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Schools go free in ‘23 at Paignton Zoo

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Paignton Zoo has announced that school groups can visit for free throughout 2023 as part of a momentous offer to mark their 100-year anniversary. This offer is available to both primary and secondary school pupils and celebrates the original mission of Paignton Zoo – to provide a place of learning where people can discover the wonders of nature – which remains just as true today as it was in 1923.

The announcement comes amid the cost of living crisis, which has put schools and teachers in the difficult position of cutting budgets. School trips are often first to feel the pinch and so this offer strives to make school trips more accessible and enable more young minds to discover why nature is so important.

Paignton Zoo’s Engagement Manager, Matt Lewis, said: “We can’t underestimate the value of educational trips for all school pupils. It’s been a challenging few years for schools; they’ve missed out on a lot of trips due to Covid and are now facing budget cuts, so we want to make a big gesture by offering 60,000 free visits to help pupils get out and get inspired.”

He continued: “The need for action has never been more urgent. A school trip to the zoo can provide a pivotal moment for young people to discover how amazing nature is and how we need to protect it for the future.”

Paignton Zoo, along with its sister site Newquay Zoo, are part of Wild Planet Trust, a conservation charity which works internationally to achieve its mission of helping halt species decline. They believe that conservation is something that everyone can be involved with, and by highlighting how we can all make a difference, we can work together to live more sustainably with nature.

Matt Lewis concluded: “By offering free school visits, we’re honouring the legacy of our founder Herbert Whitley, and we hope he would be proud that learning and engagement is still at the core of who we are as a zoo. We don’t believe that school trips are a luxury, but a necessity in inspiring the next generation, and they should be available to young people regardless of finances. By extending the offer to Newquay Zoo, we want to reach as many pupils as possible over the next year.”

Pupils from Early Years to Key Stage 4 that visit as part of a booked school trip during term time will receive one free entry to Paignton Zoo or their sister site, Newquay Zoo. The zoos will also be offering dedicated days for home schoolers to take advantage of this amazing offer.

The zoos’ engagement team will be meeting groups to help them make the most of their day and will link the trips to classroom learning, as well as spreading the word about the vital conservation work carried out by Wild Planet Trust. Plus, teachers will be able to sign up for the zoo’s new education e-newsletter, which will provide them with news throughout the year, ensuring the impact of their visit continues long after their trip.

Booking is essential to redeem this offer, and there are a limited number of free spaces each day to ensure that each class can receive the best possible experience.

See full details of the offer by clicking here.