What's Happening

Breakfast with Santa returns to Lakeside Restaurant

Enjoy Breakfast with Santa this December at Lakeside Restaurant. Visit Santa in his festive grotto, get your picture taken with the main man himself, and receive a present to open on Christmas Day. Then tuck into a delicious all you can eat breakfast in Lakeside Restaurant.

To help create a safe environment for all, Lakeside Restaurant are working to the latest government guidance, installing protective screens, enhanced cleaning procedures, and introducing new measures to maintain social distancing. 

Why not make a day of it and explore the zoo after?

Available each Saturday in December, up to 19st December.

Tickets must be pre-booked in advance, BOOK ONLINE HERE

Lakeside Restaurant to reopen!

As of July 6th 2020, our Lakeside Restaurant will re-open and will serve pasta, pizza and hot dogs. As of July 12th, our carvery will resume every sunday! The carvery must be booked in advance and you will have the option to book this when you book your zoo tickets. 

Play areas, Reptile House and more to reopen!

As of July 4th 2020, our reptile house, bunny barn and all our play areas will reopen!

COVID-19 Reopening FAQ’s

We’re so excited to welcome you back to Ponderosa Zoo from Monday 29th June. The health and safety of the general public, our staff members and animals is of absolute importance to us so we will be limiting visitor numbers and the zoo will operate on a one way system.

Full details of all the safety procedures we have put in place can be found here.

10th June 2020 Update

We would like to thank each and everyone of you who signed a petition, emailed your local MP or shared a post to raise awareness. Because of you, zoos will now be allowed to open from June 15th!

We must now wait for official guidelines to be released from DEFRA regarding the criteria for reopening. Once we have reviewed these we be able to announce an opening date.

Once again, thank you for your support and all your donations, we greatly appreciate it!

7th June 2020 Update

Many attractions and non essential shops are set to open on June 15th, but zoos won't be one of them.

We need you. On Thursday 11th June there will be a debate in parliament regarding how zoos can move forward through the covid-19 pandemic. As it stands, the government have decided that zoos must remain closed 'indefinitely'. We rely on ticket sales to feed our animals, pay for veterinary care, pay for animal feed and pay our zoo keepers. With no income for almost 3 months this is becoming increasingly difficult.

You can help by writing to your local MP asking them to attend the debate. You can download a letter template here:


We are a wide open space and have the ability to allow you to visit us safely where social distancing can be maintained and visitor numbers can be controlled. Please help us reopen as soon as possible. Animal welfare is our absolute priority and we need your help to maintain it.

How else can you help?

Call 01924 235 276 to purchase an annual ticket for when we reopen. Prices and details can be found on our plan your visit page


20th March 2020 Update

Due to the recent announcement to make further closures throughout the country to help prevent the continued spread of coronavirus, we have decided to close the zoo and the lakeside restaurant to the public until further notice.

Our keepers will still be coming in and working hard to care for our animals and we hope to still share our animal updates with you as and when we can.

To all annual pass holders, your memberships will be extended with the amount of time we're closed added onto your expiry date.

We rely on ticket sales for all our income so donations of any kind would be hugely appreciated at this incredibly difficult time.

We thank you for your understanding and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Easter at Ponderosa Zoo

4th - 19th April

Be an EGGS-PERT EXPLORER at Ponderosa Zoo this Easter. Join us between 4th-19th April to embark on our fun-filled Easter Egg Trail and receive your very own Easter egg.

Our amazing Animal Keepers will also be running interesting talks and animal feeds on weekends throughout the holidays and exciting animal encounters every day. After all of the eggs-ploring, don’t forgot to hop onto our bouncy castle too!

There’s something for everyone at Ponderosa Zoo this Easter and we carrot wait to see you!

Please note that the Easter Egg Trail is £2 per person.

Weekends Only
(4th + 5th/ 11th+12th+13th / 18th + 19th)

11.30am – Lemur feed and talk
12pm - Guinea pig encounter
12.30pm – Serval feed and talk
1pm – Tortoise encounter
1.30pm – Otter feed and talk
2pm – Rabbit encounter
2.30pm – Reindeer talk
3pm – Scottish Wildcat feed and talk

(6th – 17th  April)

11.30am – Guinea pig encounter
12.30pm – Tortoise encounter
1.30pm – Rabbit encounter

February Half Term at Ponderosa Zoo

15th – 23rd February


This half term is all about Reptiles, Amphibians and Invertebrates at Ponderosa Zoo as we launch our brand NEW Reptile House! From our resident Mangrove Snakes to our Spiny Tailed Iguana and Red Footed Tortoise, the reptile house is the perfect place to learn about these extraordinary creatures.


