Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is a family-owned zoo set on a working farm in 100 acres of beautiful, peaceful North Somerset countryside located just 6 miles to the south of Bristol.
The zoo was founded by Anthony and Christina Bush, who have lived and worked here together as dairy farmers since 1962 when the original Moat House Farm was part of the Tyntesfield Estate. The couple first opened Noah’s Ark as a farm visitor centre in 1999 and it quickly became a favourite day out for visitors. It has since grown to become an award-winning zoo and one of the most popular visitor attractions in Somerset.
Opening for its first season as Noah’s Ark Farm Centre in 1999, visitors were able to get hands-on with bottle-feeding lambs and getting up close to both farm animals and exotic animals such as llamas, camels and wallabies. Tractor rides and playing in the hay barn were popular activities as they still are today.
Now the zoo welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year and has an exciting, large animal collection of over one hundred species which includes African elephants, giraffes, lions, a tiger, rhinos and spectacled bears. The original hands-on approach has continued and today visitors enjoy close encounters with some amazing animals.
Conservation and Sustainability
Sustainability and conservation are foundational to everything we do at Noah’s Ark. This includes education through our daily Keeper Talks, education workshops and regular fundraising events for animal conservation charities.
Noah’s Ark is proud to have various species which are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which works with animal parks and zoos across Europe to breed and protect endangered species. Our Elephant Eden enclosure is the largest elephant enclosure in the UK and in fact the largest in Northern Europe.
We aim to be a leading “green zoo” and we generate over half of our own electricity needs through renewable power generation on site - solar panels on the roofs of animal enclosures, biomass and our very own wind turbine.
We harvest and recycle water from roofs and we provide enrichment for animals using upcycled materials such as old fire hoses donated by the local fire service. We support local and Fairtrade through our cafes and kiosks and we use recyclable and compostable packaging wherever possible.
Not only do we aim to be sustainable but we also aim to be responsible. We make responsible choices with our purchasing by choosing Fairtrade or choosing local items wherever possible. Our cafe and giftshop both have a wide range of fair trade products including cotton products, chocolate, coffee and more!
Noah’s Ark has been recognised with multiple awards at a regional and national level for education, our animal enclosures, sustainability and green tourism. We are members of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and we are accredited by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom
Schools and Education at Noah’s Ark
Educational field trips are a great way to learn and a day out at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm can provide learning opportunities for all ages and abilities. Our education programme is accredited by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom and our education material reflects the content of the National Curriculum.
We offer a comprehensive range of workshops, delivered with a hands-on focus which offers the opportunity to meet exciting live animals up close. Our wide variety of teaching sessions and learning resources are designed to help you communicate the National Curriculum in a fun, exciting environment.
Our experienced Education team are happy to discuss any bespoke workshop requirements. The Education Team at Noah's Ark pride themselves on delivering workshops that are appropriate to all audiences including those from multi-faith or non-religious backgrounds.
As members of BIAZA our education programme is independently audited each year and schools can be confident in the quality and professionalism that we offer.
For more information or to book a school trip to Noah's Ark, please contact the Education Department on 01275 852 606.
Zenah our beautiful female Zebra foal joined our Dazzle of Zebras.
2 African Lion cubs were born at the zoo. They were named Kojo and Tau by visitors.
Changing places toilet opened along with accessible play equipment and accessible signs.
Viva South America was opened, the exhibit is home to Tapirs, Mara, Capybara, Agouti and Degus.
Love is in the air for Genevive as Kito the 4 year old Giraffe arrives at the zoo.
Shaka the 26 year old African Elephant arrived at Elephant Eden.
The zoo was awarded multiple tourism awards for our sustainable efforts.
7 Giant Aldabran Tortoises arrived at the zoo.
Geralds legacy Gus was welcomed into the family by Genevive and his 2 new brothers.
Our eateries were given a revamp allowing visitors to purchase hot and cold treats on the go.
Andean Adventures was completed and welcomed the arrival of brother bears, Sonco and Tupa.
Genevieve and Gerald welcomed their second boy, Geoffrey into the world.
Elephant Eden, the largest Elephant enclosure in the UK was officially opened by Princess Anne.
Keepers welcomed the birth of a second baby Tapir, named Tallulah.
George, our first baby giraffe, was born to excited media attention.
A new heated indoor Soft-Play Barn, the Jungle Den, opened in February.
Three African lion cubs arrived, and our Tiger Territory was renamed the Big Cat Sanctuary.
Gerald was introduced to his new girlfriend Genevieve.
The Wind Turbine was opened by Liam Fox.
The birth of baby Tapir, Troy, was streemed live to the world via webcam.
Our 10 year anniversary was marked with the arrival of our first Gibbon baby, Sultana.
Tiger Territory was finished with the addition of 2 Bengal-type Tigers.
Zebra, Ostriches, Prairie Dogs and Mara joined the Ark.
Our Gibbon Gallery was built for 2 endangered Siamangs as part of the EEP.
The Giraffe House was opened with the arrival of Gerald.
The first of the big zoo animals arrived in the shape of two South African White Rhinos.
The new Animal Village was created with new show pens for large animals.
The reptile house was completed and the first cold-blooded animals joined the zoo.
Europe's longest hedge maze was planted in 2003 using 14,000 beech trees.
2000 - 2004
New indoor and outdoor play areas were built including a 500 seat indoor 'Ark Arena'.
1998 - 1999
Noah's Ark began with a trial period as a small petting zoo and had its first full season in 1999.
1960 - 1997
Noah's Ark was built on the site of Moat House Farm, a listed 17th Century Farm House with a moat.
Our Christian Faith
Noah’s Ark has Christian faith and values at its heart and our Christian ethos is valued and shared by many staff and volunteers as well as its owners and founders.
Anthony and Christina Bush are current members of a local Church of England church and they have been actively involved with Christian organisations and church activities in Bristol and the South West of England for over 50 years. Anthony was a Church of England Lay Reader for many years and was director of Mission England which hosted evangelist Billy Graham at Ashton Gate Stadium in 1984.
In 1988 he worked with other dairy farmers to set up the international development charity Send-a-Cow which still helps many thousands of families each year in African countries and is supported by many churches and farming communities across the UK.
Christina and Anthony have always enjoyed welcoming individuals, families, schools and church groups to the farm and over the years have hosted countless events from picnics and nature trails through to barn dances. They have a large family with four children and fourteen grandchildren who still enjoy meeting up at the zoo and some are involved in working here as part of the team.
The decision to open the farm to visitors in 1999, was a natural extension of the hospitality that Anthony and Christina have offered over the years. Their hope is to inspire visitors with an experience of God’s wonderful creation and to provide a fun and uplifting day out for families and for visitors of all faiths and none.
Many of the staff team are active members of local churches in Bristol, Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead and beyond. We enjoy strong links with churches of all denominations and we often host visits from church groups from the south west of England beyond. Each Christmas we host Nativity Plays performed by different church groups each year who create their own interpretations of the Christmas story.
Many visitors comment on the happy, peaceful atmosphere at Noah’s Ark along with the warm and friendly welcome offered by our team and this is something we are always delighted to hear.
Science and Faith
As the farmer and owner of the zoo, Anthony loves to walk around each afternoon and meet visitors. You will often find him near his favourite tiger, Khan, and he is happy to talk about the animals, his life story and his Christian faith which continues to inspire him.
Since studying at Oxford University, Anthony has devoted much of his spare time to researching how belief in God can reconcile with our scientific understanding of the Earth and its origins. He strongly believes that science does not preclude belief in God but rather that God is the creator “at the back of” the natural world.
Anthony continues to explore scientific thinking in the light of his Christian faith and to encourage scientific exploration which sometimes challenges the status quo.
For those individuals interested in exploring Anthony’s research and the thinking of other scientists interested in the relationship between faith and science - you can read more here:
Earth History is an independent website featuring articles from a PhD geologist offering alternative thinking to Darwinian evolution and challenging the geological timescales adopted by many scientists.
Please note: the content of the Earth History website is not included in the Education Programme at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm. All of our school education material reflects the content of the National Curriculum and is independently audited.
There are many other books and resources exploring science and faith. Christians in Science is an international network of those concerned with the relationship between science and Christian faith, open to scientists, teachers, students and all those with an interest in this dialogue.
Anthony has written a book “Building Noah’s Ark: From Cows to Tigers” which is a personal account of his life, faith and journey from farmer to zoo owner. It is available at the Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Gift Shop.
Noah's ark story
The Noah's Ark Story
The name of our zoo: Noah’s Ark is inspired by the biblical account of Noah which is of course one of the best-known stories in the world. The story is familiar to most of us and the image of the world’s animals gathered into the safety of an ark is very apt for a zoo, especially where one of its main aims is conservation.
Anthony and Christina have created a Noah’s Ark exhibition room at the zoo which features a 14 foot-long, handmade, scale model of Noah’s Ark which was specially built by the London School of Naval Architecture using the proportions in the biblical account. It is thought by naval experts that a ship of these dimensions and design, and built from the strongest timber, could indeed float.
The Noah’s Ark exhibition room is a Christian faith exhibit and is clearly marked as such on site. Visitors who choose to do so can explore the biblical account of Noah and to reflect on its significance for us today. Most visitors find this a very interesting and thought-provoking exhibition.
We welcome visitors of all faiths and none to visit every part of the zoo and we aim to give everyone a great day out.