What are the plans for 186-year-old Bristol Zoo site when it closes in September?

Lake View Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Bristol Zoological Society has released more information on its plans for its 186-year-old Clifton site after it closes to the public in September.

Bosses say the community is at the heart of its proposals, which include hundreds of homes, a nature-inspired children's playground and community gardens which will be free to access.

The zoo's chief executive Dr Justin Morris told ITV News the site will be "brought alive" by theatre on its grand terrace and activities on its main lawn.

There will also be more entrances created for people access to the 12-acre site and bosses hope it will be used for community activities.

An aerial view of the site Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

The monkey temple, the aviary and the bear pit will also be restored with new planting and seating.

Bristol Zoo Gardens will close its iconic Clifton site to the public for the last time on September 3, 2022.

A new Bristol Zoo - at the site of the Wild Place Project - is set to open in 2024. The Wild Place Project will remain open to visitors while construction is underway.

  • Chief executive Dr Justin Morris speaks to ITV News' on plans for Bristol Zoo

Dr Morris said: “This is a special place in all our hearts. It has always brought people and wildlife together and it will continue to do that.

“It will still be a destination for Bristolians. It will be a place for the local community, visitors and residents to meet and as we announced before Christmas, the gardens will be open to everyone free of charge for the first time ever.”

There will also be a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating at Bristol Zoo Gardens’ iconic entrance building. 

Plans are being considered for a public art trail featuring new sculptures and displays for both permanent and temporary exhibits. 

The Grand Terrace Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Dr Morris added: “The elements that make this such a special place, such as the secret paths, the mature trees and shrubs and their unique setting, will all remain.

“I genuinely believe the gardens will be a tremendous community asset for all Bristolians, for generations to come.”

The lake, around which the walled gardens are laid out, will be enhanced to improve the habitat for amphibians and fish.

The majority of high grade trees will remain, with new landscaping to improve their health. 

East Lawn Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Dr Morris said: “This is our legacy, a lasting gift to the community of Bristol, which we know will be welcomed and enjoyed by generations of people now and well into the future.”

Bristol Zoological Society has organised a series of public consultation and exhibition events.

For further details of the plans and Bristol Zoological Society’s ‘Strategy to 2035’, and to sign up to the e-newsletter go to future.bristolzoo.org.uk