The Chester Zoo in Cheshire is generally regarded as the top zoo in the British Isles (better than the London Zoo) and one of the finest zoos in Europe. Opened on the relatively late side, Chester was relatively modern from the outset, taking advantage of designs already pioneered in other zoos. It became famous in the years after World War II in which expansions were often accomplished using scavenged war materials.
Chester began as the private insect and reptile collection of George Mottershead. A conservation enthusiast, Mottershead established the Chester Zoo as his menagerie expanded. It became particularly popular in the postwar years, when it was significantly expanded. Chester was one of the first zoos in Europe to use cageless exhibit space, relying instead on moats to house the animals. The Chester Zoo is now the most popular nature attraction in the British Isles.
The Chester Zoo is home to over four hundred species and over eleven thousand animals. It does not feature animals by geographic theme, but focuses instead on environments of major animals. Popular residents include species of Elephant, Jaguar, Rhinoceros and Red Ape. A monorail added to the park in 1991 provides a loop around the park and birds eye viewing of many of the animal enclosures.
The Chester Zoo is located in Cheshire, a suburb of Liverpool approximately fifteen miles to the north. It is open year round (except Christmas and Boxing Day). Hours vary significantly throughout the year. The cost of admission is L18.00. Web: www.chesterzoo.org (official website).