colchester Zoo are very sad to report the death of Sasha the white tiger on the afternoon of 15th December, 2010.

    Sasha the white tiger one of Colchester Zoo’s best loved and most popular animals died peacefully during his sleep on the morning of Wednesday 15th December. Sasha was 15 years old and had been at Colchester Zoo since his arrival from Zoo Parc de Beauval in January 1998.

    For the last two weeks Sasha had displayed a number of concerning symptoms including a loss of appetite, greatly reduced locomotion, general lethargy and a small haemorrhage of the nose.

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