This post may contain *affiliate links.
Days Out, Life, Motherhood

Chester Zoo tickets | What’s best for Chester Zoo visitors? Could zoo membership be better than tickets?

Chester Zoo tickets - would membership be better

Chester Zoo is one of the most visited wildlife attractions in Britain, with more than two million people visiting in 2019. But if you’re looking to purchase Chester Zoo tickets, there are some things to consider. For starters, you may be better suited to a Chester Zoo membership. Let’s explore if it would be worthwhile for you.

What is Chester Zoo?

If you live in the north of England, then you’ll probably be familiar with Chester Zoo. It first opened in 1938 and it’s one of the UK’s largest zoos. There are over 27,000 animals living there, including elephants, giraffes, lions, monkeys, bears and tigers.

The zoo is set out over four different zones. There used to be a monorail, connecting the different areas, but that’s no longer in operation.

Chester Zoo is open daily from 10am and there’s free parking. The postcode you’ll need for your sat nav is: CH2 1EU. But you can reach the zoo by rail; there are transport links from both Chester and Bache train stations.

Tickets for the zoo

If you decide to visit Chester Zoo for the day, then you’ll need to pre book day tickets on the website. The tickets of prices vary, depending on the time of year.

At the time of writing, the cheapest off-peak tickets cost £23.63 for adults and £21.81 for children, aged 3-17. During the school holidays they rise to £25.45 for adults and £23.63 for children. If you book more than seven days in advance and you’ll save up to £2 per ticket. Discounts are available for students, seniors and under 2’s and carers can visit for free.

A family of two adults and two children can expect to pay between £80 and £95 per visit.

Chester Zoo Membership

It may be that you’d be better off getting a Chester Zoo Membership, rather than a single-day ticket.

Membership gives you the following perks:

  • Unlimited visits
  • Fast-track entry
  • 10% discount in the restaurants and shops
  • Free entry to other zoos and attractions (terms apply)
  • A quarterly magazine
  • Access to Junior members’ events and days out (age restrictions and additional charges apply)
  • A car sticker
  • Invites to member talks

You can opt to pay via direct debit. This means that you’ll pay four instalments over the first four months. The first payment is due as soon as you join. If you have already purchased an admission ticket for your visit, ask and the zoo will deduct that day’s Chester Zoo visit from your membership cost.

Here’s a rundown of the membership prices:

Chester Zoo membership prices

When is membership worth it?

1) You live close by

If you buy a membership, you’ll probably want to ensure that you can use it regularly. So if you live within a 30-minute drive of the zoo, or you’re in the Chester (or Cheshire area) regularly, then membership may be worth considering.

2) You’re a big animal lover

If you’re a big animal fan and you’re interested in how they’re cared for and bred, then you may decide you want to want a membership so you can explore that interest.

3) You want to support Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo has been around since 1938 and many people have an affinity with it. If it’s a place you’ve visited for years and you have happy memories associated with it, then you may decide to purchase membership to support the zoo.

4) Your kids love animals

There’s load of space to play at Chester Zoo, so children naturally enjoy visiting. If your kids are big fans and you think you’d make lots of happy family memories at the zoo, then maybe membership is worth investing in.

5) Going when you feel appeals

We’ve all been there. You spend £95 on Chester Zoo tickets, but ten minutes into the day, your eldest is complaining that they have a headache and your youngest feels sick. You feel obliged to stay, because you’ve spent so much on tickets, but it becomes forced fun.

If you’d like to visit the zoo as often as you want, but for shorter periods and with no self-imposed obligation to stay all day, then membership might be a good option.

5) Conservation is important to you

At Chester Zoo, they work within four key areas of conservations. They are:

  • Populations: Managing the populations species both in the wild and within zoos and breeding centres. They do this through research, conservation breeding, welfare and monitoring.
  • Places: They strive to provide safe and healthy habitats for wildlife.
  • People: They work with people everywhere, to ensure they can to co-exist and thrive alongside wildlife.
  • Policy: They aim to influence businesses, agencies and governments to incorporate effective planning and legislation to protect and enhance biodiversity.

If these are things that are important to you, then you’ll be helping to support this work with a zoo membership.

6) You want the option of free days out

Obviously, your days out wouldn’t be ‘free’, as you’d have purchased the membership. But once you’ve made that up-front payment, you’re free to visit Chester Zoo as many times as you’d like. Parking is free and there are plenty of areas to picnic in, so you could visit and not spend any extra cash.

7) You know you’ll be booking to visit more than five times per year

If you’re big fans of the zoo and you visit a lot, then membership may work out cheaper. By my estimations, if you visit five times, you’ll probably break even. If you go on more than five occasions, then the average price per visit will be driven down to less than the cost of a Chester Zoo day ticket.

Should you just stick with a visitor ticket?

There are lots of pro points associated with having a Chester Zoo membership, but you would have to visit the zoo around once every eight weeks for the membership to be a worthy financial investment. Only you can decide if this is something that’s worth it for your family. If you live closely and you enjoy visiting the zoo, then it’s definitely something to consider.

Check out my days out section for further ideas about what to do with the kids.

membership be better?