COLCHESTER Zoo’s boss has thanked Colchester and people from across north Essex for their support during the pandemic saying they will “never forget” the kindness shown.

The Maldon Road attraction is welcoming visitors for the festive season after it had to shut due to the second national lockdown.

When the first lockdown happened the zoo was closed for 11 weeks.

It has still faced bills of around £25,000 a day, with bosses expressing serious concerns for the future of the facility.

Now back open it still has to limit numbers due to Covid-19 restrictions and Tier 2.

Zoo director Dominique Tropeano has penned a letter thanking people for their support this year as it looks ahead to 2021.

He said: “Everyone at the zoo, from animals to staff, wants to say a big thank you for the incredible support you have given us during the pandemic.


“The journey has been really tough and rough and the future seemed so uncertain but your kindness and support have helped so much to ensure we survived – we will never forget it.

“We want to look forward to a new and kinder year and we pray some sort of normality will return to all of our lives during 2021.

“If there are any lessons to learn from this pandemic, we certainly have learned all of our lessons but we need to smile and bring joy and celebration.”

Due to the pandemic the zoo has had to alter its festive activities.


Mr Tropeano added: “Christmas at the zoo this year will not be the experience of previous years due to the result of the pandemic restrictions, our desire to ensure no-one is at risk by visiting, and the uncertainty of what we might be allowed to do.

“Therefore, this year we have toned down our Magic of Christmas event but we are still offering an excellent experience which is a great way to begin the Christmas celebrations, plus we need your help, so please do come along and visit.

“The exciting news is that we are already planning for 2021 and coming up with a completely new format that will ensure a great experience whatever your age, so please be patient and we will be back with renewed vigour.”

The public raised more than £100,000 to support the zoo with its running costs during the pandemic.

Fundraisers ranged from groups and youngsters who donated hundreds of pounds to a team of charitable paratroopers who raised £10,000 by running the distance from one end of the UK to the other over just five days... all without leaving Colchester.

To find out more about Colchester Zoo, go to