Families invited to a ‘sleepover’ at Chester Zoo’s Nature Reserve

Free Wildlife Connections Festival take places over a weekend in mid-September with tickets available for a sleepover. Tony McDonough reports

Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo’s Nature Reserve is free to enter and sits outside the main zoo


Chester Zoo is opening up is Nature Reserve for a ‘sleepover’ in September as part of its Wildlife Connections Festival.

On the weekend of September 14/15 the zoo will be holding a free open weekend of family-friendly activities, live music and wildlife spotting at its 14 acre Nature Reserve, just outside the boundary of the main zoo, with tickets also being sold for the sleepover.

Campers be given the exclusive opportunity to experience the Nature Reserve at night, on a British nocturnal safari, guided by the zoo’s UK wildlife experts, before being treated to a hot dinner and refreshments. 

The following morning, sleepover guests will be taken on an early bird tour around the zoo, before daytime visitors arrive. The tour will finish with breakfast in the zoo’s Grade II-listed restaurant, The Oakfield, which was the original family home of zoo founder, George Mottershead.

Wonderful wildlife

Annabella Bashforth, assistant team manager of informal education at Chester Zoo, said:  “The Wildlife Connections Festival Sleepover will offer a unique opportunity to camp at Chester Zoo and experience the wonderful wildlife of the zoo’s Nature Reserve after dark. It’s sure to be a lot of fun and we’re certain it will leave campers feeling far more connected to the incredible species we have living here in the UK.” 

Day visitors to the Wildlife Connections Festival – part of the zoo’s wider Wildlife Connections campaign which is helping UK wildlife by creating new areas of habitat in gardens, parklands and community spaces – will enjoy storytelling sessions and hands-on conservation activities, live music, theatre and family games.

Protected habitat

Chester Zoo’s Nature Reserve provides protected habitat for a variety of species of local and national significance, such as kingfishers, hedgehogs and harvest mice. It features wildflower meadows, ponds, beetle banks, log piles, trees and a reed bed, with a hide for viewing the wildlife.

Conservationists from the zoo have long been fighting to protect habitats and species in the UK, from rare bats to threatened butterflies and critically endangered plants. 

The Wildlife Connections Festival at Chester Zoo’s Nature Reserve is free, with no tickets required. Tickets must be purchased for The Wildlife Connections Sleepover and can be booked by clicking here. Prices are £34 for children and £59 for adults and includes a hot dinner, hot drinks and breakfast.

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