Noah's Ark zoo farm

2021

Photos, graphics and videos are courtesy of and distributed by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm™ and therefore © 

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Noah's Ark gets gold accessibility award

And the accolades keep on coming as this week it is announced Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is the winner of not one but three regional south west tourism awards.

This follow its success at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards when the Wraxall zoo farm was nominated for three regional awards.

The winners were announced via Zoom on Thursday, April 22, with the best tourist attractions, accommodation, cafes, and information services rewarded for all their hard work over this challenging year.

The first ever virtual ceremony for the tourism awards took place via zoom with the best of the tourism sector across the south west attending (virtually).

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm was proud to win not one but three of the prestigious awards:

  • Bronze for Large Visitor Attraction of the Year;

  • Bronze for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism; and

  • Gold for Accessible and Inclusive Tourism. 

The team were particularly thrilled to have received ‘gold’ for Accessible and Inclusive Tourism after a huge push by the zoo to become accessible for all visitors.

Their Ark For All initiative which started in 2018 aims to support all visitors in having a great visit to the zoo.

In recent years, the initiative has seen the installation of a Changing Places toilet complete with hoist and changing bed, accessible play equipment, accessible signs as well as improving their car park to make it more accessible to wheelchair users.

The Noah’s Ark team have also undertaken training in Autism, mental health awareness and British Sign Language. The increase in accessibility and inclusivity has seen a sharp rise in the numbers of visitors with disabilities and their families visiting the zoo.

One visitor said: “One of the very few fully accessible places to visit in Bristol! My daughter had a wonderful time, thank you for including all children.”

This year’s Ethical Responsible and Sustainable Award was sponsored by South West Water which placed a huge emphasis on water conservation.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm harvest a huge amount of rainwater from the roofs of their animal houses which can be used to fill pools for animals and to water plants. 

Noah’s Ark is devoted to teaching the next generation about the importance of protecting and conserving the natural world as well as teaching young people practical skills through their volunteer and work experience programmes.

More recently, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm planted more than 5,500 trees on their 110-acre site as well as installing 100 plus new nest boxes for native birds.

Managing director Larry Bush said “We are absolutely thrilled to have received these awards which highlight the dedication of our talented and committed team.

“Accessibility is such an important aspect of tourism and at Noah’s Ark we’re working hard to be as inclusive and accessible as we can through our improved facilities and through awareness and training of our team.

“It’s a huge honour to be recognised for our progress with these tourism awards.”

Noah’s Ark is open seven days a week from 10.30am-5pm from February to November and 10.30am-4pm in December and January.

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Noah's Ark win at Zoom award event

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is the winner of three  Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards.

After much anticipation the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Award winners were announced via Zoom on Thursday, March 18, with the best tourist attractions rewarded for all their hard work over this challenging year.

The first ever virtual ceremony for the tourism awards where each finalist was encouraged to wear black tie.

This resulted in an unusual combination of work wear and formal clothing for the team at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Managing director Larry Bush and customer experience and events coordinator,Rhian McIntosh represented the zoo at the special online ceremony and truly entered the spirit of the event. 

Rhian said “It was certainly a unique experience to wear a dress with welly boots along with waterproofs.

"However, it reflects the diversity of the work we do here and made us all smile in what has been an extremely challenging year.”

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm was proud to win not one but three prestigious awards.

  • Large Visitor Attraction of the Year silver

  • Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism gold

  • Accessible and Inclusive Tourism gold. 

This is not the first time the zoo has won awards for its sustainable tourism efforts.

Noah’s Ark is hugely devoted to teaching the next generation about the importance of protecting and conserving the natural world as well as teaching young people practical skills through their volunteer and work experience programmes.

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Recently, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm planted more than 5,500 trees on its 110-acre site as well as installing over 100 new nest boxes for native birds.

The team were particularly thrilled to have received the gold for Accessible and Inclusive Tourism after a huge push by the zoo to become accessible for all visitors.

In recent years they have installed a Changing Places toilet complete with hoist and changing bed as well as improving the car park to make it more accessible to wheelchair users. T

he Noah’s Ark team has also undertaken training in autism, mental health awareness and British Sign Language.

Larry said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received these awards which highlight the dedication of our talented and hard-working team.

"It’s a huge honour to be recognised for our progress as a green tourist attraction and an inclusive and accessible zoo.”

​Noah’s Ark is open seven days a week10:30am-5pm until November when it switches to winter hours10.30am-4pm in December and January. 

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ANIMAL MAGIC: More fab photos in the Gallery 2021

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Planting trees at zoo farm

During the latest lockdown Noah’s Ark zoo farm at Wraxall has been busy planting trees - see photos below.

