Once upon a time, Moat Hill Farm in Bristol was a dairy farm, and the house, built in the 1600’s, is now a Century Farm House. The last farmer on this 100-acre plot of land goes by the name of Anthony Bush, who became a tenant in 1960 along with his wife Christina and their family of four.
In 1995, Anthony and Christina bought the farm from their landlord (Lord Wraxall of Tyntesfield), sold their pedigree cattle and Moat wells, and did something extraordinary. They transformed this centuries-old farm into a zoo. Not just any zoo, but the hands-on, interactive Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, and the 17th Century farm buildings became a themed animal park.
Noah’s Ark, a 30 minute drive from Lakeside, opened for its first season in 1998 on a trial basis, but it proved so successful that they opened for a full season the following year and have continued to grow ever since. Originally focusing primarily on farm animals such as Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Goats, with a smattering of more exotic breeds such as Wallabies, Rheas and Llamas, they then went on to add the ‘Noah’s Ark’ and ‘Food and Farming’ exhibition rooms.
As the farm continued to expand, they have introduced animals of all shapes and sizes. There are Rhinos, Giraffes and Gibbons, with a Gibbon Gallery custom built for their two endangered Siamangs, Tapirs, Zebras, Ostriches, Prairie Dogs and Bengal Tigers!
They have also added ‘The Monster Maze’ and the ‘3D Beehive Maze’, Adventure Play Grounds, tractor rides and educational exhibits to make Noah’s Ark the award-winning, amazing family experience it is today.
Noah’s Ark entry fee is £17 for adults, and £11 for children between 2 and 16. Students and Seniors are £16 and family and group booking rates are available. If you book online in advance you can save 5% on Ticket Office prices, however, up until the 31st January 2016, they are offering a 20% discount on day ticket admissions, so be sure to select the special offer tickets when purchasing.
The Zoo will re-open after Christmas on the 9th January 2016, and will be open Monday – Saturday, and all Bank Holiday Mondays from 10.30am until 4.00pm. After January, the zoo will be open until 5.00pm, but is closed on Sundays.
Free parking is available for cars and coaches, and disables parking is available on site. You can also get there by bus or train, as it’s only 6 miles from the centre of Bristol, and only a few minutes drive from the M5 motorway Junction 19 or 20.