CHESTER Zoo has started taking bookings ahead of reopening on Monday.

But many families have had difficulty accessing the website today, Thursday, as it keeps crashing.

The news that the popular attraction could once again reopen was welcomed by thousands of people across the country.

And it seems a large number of them have been trying to get tickets on the first day bookings have reopened.

In an email sent to Chester Zoo members, bosses said: "A week ago we were in despair, not knowing when we would reopen, or if we could even survive much longer but your support has been incredible.

"Every kind donation, every word of support. It really made a HUGE difference.

"The fight isn’t over for us just yet but we’re delighted that the Prime Minister announced last night that we can reopen on Monday 15 June.

"Our priority is keeping you safe so we are limiting the number of visitors to the zoo each day and asking everyone to book their place online."

Spaces have been reserved for members.

They have been asked to visit the member booking page and select the date they would like to visit.

EVERYBODY must book in advance for entry to the zoo so staff can control the number of people entering the park.

What changes have been made ahead of reopening?

Bosses revealed a number of changes had been made while they waited for a reopening date.

One of the biggest changes will be a drastic reduction in the number of visitors permitted into the zoo per day, with all ticket sales going online.

People will not be allowed access by simply turning up on the day.

Restaurants and cafes, which closed a few days before the zoo shut its gates, will remain closed, along with all indoor animal habitats such as the Tropical Realm and the Fruit Bat Forest.

Speaking last month, Jamie Christon, Chester Zoo’s chief operating officer, added: "The first thing people will notice is that things look a little different. That’s because our teams have been working hard to install an array of new, physical safety measures.

"These include self-scanning ticket lanes, floor markings to clearly indicate two metre distances, multiple hand sanitisation points, a huge amount of signage and protective screens in all of our key locations and service areas.

"The zoo is, of course, a huge 128-acre site but still, you’ll also notice fewer people than before.

"We’re going to be heavily limiting visitor numbers each day and every single visitor, and member, must book online. A new area of our website has been specially built to facilitate this.

"There are a raft of other things happening too. All our indoor animal habitats will remain closed, as will our restaurants and cafes, but our outdoor food and drink kiosks will be open and we’ve added more outdoor picnic areas, while lots of fully trained staff will be dotted around to ensure people keep well apart.

"Hard surfaces, such as touchscreen computers and cash machines will be covered and out of use, and viewing windows will have one-metre standoff markings around them, again to prevent touching.

"Stringent deep cleaning will also be ongoing."