The two phases project saw more than 5,500 trees planted in and around the zoo including 2,500 mixed native hedging whips of field maple, hawthorn, spindle, gelder rose and hazel trees.

This will form hedgerows in the top sheep field to create four new paddocks for its British farm animals rare breed project.

The remaining trees were used to repair pre-existing arable field hedges where sections had collapsed. These areas were removed to enable the establishment of the new hedges, with much of the damaged hedgerow being used as browse for our elephants, giraffes and camels, so nothing was wasted.

In addition, a further 55 larger, established hornbeam, oak, lime and field maple trees were planted around the zoo. This will create extra shade for visitors in the picnic areas and also for animals in their enclosures.

National Grid Hinkley Project added 3,000 more trees at the zoo farm which will form windbreak hedgerows and wildlife corridors on the boundary and between paddocks. 

Managing director Larry Bush said: “Our tree planting initiative is a key part of our commitment to the environment as a green and sustainable zoo.

“Trees have so many environmental benefits including creating clean air, reducing the impact of climate change and of course providing habitats for native wildlife.

“During the past two decades we’ve planted more than 45,000 trees across our 200-acre zoo and farm to provide a lasting legacy for the environment.”

The area of woodland in the UK at the end of March 2020 is estimated to be 3.21 million hectares.

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Covid rules end Christmas tree donations

People have been told not to drop off their unwanted Christmas trees for animals at a North Somerset zoo farm - because it is not classed as an essential journey, writes Bristol Post reporter Heather Pickstock.
North Somerset Council is asking people to stop taking their festive firs to Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm at Wraxall as it is against Government ‘stay at home’ rules.
The zoo farm announced late last year that it was once again taking in trees which they use for animal enrichment and food for their animals - including African elephants, Andean Bears and the lions.
The council says rather than driving to the zoo farm, people should either put their trees out as part of its green waste kerbside collection or take them to one of its recycling centres.
A North Somerset Council spokesman said: "Following the national guidelines to ‘Stay at Home’ and only travel if it is essential, we must ask that residents no longer take real Christmas trees to the Noah’s Ark Zoo in Wraxall.
“Those registered to the garden waste service can put their real Christmas tree out for recycling on the first collection day between Monday and Friday, January 18-29.
“If it is not safe to store your tree at home and you are not signed up to the garden waste service, you can take your tree to the recycling centre but please be aware they are open for essential use only.
"Only one person should exit each vehicle unless you are unable to lift the tree on your own, then two from the same household can do so.
"Please be aware staff will not be able to help with loading/unloading at this time.”
People using the recycling centre are also being asked to stay two metres apart from staff and other users and wear a mask and use hand sanitiser.
Last year the zoo farm was inundated with trees after it was mistaken for a zoo in America asking people to give their festive firs for the animals.
Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Georgia put out an appeal on its social media channels asking for people to donate their used trees at the end of the festive season.
The appeal was spotted by people living in the Bristol area, who mistakenly thought it was an appeal by Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall and the post was shared widely on social media.
As a result the farm was given more than 1,000 trees in just a few days for their animals.

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Zoo closed until further notice, farm shop open

Following the government announcement on Monday, January 4 the Wraxall zoo has taken the decision to close immediately.

If you have tickets already purchased, please contact the office via email on info@noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk or call the office and we can make alternative arrangements or refunds for admissions.

CEO Larry Bush said: "Our animal team will continue to provide the best of care for all our animals and we hope to see you at the zoo shortly.

"We are still accepting Christmas trees.

"We have a drop off point at the top of the car park, near the Farm Shop"

The Farm Shop remains open seven days a week 9am-4.30pm selling a range of local produce including veggie boxes, meats, cheese, flour, eggs and pasta. 

It also sells ready meals cooked by its chefs and take away coffee and snacks.

You can call the Farm Shop on 01275 853023 to speak to staff.

Larry added: "Your safety is our priority so the farm shop holds the Visit England Good to Go award, as well as being AA accredited."

2020

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Open seven days a week

For many of us celebrating Christmas this year, the average Christmas dinner is roughly 1,000 calories. 

For those looking to burn off some of these calories, the main loop around the zoo is approximately 1 kilometer, so in order to burn off your dinner, you need to do 10 laps around the zoo.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is making some big changes this year, in addition to opening seven days a week all year round, they are for the first time ever, going to open between Christmas and New Year.

After a short closing for Christmas from Wednesday, December 23, the zoo will now be open Monday to Thursday, December 28-31. 

The zoo will be closed for New Year’s Day and then reopening on Saturday,January 2, continuing seven days a week for the whole of January and 2021.

Managing director Larry Bush said: “2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, including the zoo. 

