Members of the Royal Family have paid tribute to Bristol Zoo as it welcomes visitors to its Clifton site for the last ever time. The much-loved Bristol attraction is closing today (Saturday, September 3) after 186 years, and will reopen in 2024 at the expanded Wild Place in South Gloucestershire.
Supporters have been sharing their well wishes throughout the day, and now even royalty have reflected on the zoo’s past and future. A statement shared on the Royal Family’s official Twitter account this afternoon read: “Good Luck on your move to the @wild_place!
“As Patron, The Earl of Wessex has made many visits to @BristolZooGdns over the years, most recently in July 2022. Thank you for all your work and looking forward to seeing your conservation efforts continue at your new site.”
Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest child and the Earl of Wessex, visited the zoo last month to mark its 186th anniversary. He met pupils from High Littleton CE Primary School and heard more about the relocation plans.
Speaking at the time of the visit, Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “His Royal Highness has always shown a great interest in our charity’s conservation and education work and for him to visit on our last anniversary feels very poignant, and means a lot to the team of staff and volunteers.
“It was fantastic to discuss our plans for the site, which have been developed to ensure our beautiful gardens and its historic buildings can be enjoyed for years to come. The sale of the site with planning permission for a residential-led development means we will be able to safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society and create a world-leading Bristol Zoo, with conservation at its heart.”
The zoo, which is the fifth-oldest in the world, has previously said that the support of our its royal patron, ambassadors and shareholders is “invaluable in realising our mission”. It is due to close its doors for the last time at 5.30pm.