SCHOOL trips to Chester Zoo will be free from November to February in a bid to inspire the next generation of conservationists.

The UK's most visited tourist attraction outside of London is leading the way in conservation and educating visitors on the dangers to the world's animal population.

The planet is currently facing a crisis with large numbers of species under significant threat of extinction including rhinos and elephants, frogs and birds.

But close to home there are also widespread problems with hedgehog numbers declining in the UK at the same rate as tigers globally and three bumblebee species have already been deemed extinct.

At the zoo conservationists are fighting back, working with partners to deliver more than 80 vital projects in 30 countries worldwide.

With 1.9 million visitors per year and more than 100,000 people taking part in organised educational trips Chester Zoo’s ability to shape a generation of conservationists is very significant.

Chester Zoo’s major Safari Ranger outreach programme already delivers free sessions to schools throughout the North West and North Wales.

Now, all schoolchildren visiting the zoo with their schools from November to February will visit for free.

Head of discovery and learning at the zoo Charlotte Smith said: “Conservation is critical and now is the time to act for wildlife.

"We won’t stand back. We know that visiting a zoo improves people’s understanding of biodiversity and the living world.

"We want to encourage as many schoolchildren through our gates as possible.

"It could be the key to protecting the living world around us.”

School groups are asked to pre-book with a maximum capacity of bookings per day to avoid overcrowding and ensure every child and visitor is able to enjoy a world class experience.

Post-visit learning resources for schools are also available at