"We would like to thank all our supporters over the last year, we couldn’t have made it without you. 

"As we have been closed for so much of the year, we want to offer our members and visitors a safe and fun place to visit during the holidays.”

During the lockdown in November, the zoo took the opportunity to resurface the disabled Blue Badge car park. 

This is a key stage in the zoo’s long-term plan Ark For All campaign to make the zoo as accessible as possible. 

Phase 1 of this plan was competed in July 2018 with the opening of the Changes Places toilet facility and inclusive play as part of its main features.

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Fireworks blamed for zebra death

A young zebra called Hope who was spooked by a firework has died at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Hope died on Wednesday, November 4. Zookeepers think Hope was frightened by the loud bangs from several local firework displays.

This caused her to bolt and she collided with the boundary of the enclosure, said a spokesman.

A post-mortem examination revealed this sudden impact caused her immediate death.

Zoo managing director Larry Bush said: “We’re feeling devastated by the loss of our young zebra Hope.

“She was so full of energy and life and she was a very healthy young zebra.

“It is such a tragedy that she has lost her life, seemingly as a result of fireworks being set off at nearby events which were intended as a celebration.

“We know this was not the intention of local organisers and people letting off fireworks but it does demonstrate in a tragic way the impact that fireworks can have on animals – whether this be zebras, horses, native wildlife or pets in our homes.”

Senior keeper Jayne Gibbins said: “Her birth was a real high point for us in amongst the challenges of having to close the zoo for three months in support of the national lockdown and we are all feeling her loss greatly. 

"As a zoo, we are determined that something good can come out of this situation.

"Our hope is that by sharing this story, everyone will become more aware of the effect fireworks can have on animals.

"We would like to use this tragic event as an impetus for change and we really hope that people will now think hard and adopt alternative arrangements for celebrations, including silent fireworks or more animal-friendly options."

A huge debate on banning fireworks followed when this article was posted on the Nailsea People Facebook page.

PHOTO: Hope and mum

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Zoo is open on Sundays

Noah’s Ark is delighted to announce the extension of our Sunday openings. 

Following the overwhelmingly positive feedback from their wonderful visitors, both last year and this year, they have decided to continue with Sundays from now on. 

This means the zoo will be open for seven days a week until Wednesday, December 23, 2020. 

The zoo will close for a short break over Christmas and will reopen on Saturday, January 2, 2021, seven days a week!

Managing director Larry Bush said: “It seems like the right time to move to seven days a week. 

"Our members’ and visitors have enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere that Sundays bring and as a zoo, we need to be flexible in the current climate.

"We can offer people fresh air and beautiful open countryside as well as the opportunity to re-connect with animals and nature and we believe it’s especially important to do this right now. 

"The zoo was severely hit by the three-month lockdown closure.

"However, thanks to the tremendous support of our members and visitors during the summer period we are in a good position going forward”.

The zoo hopes that all customers will continue to enjoy a special day out together at Noah's Ark and look forward to welcoming visitors every day of the week.

In normal times Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm™ attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually.

It all began in 1999 with lions, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons finding a home at the Wraxall farm.

As well as the longest hedge maze in Europe, visitors can enjoy huge indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds. Currently tickets have to be pre-booked.

For more details click HERE.

Meet the Mob

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Compare the Meerkat is an advertising campaign on British and Australian commercial television for comparethemarket.com, a price comparison website, part of BGL Group.

The adverts feature Aleksandr Orlov, a CGI anthropomorphic Russian meerkat and his family and friends.

Founded in early 2006, the website became the third-largest price comparison website in the UK, after it launched the Compare the Meerkat campaign, featuring a series of meerkat characters.

The tv commercial has helped to make the is a small mongoose world famous!

More than 11 meerkats live at Noah’s Ark which is one of the biggest zoos in the south west.

This slideshow was taken Tracey A. Thomas a West Country amateur photographer with a passion for photographing nature and the outdoor environment.

To learn more about Tracey go to her beautiful online blog HERE.

Because of coronavirus restrictions the daily talk is currently suspended but the keepers are hoping to reinstate a weekly ‘meet our mob and their keepers’ session soon – see the website for more details.

Noah's Ark factfile

Name: Slender-tailed meerkat

 

Scientific name: Suricata suricatta

 

Characteristics: Meerkats live together in large communities and are very friendly towards each other. They work as a group to look out for one another, with some meerkats being posted as lookouts to watch for predators and others being used to hunt prey or nurse the pups. Often pictured ‘standing up’ on their rear legs, these inquisitive creatures are alert to every movement around them. The dark patches around their eyes help to reduce the glare of the sun, making them even more effective lookouts. They communicate by chirping and make shrill sounds to warn each other of potential dangers.

