After the necessary constraints of the previous two years, many of our visitors said how much they appreciated returning to attractions like ours; just being outdoors and in nature has measurable benefits for physical and mental wellbeing.

Now the colder months and cost of living squeeze are replacing the medical lockdown with a financial one for many visitors, even making travel prohibitive. We're in it together again, with both families and businesses having to budget carefully, and tighten belts wherever we can. 

Running a zoo and conservation charity comes with its own unique challenges.

When things get tough, we can't simply shut the doors and we rely on our visitors more than ever.

To this end we have frozen our admission prices for this year and have various special offers on hot drinks and food.

Visitors are often delighted to find out we're open 363 days a year, only closed on Christmas and Boxing Day. We take our animal welfare and wellbeing responsibilities very seriously, and if we're here, it makes sense to be open (we do also come in and look after them on the two days we're shut, I hasten to reassure!)

It means we can do what we love, of course- welcoming visitors, talking about our animals and conservation work, and opening a window onto our incredible natural world for children.

Visitors are often struck by how much food our residents chomp through, including some unusual bespoke diets! Luckily the mainstay is fresh fruit and vegetables, which we can buy in bulk, and are very grateful for regular food and vegetable donations from local supermarkets and supporters.

Like everyone, we're feeling the squeeze of rising electricity and heating costs. Winter visitors, always vital for us, and even more so this year, love seeing our miniature monkeys and giant tortoises revelling under their heat lamps, but our tropical hall, snake vivariums, and huge marine tanks require constant higher temperatures all year round.

It's a partnership; we couldn't be here without our amazing supporters, Amazon Wishlist gifters, volunteers and visitors, and we love giving back with our animals, conservation work, talks and events. Your ravenous teenager or our Scottish wildcat to feed, as with everything, we'll navigate winter's challenges together!