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Advice sought on how to save money when visiting multiple UK zoos

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Baldur, 15 Mar 2011.

  1. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    I became a member of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland upon moving to Edinburgh to study for my Master's in January. That gives me free access to Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park as well as to 12 other zoos all over the UK and Ireland (plus Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands):

    Belfast Zoo, Bristol Zoo, Chester Zoo (one visit per year), Colchester Zoo, Dublin Zoo, Fota Wildlife Park, Marwell Zoo, Living Coasts, Newquay Zoo, Paignton Zoo and Twycross Zoo.

    I plan to do some zoo travelling in the UK upon finishing my first semester in April. My plan includes the big-name collections in the south of England and possibly Chester, Twycross and other northern ones; otherwise I will do a special tour of the north later. Belfast and the two Irish places will have to wait for now at least.

    It seems that at least £20 is a normal entry fee in many British zoos, which is not bad if you only visit one or two, but seeing as I plan to visit a fair number over the next 12 months or so, including more than a few not covered by my RZSS membership, I was wondering if there was any advice you had to save some money on zoo admission prices please.

    I have e-mailed ABWAK to find out if I would be eligible for their Associate Membership (I'm not a keeper so not eligible for the Professional one). This includes many zoos which, however, at their own discretion may or may not provide free or discounted admission. I still wait to hear from them.

    Until then, I wonder if there is any British zoo whose membership benefits include free-entry to collections other than those covered by the RZSS, or if you had any other advise for me, which you can provide on this thread or via a private message.

    The zoos I hope to visit at some point over the next 12-15 months that are NOT covered by my RZSS membership are (in no particular order):

    RSCC
    Dudley
    Jersey
    Hamerton
    Howletts
    Port Lympne
    Whipsnade
    London
    Africa Alive
    Banham
    Blackbrook
    Blackpool
    Blair Drummond
    Cotswold
    Knowsley
    Monkey World
    South Lakes
    Thrigby
    West Midlands
     
  2. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    I'm not 100% sure, but is there not a public membership to EAZA that gives you access to EAZA acredited zoos? I don't know if that would take all off your list if it does exist. I could however be thinking of the ABWAK membership, so like I say I could be wrong :)
     
  3. Gentle Giant

    Gentle Giant Well-Known Member

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    As a member of North of England Zoological Society (Chester Zoo), offer over £100 worth of reciprocal free entry at other zoos and attractions listed below:-

    Belfast Zoo
    Bristol Zoo
    Colchester Zoo
    Dublin Zoo
    Edinburgh Zoo
    Fota Wildlife Park
    Marwell Zoo
    Paignton Zoo & Living Coasts
    Twycross Zoo
    Woburn Safari Zoo
     
  4. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    Baldur I don`t know of any other card apart from an ABWAK that would help you out!!
     
  5. Little Lion Man

    Little Lion Man Well-Known Member

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    Completing over 40 hours volunteering at a zoo such as Edinburgh would allow you to get a volunteer membership card. This provides far better benefits than standard zoo year membership and with a biaza letter allow you and a friend entry to any biaza zoo in the UK just email the volunteering team at Edingburgh.
     
  6. Johnny Morris.

    Johnny Morris. Well-Known Member

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    I booked online for Howletts and Port Lympne and saved a few quid. A lot of zoos include a voluntary donation, by declining to give this you can save a few more.
     
  7. Shirokuma

    Shirokuma Well-Known Member

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    Yes, check if you can book online because they might have special rates.

    Also some zoos offer a combination public transport and zoo entrance ticket which could represent a saving.

    I'm sure Colchester offer something like this including transport from London and Marwell have a free bus service from the local train station.
     
  8. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Just had a quick look, seems only zoos themselves can become members, so you're probably thinking of ABWAK, but thanks anyway mate! :)
     
  9. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Ok, seems Woburn is the only addition to what Edinburgh Zoo's card includes.
     
  10. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking of volunteering when I first came here but hesitated as I didn't know how much the work pressure would be in university and I also didn't know how many hours a week would be required by the Zoo. Looking back, I know now that I could have done volunteering throughout January, February and March but not any longer as most of my projects are due in March and April and I will be travelling for much of April and May. But we'll see about the summer...
     
  11. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    No problem :)
     
  12. Pygathrix

    Pygathrix Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget student ID will get you reduced entry in some places
     
  13. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Yep, that's another thing, for instance at the Aspinall places, each charges over 20 so that will come handy there! :)
     
  14. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    So does being a Senior Citizen, if you're good at impersonations.;)
     
  15. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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  16. Rothschildi

    Rothschildi Active Member

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    From what ive read here it definitely sounds like the ABWAK membership will be your best bet, however be prepared for some gate staff at zoo's to be very confused by your membership card. I visited Chester last year, showed my card of the gate and the guy swore in the 8+ years he'd worked there he'd never once seen a card before. He eventually let me in but id definitely ring each zoo before visiting to ensure they are accepting ABWAK members in for free or reduced. Dont want to arrive and be disappointed.

    By the way ABWAK might take a while to get back to your email ive waited a few weeks before i got replies but theyve always been very helpful.
     
  17. Mr T

    Mr T Well-Known Member

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    I believe that if you shop in the Co-op in Dalton and take the receipt to the South Lakes Animal Park ticket office, you will be charged a flat rate of £7.00. You had best email the park to check this though. Also a winter visit might be help next year as this winter admission has been free for everyone, and this may carry on next year.
     
  18. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    I've heard so many stories like this, of gate people not knowing anything about valid offers and cards. An American friend of mine had major trouble getting into Oklahoma's Tulsa Zoo last year using his AZA card. Considering AZA is the 'Alpha' organisation in the American zoo industry (while ABWAK for instance is 'just' a professional body of one profession that works within zoos, i.e. keepers) this is amazing, he would tell me this story several times last year, he was so surprised at Tulsa.
     
  19. Baldur

    Baldur Well-Known Member

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    Seeing as I will be doing a trip around mid-April, I guess I can forget about it with regards to this trip and will just pay where my RZSS card is not valid, but maybe for a later trip... :)
     
  20. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

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    Blackbrook normally have special offers, look on their Facebook page. Admission in March is £2.99