 

Diet: Meerkats are omnivores, which means they eat some meat, fruit and plants. Meerkats will hunt insects but may eat birds and lizards if they come across them. They have little fat on their bodies, so need to forage all day to keep their energy levels up.

 

Size fact: Meerkats are approximately 30cm tall when standing.

Food fact: Meerkats are known to eat scorpions, removing their deadly tail in the blink of an eye.

 

Fun fact: A collection of meerkats is called a mob!

IUCN:  Red list. Meerkats are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN red list.

Where do I live? Angola, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.

Pumpkins smash at zoo

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With Pumpkin Fest on the horizon, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm welcomed back Taunton farmer Luke Downs and his giant pumpkins.

After giving Shaka, the African Elephant, a 14 stone pumpkin in 2019, Luke made the decision to grow three pumpkins for each of the elephants at Noah’s Ark in 2020.

He said, ‘I start by preparing the ground in April and then plant the seeds in May in the greenhouse and when the pumpkins are a decent size, I put them into the ground to continue growing.”

After the three, 14 stone pumpkins were put in the enclosure, the elephants were let in. Shaka, the oldest bull sauntered over slowly, assessing the situation.

The two smaller and younger elephants, M’Changa and Janu, ran over as soon as they realised there was something new and interesting.

M’Changa stamped on the first pumpkin with a loud crack, whilst Janu went on to the second. After a satisfying crunch from Janu’s pumpkin, which was one meter in diameter, Shaka came over to investigate, prompting Janu to back away. Janu went back to help M’Changa finish off his pumpkin.

Alpha bulls will usually be the first to eat and as Shaka is the dominant of this bachelor group, he decides what he wants, and the others follow suit.

Zoo head elephant keeper Sandra De Rek said: “Shaka is the dominant bull and therefore in the bull group, what he says, goes. If he’d have got to all of them first, he would have eaten them all.

"Luckily for M’Changa and Janu, he walked the long way around the enclosure and so the young ones got to enjoy a pumpkin together before he got there.”

Elephants usually eat 150kg of food a day, starting with carrots in their enclosure, so pumpkins was a nice change to the day. It also provides enrichment for the mammals, getting them to use their trunks, tusks and feet to break up the giant squashes to make them bitesize.

After eating 270kg worth of pumpkin, the elephants turned their attention back to their normal sized carrots.

It was a ‘smashing’ day for the elephants!

Pumpkin Fest will run from Saturday to Sunday, October 24-November 1, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

Join them for a mystery pumpkin trial, a social media pumpkin carving competition and yummy pumpkin treats.

Pumpkins are available for sale at the new Noah’s Ark Farm Shop.

Farm shop at zoo entrance

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f you have visited Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm recently, you may have noticed their new shop outside the main zoo entrance.

The Noah’s Ark Farm Shop has popped up during lockdown and is now open for business!

The shop aims to bring local produce to local people and zoo visitors from afar.

Located in the car park to cater to those just passing and those coming to visit the zoo and those just looking for a good local produce.

Whether to take into the zoo as a picnic or to take home for dinner, there is something for everyone.

The new shop stocks freshly baked bread and cakes, as well as a selection of pastries, including sausage rolls and pork pies.

Tasty cheese, crackers, sauces, dressings, honeys and Bennett’s Ice Cream are available as well as fresh fruit, veg and meats all sourced from local businesses in the South West area.  

Fresh tea and coffee from Clifton Coffee to take away along with pastries and snacks which can also be enjoyed in the picnic area beside the farm shop.

Managing director Larry Bush said, “Our farm shop was dreamed up during lockdown and our site team have worked so hard to get this up and running.

"We are excited to work with local businesses and to see how this new venture goes.”
The shop will also sell fresh and frozen meals, homemade cakes and desserts, made with local produce, freshly cooked in the Noah’s Ark farm kitchen by our team of chefs.

The homemade Lamb Navarin, pies, and quiches are already favourite amongst the zoo staff.

Why not pop down to Noah’s Ark Farm Shop, to get a taste of locally sourced amazing products?

Whiskers image wins top prize

A beautiful photo of a Siamang Gibbon with a heart shaped nose captured the hearts of the public on social media during lockdown.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm entered the amazing shot into the People’s Choice category in the 2020 British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) Photography Awards.

One of the primate keepers caught the beautiful close-up image while doing her daily jobs in the enclosure.

The picture was captured while Beatrice took some time to herself away from her rowdy boys.

Beatrice lives at Noahs Ark Zoo Farm with her family group, including her mate Elwood and her sons Sidney, Sultana and Seth.

