Zoo celebrates their own ‘silly old bear’ – inspiration behind iconic AA Milne character

LONDON, U.K. — ZSL London Zoo is celebrating their most famous resident this Saturday (18 January) – by offering free entry to kids who bring-a-bear to the Zoo.

On Winnie-the-Pooh Day (Saturday 18 January), children who bring their own Winnie-the-Pooh toy can spend a day at the capital’s zoo for free, exploring Winnie’s former home and visiting his real life friends; philosophical donkeys, cheery pigs, friendly kangaroos, wise owls – and a playful tigger!


First published on 14 October 1926, Winnie-the-Pooh was named after a Canadian black bear called Winnie, who was much loved by author A. A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin, who often visited ZSL London Zoo.

Winnie arrived at the Zoo on 9 December 1914, the mascot of a Canadian regiment, the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade, who were in training on Salisbury Plain – she had been purchased earlier that year for $20 by Lieutenant Harry Colebourn, from a hunter in White River, Ontario, who named her Winnie after his hometown of Winnipeg.

Colebourn intended to eventually take Winnie back to Canada with him and would often visit her at the Zoo while on leave – but after seeing how loved she was by both visitors and staff, decided to leave her in the full time care of the zoo’s keepers once the war ended.

Milne decided to name his fictional character, Pooh Bear, after Winnie, and the rest, as they say, is history.

During the day, fans of the childhood classic can visit the Winnie statue at the heart of the Zoo – giving her nose a traditional rub for good luck – before tucking into a honey sandwich at the Zoo’s Terrace Restaurant.

Visitors and their bears can also snap a selfie with their favourite Winnie-the-Pooh character and share it with @ZSLLondonZoo using the hashtag #WinnieThePoohDay.

Celebrate Winnie-the-Pooh Day at ZSL London Zoo. Head to www.zsl.org to find out more and book tickets.

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