Northumberland zoo reopening to visitors with new animals and a new name

Northumberland College Zoo, in its campus at Kirkley Hall, has been closed for the past three months due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The training zoo, which develops students’ skills and gives them practical experience, announced its reopening last week with pre-booked tickets now on sale to welcome back families to the popular attraction on from Saturday, July 18.

Since the reopening was announced on social media, more than 80% of available tickets have been snapped up by those eager to visit and enjoy the zoo’s 150 species of mammals, birds and reptiles, with a limited number remaining for this weekend.

Lee Lister, Northumberland College’s associate principal for land-based education, said: “We are very excited to welcome visitors back to the zoo from Saturday.

“We have been humbled by the emails, donations and offers of support while we have been closed during this difficult time. We really appreciate it.

“In addition to our new name, there will be a number of new arrivals alongside the familiar faces.

"To ensure families can enjoy their visit safely, we have put a number of restrictions in place in line with government guidance.”

Ticket numbers are restricted to comply with social distancing and are being sold in blocks of 20 minutes from 10am and from 1pm.

The tickets will be for access to the zoo grounds only and one-way paths will be in place to ensure social distancing is maintained.

Parking at the zoo is free, with a range of snacks, hot and cold drinks, ice cream and gifts available to purchase from the kiosk in the picnic area within the zoo grounds.

Throughout lockdown, dedicated zookeepers moved away from their families and on site to ensure the animals were cared for, with welfare plans put in place which saw over four months of food pre-ordered.

Tickets are priced at £4.95 for children aged 3-17; £6.95 for adults; £5.95 for concessions; and £21.95 for a family pass (two adults and up to three children) and must be booked in advance via www.northumberlandcollegezoo.co.uk.