Noah's Ark managing director Larry Bush said “We are very proud to have won this award due to this time.

"The winders show the important work of zoos and aquariums at an immensely challenging time for the conservation organisations.

"Not only are these zoos and aquariums fighting for a better, wild future, after months of closures they are reeling from the financial impacts of the coronavirus.

"The awards were judged by TV naturalist Nick Baker, knows from CBBC’s The Really Wild Show, amongst other judges.@ 

Competition judge and BIAZA spokesperson, Andy Hall, said: “Huge congratulations to all of our winners!

"Everyday our zoos and aquariums are sharing the extraordinary beauty and fragility of the natural world and this is evident in the incredible winning photos.

"Now more than ever our society needs zoos and aquariums.”

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Goodbye to Genevieve

Genevieve the giraffe has died 'suddenly' at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. 

The zoo, located in North Somerset near Nailsea, received a 'huge shock' and a post-mortem has been carried out, the results of which are yet to come.

It is hoped the post-mortem will determine the cause of death.

Genevieve was 13-years-old and the matriarch of the zoo's giraffe enclosure.

The animals can live 10 to 15 years in the wild and 20 to 25 years in captivity.

The reticulated giraffe, nicknamed Genny, had been at the zoo for 10 years and had mothered four foals at the zoo in Wraxall.

Reticulated giraffe are a subspecies of giraffe which are native to the 'Horn of Africa' in places like Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya.

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm released the following statement on its Facebook page following the tragic death.

It said: "It is with the greatest sadness that we must announce the passing of Genevieve, our Giraffe who suddenly passed away.
"A full post-mortem has been carried out by specialists, the results of which will be returned shortly.

"Genny was an amazing gentle giant, who was loved by everyone.

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"She was a brilliant mum and always had a calming influence on Giraffes and people alike.

"This has come as a huge shock to our team and our thoughts are with our incredible keepers, who have lost a true friend.
"Many of you will have met or seen Genny at some point during the past 10 years, and we’d love to celebrate her life with your memories and photos.

"Kito and Gilbert continue to be our ongoing priority as we all adapt to this change.

"Thank you for your kind thoughts, she will be missed.

"We are all devastated."

Polly and other animals

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A young girl with a love of zebras who helped a zoo during lockdown has received an animal-centric day out!

Despite the dismal weather, Polly enjoyed her day of meeting all the Keepers and animals at the zoo. She fed the reindeers, Bactrian camels and baby Khoomii, the mob of meerkats, tapirs, Bella the barn owl and of course the zebras.

She also helped with the keepers daily tasks and got to meet animals she didn’t even know she loved. 

Polly Robertson, aged eight, visited the zoo to walk the last mile of her 64 mile sponsored walk.

While at the zoo, she was spoilt by all the animal keepers for raising such an amazing amount of money

During lockdown, Polly was disappointed when she couldn’t go to the zoo for her birthday.

Polly, the Zebra, who lives at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm sent Polly, the human, a birthday letter.

This prompted Polly to walk 64 miles - a mile a day - during lockdown to ‘walk the distance’ from her house to the zoo to raise £100 for Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm animal support fund.

Polly, who was then a guest on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show, spoke to the radio host about how she wanted to raise money to help feed the animals at Noah’s Ark.

After her appearance on the Jeremy Vine show, her JustGiving page amount shot up to almost £11k, meaning that Polly had helped the zoo feed the animals for a whole month all by herself!

She presented her large cheque to Noah's Ark managing director Larry Bush.

He said: “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising to help care for our animals here at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm.

"We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is as mad about zebras as we are.

"We have enjoyed spoiling Polly today by introducing her to our animals including of course, our dazzle of zebra including Polly.”

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Noah's Ark is open - tickets online

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has re-opened, following an 88 day closure due to Coronavirus lockdown.

The zoo has adjusted their daily routine to ensure the safety of visitors, staff, and animals on-site.

To open, they have been advised by the local authorities, to open their outdoor space, include certain keeper talks that don’t draw big crowds and close their indoor and outdoor play areas in line with Government Guidelines, and in keeping with public play parks being closed still.

With the installation of sneeze guards in public places, closing down seated food outlets, enhanced hand washing facilities and extra toilets on site, the zoo have made all the right changes to the site to make it as safe as possible.

Using timed entry and limited capacity, the zoo aims to be able to control numbers on site, with added one-way systems in the busiest spots and keeping their animal houses closed.

The zoo was opened by Polly Robertson, an eight year old who raised over £10k for Noah’s Ark during the lockdown after appearing on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show to talk about helping the zoo feed the animals.

Noah's Ark managing director Larry Bush said, “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising efforts to help feed and care for our zebras here.

