ANNUAL OPEN DAYS AT HEYTHROP ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS
Heythrop Zoo is a private animal training centre not open to the general public. The only times HZG’s premises are viewed by large groups of people are within the context of private educational visits by schools and colleges. However, in September, HZG makes an exception and opens its gates to the general public for only four days. These events allow visitors access to areas only usually available to HZG’s clients in the media industry. HZG also stage various animal training demonstrations, talks and presentations. Parking is free and we have a pig roast and refreshment stand available as well.
Update: 29th July 2020
Dear Supporters of Heythrop Zoo,
After a lot of deliberation, we have decided that we will not be going ahead with our Annual Open Days in September this year (2020). Due to COVID-19 regulations it is simply not possible. We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause. We haven’t made this decision lightly and our animals, staff and our visitors’ health and welfare has been put first.
Instead, if circumstances allow, we are looking at moving the dates to next year over the May bank holiday (dates to be confirmed) and also run our September 2021 Open Days as per usual. If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email email@example.com or complete and enquiry form on this page.
Other ways you can enjoy and help our animals:
Animal Encounters – We have been able to start running a few of our animal encounters, these being the Sloth, Wolf, Tiger, Raven, Squirrel Monkey, Hippo, Penguin and Fox. We will soon be offering the Hippo encounter as well. If any of these are of interest to you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
New for 2020 – Adoption Packs – If you or if you know anyone that would like to become an honorary Adoptive Parent, please email: email@example.com
GoFundMe Donations – Due to financial constraints, we have set up a GoFundMe page. We have never received or expected grants and rarely take donations. We are not a charity but have provided services to charitable causes throughout our existence, including regular visits to care homes, hospitals and hospices. The zoo also provides educational services to schools and colleges. We appreciate that in these very difficult times this is a big ask, but any donation to our fund, no matter how small, will make a difference and be hugely appreciated https://uk.gofundme.com/f/heythrop-zoological-gardens-support-fund
Thank you for all your support you have given us over the years and we look forward to seeing you again next year.
In the meantime, watch our facebook page over the next few weeks for exciting new announcements: https://www.facebook.com/heythropzoologicalgardens
Important Points to Note About HZG’s Annual Open Days:
Our Annual Open Days are normally over the first 3 weekends in September. In addition to this, we will be looking at the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of May as well. If you would like to be added to our contact list for 2021’s open days, please either use the contact form at the right hand side of this page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org directly. Emails normally go out at the beginning of July. If you haven’t heard anything by the beginning of August, please get in touch.
Unfortunately we cannot allow dogs onto our premises due to our licensing – please do not bring them and leave them in your vehicle as the car park is a sun trap – if you bring your dog with the intention of leaving them in the car, you will be turned away.
We can only accept cash or cheque payments on the day. We DO NOT have any card facilities or cash machines on site.
- The zoo premises are at the opposite end to Heythrop Park (Crown Plaza) Hotel. There is NO access to our zoo from the hotel.
- All pre-booked tickets have a map enclosed to Heythrop Zoo.
- There will be small man-made “HZG” signs from the Chipping Norton to South Newington Road A361 and from the A44 by the Enstone Texaco garage.
- The car park opens at 9:30 each day. We may open a little earlier if we are anticipating a very large number of early visitors.
- The zoo opens at 10:00 each day. We may open a little earlier if we are anticipating a very large number of early visitors.
- The zoo closes at 16:30 each day and final admissions into the zoo is 16.00.
- Admission is for a single day entry. There are no weekend passes.
- The zoo CANNOT process credit card payments. We accept cash and cheques ONLY and have no card facilities onsite.
- Pre-booked tickets are paid for by cash, postal order or cheque made payable to Heythrop Zoological Gardens Ltd.
- We have a limited number of tickets for the studio show, showcasing our large carnivores (usually lions and/or tigers). Pre-bought tickets will receive their tickets for the shows through the post along with their zoo tickets. Please understand that we can only legally and physically seat 230 people per show. If you buy on the day, receiving a ticket for any of these studio shows will be dependent on when you arrive at the zoo and if there is any availability left. If all the studio tickets have been handed out, you may not be able to see the show. We appreciate your understanding if all the tickets have been handed out.
- Animal welfare is a priority. At every open day you will be sharing your experiences with various professionals connected to animal welfare and animal behaviour studies. At least one independent unpaid veterinary professional, who specialises in the care of zoo animals, will be present on every day. We invite them to oversee every aspect of our day and offer feedback where necessary.
- There are various other attractions, presentations and shows around the zoo other than the studio show that will be showing throughout the day
- Refreshments, including soft beverages and hog roast, are available to purchase on site.
- No alcohol is sold or permitted on the zoo premises.
- Guests are NOT permitted to bring dogs to the zoo.
- We have very limited access for people with mobility difficulties and pushchairs. We have been advised that we cannot allow wheelchair users or mobility scooters into the studio show due to revised health and safety, and updated fire regulations. Please understand that this is not a decision we have taken lightly and have sought expert advice regarding this matter.