Talk and Animal Encounter Times:

12pm: Small Mammal Encounter
2pm: Tortoise Encounter

Animal Talks and Encounters

Weekends Only
(November 2019 - March 2020)

12pm: Small Mammal Encounter

2pm: Tortoise Encounter

Weekends Only
(April 2020 - August 2020)

12pm: Reindeer Feed and Talk

12.30pm: Lemur Feed and Talk

1pm: Tortoise Encounter

1.30pm: Otter Feed and Talk

2pm: Serval Feed and Talk

2.30pm: Small Mammal Encounter

3pm: Scottish Wildcat Feed and Talk

Wild Winter at Ponderosa Zoo

7th & 8th, 14th & 15th, 21st & 22nd December

Celebrate the festive season by heading to Ponderosa Zoo each weekend in December for a Wild Winter!

The whole family can enjoy magical animal talks and encounters, receive a Christmas activity pack and some environmentally friendly reindeer food to put under the Christmas tree for Rudolph and friends.

Then venture on a mystical nature trail around the Zoo, visiting our amazing animals along the way. Once your enchanted journey has been completed, don’t forget to collect your gold prize sticker!

Talk and Encounter Times:
11.30am: Raccoon Dog Talk
12pm: Rabbit Encounter
12.30pm: Reindeer Talk
1pm: Guinea Pig Encounter
1.30pm: Serval Feed and Talk
2pm: Tortoise Encounter
2.30pm: Scottish Wildcat Feed and Talk

Play Barn Closure

As of November 4th 2019 our play barn is now closed permanently. This is part of our on going refurbishment plan throughout the entire zoo.

We have big and exciting plans for what the play barn will be replaced with that we will not be revealing just yet, so keep checking our social media pages in the new year to see what we've been working on!

During this process all other areas of the zoo will be open as normal. 

New Arrivals: Marmosets

We'd like you to welcome our new group of 8 common marmosets! They arrived here at Ponderosa Zoo from the Lake District on the 6th September 2019 and they're now out in their enclosure for you all to see!

Fun Fact: Marmosets and other similar primates prefer to live in family groups their whole life, and often don't accept outside in!

October Half Term 2019

Saturday 26th October – Thursday 31st October 2019

10am – 4pm (last admissions 3pm)

You’re in for a treat this Halloween. Come dressed in your favourite Halloween costume and experience a thrilling schedule of Halloween themed activities.

Animal Talks and Encounters – included in admission price.

12pm: Reindeer Talk and Feed

12.30pm: Lemur Feed and Talk

1pm: Insect Encounter

1.30pm: Otter feed and Enclosure

2pm: Serval Feed and Talk

2.30pm: Small Mammal Encounter

3pm: Scottish Wildcat Feed and Talk

Bug Chat – included in admission price.

11.15am – 11.45am

Listen to our daily Bug Chat, learn why bugs are important and what we can do to help them.

Fancy Dress Competition – included in admission price

Children are encouraged to come dressed in their best Halloween costumes for a chance to win a free otter feeding experience (for over 8’s), or a free family pass (if under 8).

Pumpkin Carving – additional £3.

Pick a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch and draw a design onto it, then let our team carve it so it’s ready for you to take home.

Extinct Animal Trail – included in the price of pumpkin carving.

Follow the extinct animal trail around the zoo, spot them all and receive a treat.

What's On: Summer 2019

Animal Talks and Encounters!

July 20th - September 1st 2019

12pm: Reindeer Feed and Talk

12.30pm: Lemur Feed and Talk

1pm: Tortoise Encounter

1.30pm: Otter Feed and Talk

2pm: Serval Feed and Talk

2.30pm: Small Mammal Encounter

3pm: Scottish Wildcat Feed and Talk

Plus special guests - Crafty Devilz every Monday!

May Half Term 2019

25th - 26th May and 28th May - 2nd June

This may half term we have a variety of activities taking place as part of the Love Your Zoo campaign! 

All activities are included with regular admission price and we will be open from 10am - 5pm with last admissions at 4pm.

Animal Talks and Encounters:

11.30am: Porcupine Feed and Talk 

12pm: Lemur Feed and Talk

12.30pm: Small Mammal Encounter

1pm: Tortoise Encounter

1.30pm: Otter Feed and Talk

2pm: Serval Feed and Talk

2.30pm: Enrichment Tour

3pm: Scottish Wildcat Feed and Talk


Enrichment Workshop
- Help our zoo keeper make some enrichment for our animals between 12pm and 2pm and then join our enrichment tour where you will see the enrichment you've made given to our animals!

Love Your Zoo Trail
-Search around the zoo for clues and once you find them all you'll win a small prize at the end!

Easter Half Term 2019

Come and join us for our Easter trail! Try and spot all the clues around the zoo and you'll be rewarded with your own chocolate egg at the end of the trail!
Plus meet the Easter bunny and enjoy some fascinating keeper talks along the way!

Regular zoo and play barn admission prices apply with the option to add on the Easter trail activity for an extra £2.