"We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is as mad about zebras as we are!

"It’s been a tough few months and a worrying time for the zoo and Polly has been an inspiration to all of us."

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Please feed animals plea gets Polly, 8, fundraising

Noah’s Ark is re-opening to the public on Tuesday, June 23 at 10.30am with a special schoolgirl guest of honour.

The Wraxall  zoo farm is home to more than 100 different animals including lions, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons and has been closed for 88 days due to the coronavirus crisis.

With mounting costs and needing £8,000 a month just to feed the animals they sent out a crowdfunding appeal.

And one of the first to answer was a young girl called Polly Robertson, aged eight.

Little Miss Robertson wanted to help the zebras after she received a birthday letter in April from the zebra with the same name.

Polly, the Zebra sent Polly, the human, a birthday letter, because there was no birthday visit due to lockdown.

This prompted the youngster to walk one mile a day for 64 days to equal the distance from her Herefordshire home to Noah’s Ark raising money for the animal support fund.

Polly, who was a guest on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show, spoke to the radio host about how she wanted to raise money to help feed the animals at Noah’s Ark.

After her radio slot her JustGiving page amount shot up to £11k, meaning that Polly had surpassed her £100 target big time and helped to feed the zoo animals for a whole month!

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Managing director Larry Bush said: “We’re bowled over by Polly’s fundraising efforts to help feed and care for our zebras here at Noah’s Ark.

“We love it when people share our passion for animals and Polly is definitely as mad about zebras as we are.

“It’s been a tough few month and a worrying time for the zoo and Polly has been an inspiration to all of us.

“We can’t wait to welcome Polly and her family to the zoo when we re-open and to introduce her to our dazzle of zebras including Polly the zebra and baby zebra Hope.”

Admission tickets must be bought online beforehand HERE.

Adult tickets cost £19.75 and there are concessions for children and groups. Children under two and carers go free.

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Fund to feed animals

Noah's Ark zoo farm at Wraxall is fundraising to feed the animals as pandemic has forced it to close to visitors and it is maxed out at bank.

Managing director Larry Bush said: "Here at Noah’s Ark we rely entirely on visitors for our income – ticket sales and income from the café and gift shop is what keeps us afloat.

"So being closed to the public is hugely challenging for us as we still need to feed and care for our animals and even in lockdown we need a team of 20 dedicated keepers working hard to care for our animals seven days a week.

"This all costs a lot of money and we’ve already extended our borrowing to the absolute limit.

"We are now at a stage where we need to ask for help so that we can continue to feed and care for the 120 species of amazing animals here at Noah’s Ark.

"It costs us £8,000 each month to feed our animals and we are hoping we can raise this amount of money to help keep us going for the next month.

"Each animal has different needs from elephants, rhinos and giraffes to gibbons, giant anteaters and meerkats.

"These are animals with specialist diets and they need skilled care from trained animal keepers.

"We made a video to highlight the amount of food that we feed our animals at our zoo in one day.

"Please do consider making a donation to help us to continue to feed and care for our animals."

So far the crowdfunding has raised £6,391 of its £8,000.

To donate click HERE.

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KHAN IS DEAD: Khan the 17-year-old Bengal tiger at Noah’s Ark has died. A spokeman said: “He was such a huge character here at the zoo and was loved by staff and visitors alike." Khan has lived in the Big Cat enclosure at the Wraxall zoo farm since 2009 along with a female companion, Tiana. He was a bit of a poster boy for the zoo and a great favourite of founder Anthony Bush. Anthony said: "I am especially sad at the death of our very old and friendly tiger Khan, at the grand old age of 17. Like his mate and so many old cats he had suffered from a kidney disease for several months, and was on medication. But all animal life, as human life, has to reach its end. Khan had been a gift to me from the world-renowned tiger breeder Martin Lacey, who had reared him from a cub. It has been a great privilege for me to have received much of the affection Khan had felt towards Martin, transferred to me, as, for most of the 11 years he was with us, we walked together, ran together at the side of his enclosure with just a weldmesh fence between us. Then he would  stop and rub my hand, perhaps many thousands of times over the years, and lie down and rest with me while I introduced visitors to him. I know many thousands of our visitors, whom I spoke to beside the fence, appreciated being so close to such a magnificent, potentially lethal, yet affectionate animal. We thank God for Khan as we ask with Rudyard Kipling: “Tiger, tiger burning bright/ in the forest of the night/ what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry/….. did He smile his work to see/ did He who made the lamb make thee?” A Bengal tiger has an average lifespan of 8-10 years in the wild. Bengal tigers are classified as Endangered on the IUCN red list.

