Christmas is coming to ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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The UK’s largest Zoo will spread Christmas cheer for the whole family when lockdown restrictions lifts

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is ready to bring Christmas cheer to the whole family this festive season - as soon as lockdown lifts across the UK on December 2.

From Saturday, December 5, to Thursday December 24, Whipsnade is inviting families to journey through the wild wonderland on a self-guided trail around the Zoo. Hunting for clues to help find the lost food for Santa’s reindeer, they will discover fascinating facts and see amazing animals along the way.

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It would not be Christmas without the man in red himself, and children will be able to see him during the daily Santa Parade around the Zoo. Riding atop a festive float, guests will hear the jingle of his sleigh bells approaching as he journeys around the Zoo.

Reindeer enjoys festivities at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSLReindeer enjoys festivities at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSL
Reindeer enjoys festivities at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSL

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s chief operating officer, Owen Craft, said: “Christmas at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is always magical, with our huge winter wonderland to explore.

"But this year we all need a little extra magic, and we’re so excited to be able to still bring Father Christmas to our visitors!

“We cannot wait to open our doors again and bring some cheer to all of our visitors. It’s been a difficult year for us all and paying us a visit is one of the best ways you can show us your support – I can’t think of a better place to be this Christmas!”

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When ZSL Whipsnade Zoo reopens to the public it will operate at a reduced capacity. Safety measures on site will include:

Meerkats investigate a Christmas cracker at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSLMeerkats investigate a Christmas cracker at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSL
Meerkats investigate a Christmas cracker at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSL

- All visitors must book tickets in advance – and entry will be contactless

- Limited capacity per day

- 2m distancing markers in place at animal exhibits 

- Vehicle access around the zoo

Christmas at Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSLChristmas at Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSL
Christmas at Whipsnade Zoo (C) ZSL

- Handwashing facilities and sanitiser available throughout the zoo 

- Outdoor benches and tables meticulously cleaned throughout the day 

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- Animal talks have been suspended to avoid gathering crowds.

Funds raised from Christmas visits will help international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), which runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo, continue to care for the 20,000 residents at its two Zoos and protect threatened species around the world.

Tickets are available to book online at and advanced booking will be necessary to manage capacity limits and ensure social distancing on site.