Zoo Prices:
Adult: £6.75
Child: £5.50
Family: £21
Under 3's: Free

Zoo and Play Barn Prices:
Child: £7.95
Family: £26
Under 3's: £1.50

Easter Trail: £2
Bouncy Castle: £1.50

* A family ticket consists of 2 adults and 2 children OR 1 adult and 3 children
* A child ticket is ages 3 - 15yrs
* Free parking

How to Find Us & Contact Details:
Ponderosa Zoo & RTC, Off Smithies Lane, Heckmondwike, WF16 0PN

01924 235 276


New Arrival: Serval

We would like you all the meet Venus, our new serval! She recently moved into her brand new enclosue that we've been working on over the winter. She is 11 months old and you can find her next to the Lakeside restaurant. Often lounging in the sun or playing with enrichment!

A Christmas Adventure: 2018

Christmas is coming to Ponderosa! The Grinch has stolen some of our animals Christmas presents! Can you find them all and return them to the elf workshop ready for Christmas? Don't forget we have some other festivities along the way!

Book Now by calling 01924 235 276!

12pm: Raccoon Dog Talk
1pm: Reindeer Feed and talk
2pm: Small Mammal Encounter
3pm: Scottish Wildcat Feed and Talk

12pm - 3pm: Elf Workshop 
Where you'll receive a present, write a letter to Santa and make your very own environmentally friendly reindeer food to take home ready for Christmas Eve. Extra prizes are also hidden in some of the presents including free family passes!

Under 2's: £6
Child: £9.95
Adult: £5.50

Price Includes: Zoo admission, present hunt, indoor soft play admission, animal talks and encounter access, a present from the elves and environmentally friendly reindeer food to take home for Christmas Eve.

This event will run on the following weekends:
December 8th + 9th/ 15th + 16th/ 22nd + 23rd

We'll be open from 10am - 4pm with last admissions at 3pm. Remember the elf workshop closes at 3pm so make sure you make it in time to receive your present.

*Regular zoo admission tickets can still be purchased on these dates if you're not wanting to take part in the event. 
* Indoor soft play is suitable for ages 8 and under only.

Halloween 2018

Get ready for a fantastic Halloween here at Ponderosa Zoo!

Running from the 20th - 31st October (10am - 5pm) we have all sorts of Halloween activities taking place:

11am: Bat feeding & talk
12pm: Reptile experience
1pm: Porcupine talk
2pm: Pony Petting
3pm: Small mammal experience
4pm: Scottish Wildcat feed and talk

11am - 3pm: Our pumpkin patch will be open for you pick a pumpkin, you can the draw on a design and our expert pumpkin carvers will carve it out ready for you to take home.

In addition we have a little mystery going on at the zoo and we need our customers help us solve it! Some frightful beasts from a magical world have escaped and are hiding in the zoo! Can you find them and help return them back to where they belong? Make sure to collect your clues on arrival and drop off your findings at the ticket office on your way out. Those that solve it will be given a special treat!

Fancy dress is encouraged and spot prizes will be offered to those with the spookiest costumes

For all activities listed above + an hour use of our Play barn + general zoo admission:
Under 2's: £3
Child (aged 3 - 8): £8.95
Adult: £5.50
Family (2 adults + 2 children): £27.95
Family: (1 adult + 3 children): £30.95

* Our regular admission prices will still run throughout the week if you want to visit the zoo but do not wish to take part in the Halloween event.

** Additional pumpkins can be purchased if you would like to just purchase a general admission ticket but also get a pumpkin.

*** Our bouncy castle will be up on weekends only and will be an extra charge of £1.50

**** Last admission is at 4pm

We are now provisional BIAZA Members!

BIG NEWS! We are happy to announce we have become provisional members of BIAZA!

BIAZA is the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and is a professional body that represents some of the best zoos and aquariums in the UK and Ireland.

Being part of BIAZA allows us to take part in conservation efforts across the country which includes things such as breeding programs.

The work zoo's and aquariums do to help conservation is very important. Without the efforts of zoos and aquariums a lot of the species we see today would either be extinct or their population numbers would be considerably lower. 

Our team is excited for the times ahead, and we would like to take this opportunity to thank our visitors for their continuous support.

Summer 2018

Every day between July 21st - September 2nd we have animal experiences taking place!

11am - Lemur Talk and Feeding

12pm - Reptile Talk and Handling

1pm - Otter Talk and Feeding 

3pm- Small Mammal Handling

4pm - Scottish Wildcat Talk and Feeding

Plus +
Special Guests: Crafty Devilz - Every Monday!

New Arrivals: Bennett's Wallabies

14th May 2018 - We'd like you all too meet Bruce, Bruno, Bolt and Bondi! You can find them up near our beach area.


5th May 2018 - We'd like to introduce you to our new group of Egyptian fruit bats! Their new enclosure has been purposely built for them as part of our brand new nocturnal section. Come down and meet them along with our other nocturnal species. 

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