A unique, award-winning Zoo and Farm
Noah's Ark Zoo Farm is a unique hands-on zoo and working farm just outside Bristol set in over 100 acres of beautiful countryside.
We are one of the south west's top tourist attractions, welcoming 170,000 visitors a year and giving each one a fun-filled, exciting animal experience in a family park full of adventure play grounds, tractor rides and educational exhibits.
We are winners of important awards including the national 'Quality Badge' from the Learning Outside the Classroom Scheme, 'Gold' in the Green Tourism Business Scheme, 'Sustainable Tourism' and 'Access for All' in the Bristol Tourism & Hospitality Awards (2014, 2012 respectively).
Noah's Ark has also been recognised at regional level with awards including North Somerset's Top Visitor Attraction and National Farm Attractions Network: Farm Attraction of the Year (Finalist).
1960 - 1997
Noah's Ark is built on the site of Moat House Farm with its listed, moated 17th Century Farm House owned by Anthony and Christina Bush who operated a dairy farm for 35 years until 1995. It is where they brought up their family.
Anthony became the tenant of the farm in 1960, single and in his early 20's. The farm had no mains water and the buildings no electricity, and was very much as it had been in the 1930's.
Anthony married Christina and they have four married children and fourteen grandchildren.
Anthony combined many things with farming and family life. He was a Youth Club leader in Bristol for 4 years, was elected to General Synod for 17 years at 29 and became a Lay Reader in the Church of England at 30.
He was County Chairman of Somerset National Farmers Union & founder Chairman or Director of Mission England South West, Crisis Centre Ministries & Send a Cow to Africa.
In 1995 the Bush's bought the farm from the Landlord, Lord Wraxall of Tyntesfield. The pedigree "Moatwell" Friesian cow herd and young stock was sold and they kept the farm for arable use, with some sheep. The modern dairy buildings were ready for alternative use. In 1997 they rebuilt the old 17th century farm buildings and prepared to open Noah's Ark as a themed animal park for adventure, education and to remind visitors of the ancient tradition of God's relationship with mankind and of the contemporary science that points to creation plus evolution of species.
1998 - 1999
Noah's Ark began with a trial period in 1998 and its first full season in 1999. The Farm Centre began with mainly farm animals, rabbits and guinea pigs, goats, and a small number of exotics like wallabies, rheas and llamas. The 'Noah's Ark' and 'Food and Farming' exhibition rooms were built together with hands-on activities for children.
2000 - 2004
The early years of new millennium saw lots of building including new indoor and outdoor play areas, the huge 500 seat indoor 'Ark Arena' for animal shows and enclosures for new primates and reptiles. The world's longest hedge maze (named 'the Monster Maze') was planted in 2003, together with a massive indoor 3D maze - 'the Beehive Maze'.
In 2005 the first of the big zoo animals arrived in the shape of two South African white rhinos to live in a new Rhino House and fields. The infrastructure of a new Giraffe House began.
For 2006 the new 'Animal Village' was created and the new Show Pens for large animals and hawks and owls. The giraffe house was finished & Gerald the male giraffe arrived on May 30th. A Tapir house and Capybara house were also built.
The popular Gibbon Gallery was built for 2 endangered Siamangs who were part of the European endangered species breeding programme (EEP). Our tapirs Toby and Tara arrived.
Two more zebras, three ostriches, Prairie Dogs and Mara arrived.
Our 10 year anniversary was marked by the birth of baby Tapir 'Troy', the live birth being watched world-wide on webcam. This was followed by the birth of our first baby Siamang gibbon, a success for international conservation efforts. After 2 years of intense planning the Tiger Territory was built and Bengal Tigers arrived to media fan fare.
A second endangered baby gibbon named 'Sidney' was born, continuing the success of our Siamang group.
Three African lion cubs arrived, and our Tiger Territory altered and renamed the 'Big Cat Sanctuary'. Our first female giraffe 'Genevieve' arrived making international news as the girlfriend for our bachelor male 'Gerald'. New lemurs and vultures also joined the zoo. Owner Anthony Bush was thrown a Golden Jubilee Day to mark his 50th year of farming in Somerset, with live music from The Wurzels.
A new heated indoor Soft-Play barn the 'Jungle Den' opened in February to the delight of young mums and their children. Plans for 'Elephant Eden', Europe's biggest elephant sanctuary, were officially launched on the 1st September to a press audience with the support of the Rt. Hon Ann Widdecombe.
George, our first baby giraffe, was born to excited media attention. Construction work began on building the 20 acre 'Elephant Eden' to open 2013, a year after its publicity launch.
Keepers welcomed the birth of a second baby Tapir, named 'Tallulah'.
The history of Noah's Ark Zoo Farm can be read in the owner, Anthony Bush's autobiography 'From Cows to Tigers: Building Noah's Ark'. Copies can be purchased from the online shop or on site in the Gift Shop.