A little Hope in an uncertain time

A baby zebra called Hope has been born at Noah’s Ark in the midst of the COVID19 outbreak.

Mum Polly, aged five, gave birth to the foal on Thursday, March 19, at the Wraxall zoo farm the last day of opening before the coronavirus shutdown.

Zoo keepers decided on the name Hope, to signify to visitors and staff, that in these unprecedented times, there is still hope that things will return to normal and life will keep on going.

Hope will live in the zebra enclosure and joins her father, Zebedee, the rest of the dazzle, including another young zebra called Sprout, who was born in December 2019. 

Senior keeper, Emma Ogborne said: "The news around the world has been dominated by the coronavirus and when Hope arrived safely into the world, she brought so much happiness to the whole zoo team. 

"That's when we knew we had to call her Hope ".

New-born foals are born with their stripes, although they are brown and white. 

The stripes will turn to black as the young zebra gets older.

Grant’s Zebra, a subspecies of Plain’s Zebras, are registered as Near Threatened on the IUCN red list.

  • Noah’s Ark is currently closed due to the COVID19 outbreak. The zoo farm which attracts more than 200,000 visitors annually started in 1999 and is home to lions, tiger, bears, giraffe, zebras, rhinos and gibbons. As well as the longest hedge maze in Europe, in normal times visitors can enjoy huge indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds. For more details see our website: www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk

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MOTHER'S DAY: Spoil your Mum at Noah's Ark zoo farm. Join us on Saturday, March 21, to give all kinds of mum a truly special day, We are celebrating Mum’s by offering a FREE bacon or sausage bap before 11:15am – just tell the ticket office you are a mum! There will be lot’s going on including the opportunity to feed the giraffes for £2 per person between 11.30-noon. And before you go home, why not also write a nice message to mum and hang it on our Messages For Mum Tree Don’t forget to look out around the zoo, for some of our mums including, Arusha, our African lion, Genny, our giraffe and Nola, our zebra. 

  • Please note all giraffe feeding participants must be aged over six-years-old

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Woo @ zoo

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is hosting an animal couples fun trail and fete during February half term.

Come for a ‘date’ at Woo At The Zoo; from coconut shy to skittles, there will be something for all the family. 

Visit the zoo to learn all about the animals’ relationships with each other. Get to know more about their monogamous pair of Mara, Marius and Marilyn or visit the giraffe, zebra and lion families.

Many of the animals share their lives with a special someone!

Find out what the couples like and dislike, how long they’ve shared a home and fun facts about their personalities trail.

There is the opportunity for bug handling with giant African snails, stick insects and cockroaches!

And the café has some new Valentine’s inspired treats from Woo Waffles with a selection of yummy toppings to cream teas with homemade cakes.

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You can work here too!

Noah's Ark is looking for new staff.

The North Somerset zoo farm is expanding and is looking to recruit more than 30 seasonal and permanent staff to its team.

Job opportunities range from animal keepers, park rangers and welcome assistants through to roles in catering, cleaning and gardening.  

The zoo farm near Nailsea needs enthusiastic and committed people with a keen focus on customer service.

Even better, for every member of staff they hire, the zoo will plant a tree as part of its Go Even Greener initiative.

The zoo will be planting a variety of tree species, including oak, hornbeam, beech and silver birch which will be planted in the conservation area at the zoo.

During the past 20 years, Noah’s Ark has planted more than 20,000 trees as part of its conservation work to encourage wildlife and to provide a sustainable source of browse for feeding its animals including African elephants and giraffes.

Noah’s Ark is expanding with a new leader at the helm, Larry Bush.

The son of the owners, Anthony and Christina, Larry brings experience from a 25 year career in international business and most recently as a director of fair trade organization, Traidcraft.

He returned to the west country to become the new managing director in September 2019 and has plans for growing the zoo in the future.

Larry said: “We’re delighted that so many people already love coming to Noah’s Ark as visitors, members, schools and volunteers.

"Our plan is to extend our welcome so that even more people can enjoy getting up close to our amazing animals and experiencing the fresh air, countryside and adventurous play that we offer.

"Part of our plan to be more accessible is to be open seven days a week from April through until the autumn school half-term.”

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm will be opening seven days a week from Sundays, April 5-November 1, that is an extra 31 days during 2020.

