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Zoos are covered by the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. A zoo is anywhere wild animals are displayed to the public, which isn't a circus or a pet shop. 

The public must have access for at least 7 days out of 12 consecutive months whether they are charged admission or not. 

If you want to run a zoo you will need to have read the full legislation and requirements before expressing an interest. You can find the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 on the government's legislation website. 

You cannot operate a zoo without a licence in place - tacit consent does not apply and you must wait for us to grant your licence. 

Zoo licences

Notification of intention to run a zoo

You will first need to send us a notification you intend to apply to run a zoo. You can do this by downloading and completing the application from Gov.UK and then uploading it with the required supporting documentation and your payment. 

You can pay by debit or credit card. 

Send a notification

We will carry out a site visit and let you know how to progress your application. 

Apply for a zoo licence

After submitting your notification and hearing from us you will need to submit a full application. There is a further fee for this and different supporting documentation. 

You can download from the Gov.UK website, complete and then upload with your supporting documents and payment. 

You can pay by debit or credit card. 

Apply for a licence

Other ways to contact us about a zoo licence

If you have questions about the licence or applying you can contact us by: