Chester Zoo to host free family festival celebrating precious UK wildlife

The jam-packed line-up includes pond dipping, den building, creating bee houses, and a meet and greet with CBBC star Naomi Wilkinson
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Popular children’s TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson is to star at a family festival celebrating precious UK wildlife at Chester Zoo this month.

The free-to-enter Wildlife Connections Festival, now in its fifth year, will take place at the zoo’s 14 acre Nature Reserve on the weekend of 18th and 19th September.

Organisers say the two-day event will fuse family fun with serious conservation and put a much-needed spotlight on the UK’s wonderful wildlife, with 50% of UK native species now in decline.

Photo: Rob Scott


TV presenter Naomi Wilkinson, star of CBBC shows including Live and Deadly, Naomi’s Nightmares of Nature and Wild and Weird, will deliver an interactive stage show created especially for the festival, based on her adventures around the world and her love of UK species.

Festival-goers will also be able to get up-close-and-personal with a wide range of wildlife through an array of hands-on activities, including bug hunting, bird spotting and pond dipping, as part of the jam-packed line up.

There is no need to book, just turn up and enjoy the day.

“This year our wonderful Wildlife Connections Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever and we’re thrilled to have CBBC star Naomi Wilkinson headlining across both days,” said Hannah Brooks, Chester Zoo.

“Naomi will be sharing some fascinating stories about the weird and wonderful wildlife she’s seen on her travels around the world and will also be talking about her passion for the UK’s native species.

“Our jam-packed line-up also includes loads of activities that the whole family can get involved with, from bug hunting to willow weaving and, for the first time this year, we have a brand new space called the creative corner where festival-goers can participate in dance and music workshops.

“The festival is fun, it’s celebratory but it also champions a very important message.

“Right now, we’re living through a biodiversity crisis, with many species facing extinction. However, we can all make a difference and there’s lots we can do to help the wildlife on our doorstep.

“We’ll therefore be giving our festival-goers lots of ideas and inspiration on what they can do.

Photo: Dave Thompson/Chester Zoo

“This interactive festival is great for all the family.

“You can become a mammal detective, transform into a beautiful butterfly or just sit back, relax and enjoy some live music.

“Whatever you choose to do it’s going to a fun, wildlife-inspired day!”

The zoo’s Wildlife Connections Festival is in association with Darwin Escapes and is part of its wider Wildlife Connections campaign – helping to prevent the extinction of UK wildlife by creating new areas of high quality habitat in gardens, parklands and community spaces.

Chester Zoo’s Wildlife Connections Festival will take place 18th and 19th September, 11.30am – 4.30pm, both days. For the full programme, visit: chesterzoo.org. At the festival the zoo’s conservationists will also be looking for volunteers to take part in its new Hedgehog Watch project, where people in Chester can become citizen scientists and help to monitor wildlife in their gardens using special camera traps. Visit chesterzoo.org/what-you-can-do to register an interest and arrange collecting a camera at the festival.

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