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OUTDOORS: Getting out in nature is known to be good for our physical and emotional health but reports are showing that children are not getting out and about enough. A National Trust reports says children spend so little time outdoors that they are unfamiliar with some of our commonest wild creatures, and only 36 per cent of children under the age of 16 have visited the countryside. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is inviting people to blow away the cobwebs in the new year, by walking around the 100-acre zoo set in North Somerset countryside and seeing elephants, lions, tigers, bears and meerkats along with British farm animals and native wildlife. And to make it even more incredible their popular Children Go Free promotion is back in 2020. With the arrival of two little ones, a baby zebra and giraffe, it seems only fitting that there should be more little people at the zoo too. For the first six weeks of the year, starting on Thursday, Januray 2, all Children Go Free with a paying adult. With nearly 2000 people using the code in January and February 2019, the zoo is hoping the offer will be just as well received this year.  Noah’s Ark runs Big Bug Bonanza and BioBlitz events, aiming to get children involved in wildlife, the zoo hosts many educational events to encourage children and their families to get back to nature. Bring all your family to the zoo and enjoy an amazing fun family day out. Use the voucher code ‘FREECHILD’ when purchasing an adult ticket for a free child ticket. Click HERE to buy online tickets.

Onboard Noah's Ark in 2019

2019 has been a fantastic year for the zoo in Wraxall.

This year has marked the 20th anniversary of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm and has proved to be a remarkable year with new animal arrivals, new developments and record-breaking visitor numbers.

It also marks the start of a new era for the family enterprise.

Lots of animals have joined the zoo this year including a giant anteater, two new Andean bears, a baby giraffe, Gilbert and a newly born zebra. 

 The zoo has physically expanded with two new buildings, an enclosure and an extension to the food barn.

The Buttery, so called because of the link to the farms’ dairy history, holds an extra 80 customers.

A new bird of prey enclosure has been built to house the new 11 bird team that arrived in April.

Opening on summer Sundays for the first time has been a hit with visitors and this along with the new animals and some popular events has helped attract well more than 200,000 visitors this year.

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm won eight industry awards throughout the year, including a Fairtrade Award for the café, a BIAZA services to education Award and three Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards for large visitor attraction, accessibility and Inclusivity and ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism.  

 Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm was founded by Anthony and Christina Bush in 1999 after being dairy farmers for 40 years on the farm which has now become the largest zoo in the south-west.

2019 marked the start of a new era with their son, Larry Bush taking the helm at the zoo as managing director after a 30-year career in business and as a charity director.

Larry said: “We’re delighted with the success we’ve seen in 2019 and everyone is now excited about 2020 as we begin an exciting new era for Noah’s Ark.

"In 2019, we opened Sundays for summertime from May 26-September 1.

"And in 2020, we will be open for even more Sundays from April 5-November 1."

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'ARK THE HERALD: Noah's Ark zoo farm Christmas programme is with all the other festive details HERE.

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STRIPEY SANTA BABY: Nola the zebra gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on Friday, November 29, and both baby and mum are doing well. In keeping with the Christmas theme, the monochrome youngster has been fondly nick-named Sprout by the keepers. Nola, aged five, is a very protective mother and will keep very close to her baby allowing them to form a close bond. New-born foals are born with their stripes, although they are brown and white.  The stripes will turn to black as the young zebra gets older. He will live in the zebra enclosure and joins his father, Zebedee, Polly and her daughter, Zenah who was born in September 2018.  He has already met the neighbours, giraffes, and will surely be a great companion for Noah’s Ark’s youngest giraffe, three-month old Gilbert. Senior keeper Emma Ogbourne said “We are really happy to see Zebedee’s second born running around. The herd is getting along well, mum,Nola is doing well, and we’re excited to see if he and Gilbert become fast friends.”​

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Three times a winner

Noah’s Ark the zoo farm  near Nailsea has won three exciting tourism awards for:

  • Large visitor attraction; 

  • Access and inclusive; and

  • Ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism. 

The best of Bristol, Bath and Somerset tourist attractions were represented at the awards evening of Thursday, November 21, the Marriott Hotel, Bristol.

A five-strong team from Noah’s Ark attended and were presented with three silver awards.

This award ceremony was highly anticipated following the announcement of the finalists last month.

And it follows success winning the Best For Little Kids In South West title in the 2019 out and about section of the Kids Family Favourites awards.

This is the first time Noah’s Ark has been recognised for efforts in access and inclusivity with the introduction in 2018 of the Ark For All initiative.

The Ark For All project first stage saw the installation of a changing places toilet, accessible play equipment and signage.

Noah’s Ark is devoted to passing on a passion for sustainability and teaching the next generation about the importance of protecting and conserving the natural world.

The zoo holds regular conservation events and has a free nature trail.

These events encourage children and their families to engage in the world around them and learn to protect it.

The whole team are delighted by the triple award success, ending the zoo’s 20th anniversary year on a high and motivating the team to continue to develop and improve into 2020.

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Pumpkin patch farmers

Noah's Ark zoo farm staff have carved pumkins grown in elephant dung to make harvest festi