- All photographs and video footage are for personal use only and MUST NOT be posted on any commercial or fund-raising internet websites or used for commercial or financial gain unless written permission is granted by Heythrop Zoological Gardens Ltd. senior management prior to the event. However, please feel free to email/private message them to Heythrop Zoological Gardens Facebook page for their approval. Please do not post image of the faces of any members of the visiting public, especially under 18s, who have not given their consent.
- For more information on our premises, please visit www.amazinganimals.co.uk We also have a Facebook page which we welcome all visitors to share their views and any pictures of your day, please visit www.facebook.com/heythropzoologicalgardens
We reserve the right, at the discretion of gate attendants and management, to refuse entry to the Zoo. We also reserve the right to prohibit from any future entry to the Zoo. Furthermore, we reserve the right to escort off the premises any individual who displays any of the below behaviours:
- Uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards our staff, volunteers or other visitors on site, or disrupts any of our animals
- Behaves in a manner, which in our opinion is likely to affect the enjoyment of other visitors
- Takes into the Zoo or is found to have on their possession offensive weapons or dangerous articles
- Fails to follow the written or verbal health and safety instructions of each area of the Zoo or behaves in a matter which may endanger the safety of that person, other visitors or animals at the Zoo
- Feeds or attempts to feed any of the animals
- Alcohol is not permitted to be brought onto site, and anyone under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be removed from the park and where necessary, the emergency services called
The purpose of our open days was to show our local community what we do. We have been very lucky to have enjoyed the support of much of our local and surrounding neighbours, not to mention those who travel even further afield. Here are some of their reviews:
“A lovely experience for all ages. Well looked after healthy animals. Staff are all nice and friendly an show genuine love an care for the animals. I always recommend people to visit on the open day an will go myself every year 🙂 We are all very lucky to be invited to see what happens just up the road from us 🙂 thank you xx” – Lucia Davanzo, Cheltenham
“We enjoyed your open day so much we come both weekends. its great to see how its all done behind the screens and to see how well your looking after them. it is nice to be able to get close to the animals and see how happy they are. The show was informative and amazing, you can feel the power from the Big Cats. Thank you for letting us come and visit. We will be back again.” – Claire Bond – Leafield
“Absolutely amazing place! The staff are so friendly and the animals so well cared for! Can not recommend this place enough! Very educational on how the animals are trained for film work! Keep up the good work guys!” – Stacey Ealey
“WOW what a fabulous day, I wish I could book now for next year! Magical experience, worth every penny. Staff are a credit, they were are all running around mucking in. They made my children feel very special.” – Jane Khan
“Had a great day. The big cat shows were awesome and it was a privilege to see them lazing around in the sun afterwards (occasionally apparently posing for the cameras). Humorous (and educational for the kids) nature versus nurture show and other things going on that made it a lovely family day out. Also had a more friendly/relaxed feel than many other places.” – Nicky Tarry
“The open day today was excellent .the big cat show was amazing.a great day well recommend it and well worth the money .” – Sandra Collins
“Fantastic day out with my family. Animals looked well treated and the staff seemed to really care for them and worked extremely hard considering the place is not normally open to the public.” – Kaylie Thompson
“Lovely day with the family, amazing to get up so close to these majestic animals which looked so relaxed and comfortable in their enclosures!” – Michael Bailey
“The open day yesterday was great. Well worth the money 🙂 the big cat show was like nothing I’d ever seen, the while day was amazing” – Rosie Gallagher
“Amazing place amazing animals and amazing staff!!!!” – Christina Cadwallader
“Best day and so lovely to meet knowledgeable friendly people and amazing animals.” – Emma Powell
“Absolutely brilliant – I have never been so close to ‘big’ cats – A*” – Kirsty Ann McKenna
“It was my first experience of your open day; such a happy and wholesome occasion and clearly valued by the local community… It was good to see children occupied and interested in everything there was to see and do… However well-planned and organised the event might be, it would not be possible without the superb support of your staff, both permanent and casual, who merit special commendation. All the show presenters and animal handlers were intelligent, witty and appropriate in what they said, with engaging and vivacious personalities to put us at ease.” – Nick Thompson, Surrey
“We had an amazing day on Sunday! The volunteers and staff were all very friendly and helpful and it was a very different experience compared to a normal zoo! The children loved getting up close and personal with the animals and the lion show was incredible!” – Laura Lamb, Witney
“Just wanted to say what a fantastic day we had on Sunday. Thank you to all the staff, volunteers and of course to the animals.” – Cindy Oliver, Oxfordshire
“We came along to the Open Day today and just wanted to say THANK YOU for offering such a fantastic opportunity to see your work and get close to some truly Amazing Animals!! I was a truly wonderful day and we all took away lots of special moments and happy memories of our day. Look forward to seeing you again next year we hope!” – Alison Haynes
“I would just like to say a big thank you for your opening your zoo up to the public every year, this was or 5th visit and we are absolutely hooked. We were extremely privileged to be at what was the first or second year that you opened to the public and visitors were considerably less in numbers. The animals and the staff are all consistently fantastic! I appreciate that this must be a mammoth task for you all but I hope that you do open your gates again to us next year.” – Wendy Lockley, Burton-on-Trent
If you wish to be updated on our annual open weekends please use the below email address. Please note that our open weekends are usually scheduled for the second or third week in September and box office does not open until the first week in August.