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Chester Zoo: islands launch and fact file

  • places to visit
July 22, 2015

Monday the 13th of July 2015 was a big day for tourism in Chester as Chester Zoo opened its brand new attraction- The Islands. At Darwin Escapes we didn’t need an excuse to visit but wanting to check out this newest attraction was too good an opportunity to miss, so this week off we went. It was a beautiful day and after a short journey we arrived, parked with no problems and purchased our ticket. If you are considering visiting Chester Zoo while you are on holiday please find listed a few tips, lots of information and a review.


Chester Zoo houses a huge number of animals, there are currently over 12,000, from the traditional favourites of elephants and giraffes, to white jaguars and black rhinoceros.
Enclosures include the Realm of the Red Ape and the Spirit of Jaguar, there is also an amazing penguin pool with underwater viewing, it is lots of fun to see the penguins diving and playing, Don’t forget to wave to Percy!

children at chester zoo

The great thing about Chester Zoo is that there are very wide walkways, plenty of places to have a picnic and some amazing play facilities, we found 3 with something for all ages at each site. Rather sensibly they have placed dining or refreshment facilities right next to the play areas which is a great excuse to recharge your batteries and have a coffee.

Another great facility is the little touring pushchairs that are available to hire, you see much more of the park if you have a pre-schooler as they enjoyed sitting in the little cars and driving around the zoo.


There are some great options for eating at Chester Zoo, from the Bembe food hall which is right by the entrance to June’s Pavilion*, be careful though the pavilion is right next to the Lions enclosure watch they don’t try to eat your dinner, those hungry lions! *June’s Pavilion is named after the daughter of Zoo founder George Mottershead.
We ate in the Bembe food hall and was impressed by the size of the children’s portion, we had pizza and chips and a very tasty chicken curry and you can choose to eat indoors or outside.

the islands

We were one of the first to visit this brand new attraction as it only opened to the public for the first time on 13th July, the Islands are essentially a step into the amazing Indonesian landscape and includes endangered animals and species that originate in these far flung islands, such as the cassowary and warty pig.

Currently only phase one is open and the other islands have a planned opening date of late August or September. Phase one consists of the Islands of Panay, Papua and Sulawesi.
One of our favourite facilities in the Islands was the boat trip, it takes you on a guided tour of the entire area, very relaxing and informative.

You can see from the pictures that a huge amount of time and effort has gone into creating these immense habitats and it is certainly a joy to visit.

a few tips to help you get the most from your visit:

1. Book in advance to beat the queues.
2. If you arrive early head straight to the Islands Boat Tour for reduced waiting times.
3. There is an all-weather picnic facility for a rainy day picnic near the Realm of the Red Ape.
4. It is possible to pre-book picnic boxes.

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