Friday Twilights: an after hours experience at Bristol Zoo Gardens

Disclosure: we were gifted entry into Friday Twilights at Bristol Zoo and Gardens in return for our review.

We headed an hour away from home to Bristol for our half term adventure. A highlight was Friday Twilights, an after hours experience at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Having visited the zoo as a child, I had rose tinted memories and was excited to show my own children the zoo and gardens.

Friday Twilights didn’t disappoint and Bristol Zoo and Gardens is just as good as I remember it.

The Hive Restaurant at Bristol Zoo Gardens

First things first, food!

The Hive restaurant, run by Compass Group, provided a great meeting place to mingle. Local influencers and bloggers invited to try the food and zoo experience were Taylor from Teacups & Petticoats, Lucy from Lucy the Person and Claire from This City Mum.

Falafel burgers with tomato, lettuce, charred sesame bun and pickle.
Vegan pizza

We enjoyed fantastic food and the menu has something for everyone. Even picky eaters like Harry enjoyed the pulled pork rolls. And Jon’s dairy free diet wasn’t a problem at all. It was all washed down with elderflower cordial and fizz.

On the menu: Falafel burgers, pulled pork rolls, vegetarian pasta, vegan pizza and sumptuous salads with egg and mackerel. Delicious!

The Hive is spacious with plenty of tables and chairs, high chairs and space for buggies to move around. Nutritious, delicious food at The Hive is one option at Bristol Zoo Gardens and you can bring a picnic from home if you prefer. Decorated in a tropical animal theme, the restaurant sits seamlessly in the zoo.

Friday Twilights: The animals and gardens after hours

We headed to see the monkeys, excited to be in the zoo after the usual crowds have gone.

Friday Twilights Bristol Zoo
Cheeky monkey!

After enjoying the monkeys and lemurs, we measured ourselves against the animal ruler!

Friday Twilights Bristol Zoo
Harry is as tall as an African Bull Elephant!

The Gorilla House is closed during Friday Twilights, but there’s still so much to see! The aquarium, penguins and seals, different birds, flamingos… We watched seals swimming and monkeys swinging and flamingos standing on one leg!

And, of course, the gorgeous gardens are perfect for little people to run around. As a flower lover, I spent most of the time snapping flowers on my camera while the kids played hide and seek.

Hide and seek
Shocking pink Lupins

Family Fun

Also on offer was face painting, several animal talks by the rangers, music playing on the lawn, ZooRopia and the kids’ play park.

A BBQ, Gin Van and Marshfield Ice Cream is also on offer, set around the lawn with acoustic music for an extra treat. Lots of families bring picnic rugs and chill out on the lawn with drinks, food and open space.


Jon, Harry and Katie harnessed up for ZooRopia. An epic high ropes course unique to Bristol Zoo. With live music from Chicken Teddys Band and a perfect sunny evening, shadows stretched over the lawn and the evening felt very relaxed as I watched my family have an adventure overhead.

At one point, Harry got a little stuck and Tom was quick to hand, helping Harry along the rest of the course, encouraging him all the way.

Safety first at ZooRopia.
Harry is potentially Dyspraxic. Tom from Head for Heights gives a helping hand.

Zooropia actively supports participation for children and adults of varying abilities. Should assisted support be required please contact Head 4 Heights direct on 01285 770007 so we can ensure qualified and experienced instructors are booked in advance at a time suitable to any individual or group.

Head for Heights

ZooRopia is an additional cost – pick up your tickets at Reception.

For just £7.50 you can look around the zoo after hours, enjoy laid back music and learn lots about the residents of Bristol Zoo and have lots of fun! As a family there was something for all of us to enjoy.

Lastly, if I lived in Bristol, we’d be at the zoo regularly, and Friday Twilights is such a relaxed way to head into your weekend.

Friday Twilights runs throughout summer. Dates and ticket info.

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We’ve had the best day in #Bristol for the first day of our staycation. After a rubbish holiday abroad at easter, we’ve become even more grateful (if that’s possible 🤔 ) for the multitude of extra-ordinary family attractions in and around Somerset. We booked @marriotthotels near college green and it’s the perfect location, has a pool and is walking distance to the city centre, shops, and @wethecurious_ which Harry’s wanted to visit for months. The planetarium shows at We The Curious led by nuclear physicists literally blew our minds, it was like you’re in space. 🌌 We learnt so much and exploded the kids imaginations 100 million light years. What an incredible feeling! @zazabazaar is something else! Food from around the world and cheap as chips 🍟 We walked past many cool restaurants and bars in the millennium square area, regenerated right by the water. Rounding the day off with (more) food courtesy of @compassgroupuki who run The Hide restaurant in @bristolzoo #gifted #invite and a meander through the zoo and gardens in the first of their #fridaytwilights running throughout summer. Jon took the kids on ZooRopia which was the highest my children have ever been off the ground! I’m so proud of my courageous kids (and Jon) for getting round which took about an hour finishing with a pretty high zip wire! I have video evidence and the kids have wood chip in their trousers to prove it. What a full day!! We love Bristol and might not want to come home ❤️ See my stories for more info and I’ve popped them in my Bristol Highlights on the gram. 💕 #loveforsomerset

A post shared by 🌿Lizzie🌿 (@lizzie_somerset) on

Special thanks to Bristol Zoo Gardens, Compass Group and Head for Heights (ZooRopia) for inviting us to discover everything on offer for Friday Twilights at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

Our food, entry, and adventure on ZooRopia were all gifted. Images, words and opinion are my own and 100% honest.

Friday Twilights at Bristol Zoo Gardens - what happens after hours at the zoo? Read our review to find out! #Bristoldaysout #familydaysoutuk #Somerset

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