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Phase one of Chester Zoo's £40m Islands development opens to the public
POSTED 14 Jul 2015 . BY Tom Anstey
The expansion is themed with authentic items curated from Indonesia Credit: Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo has debuted its new £40m (US$62.2m, €56.4m) Islands development, making the visitor attraction one of the largest and most important zoos anywhere in the world.

Phase one of the Islands development, which accounts for around 50 per cent of the total expansion, sets visitors off on a journey through a highly-immersive, themed adventure across a series of Indonesian islands. The first phase puts the spotlight on species including the critically endangered Visayan warty pig, banteng, lowland anoa and cassowary. The main feature of this phase is a 15-minute lazy river boat trip, which takes guests on an alternate journey through the exhibits, offering a cageless river experience.

“When George Mottershead built the zoo back in 1931, he tried to create a zoo without bars and this is what we’re trying to do here,” said Chester Zoo MD, Jamie Christon, speaking to AM2 at the launch. “For example, on our riverside enclosures we’ve created ramshackled jetties, but in fact there’s a fence below there stopping the animals being able to come out.

“A lot of work has also gone into interpretation and theming,” he continued. ”Our in-house team is responsible for that. We’ve been out in Indonesia, we’ve had our team take photos of what people sell at the markets there and tried to create something similar. We’ve even brought objects back from Indonesia including real fishing boats and products to create a totally immersive experience.

“What we’re trying to do is create the illusion of adventure. You’re not sure where you’re going, we don’t give you a detailed map, your ears are filled with sounds pumped in on this expedition and you wonder, where you’re going. It’s something totally different to anything on offer anywhere else.”

Architectural firm Dan Pearlman – which has also worked on zoos in Hannover and South Korea – led the project, while engineering company Laing O’Rourke was awarded the build following a nationwide tender process.

A second phase of development at Islands, scheduled to open in around a month’s time, will see the addition of Monsoon Forest – the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK. Included will be raised walkways, underwater viewing and free flight areas in a sub-tropical climate. In addition, phase two will include a bird house featuring the incredibly rare Bali Starling, orangutan and Sunda gharial crocodile habitats, plus a new tiger enclosure which will sit on the edge of the lazy river.

Islands is expected to increase footfall at the zoo by around 150,000, bringing numbers up to 1.5 million visitors annually. The boat ride has a capacity of up to 6,000 visitors a day, with 18,000 visiting the zoo at peak times.

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Credit: Chester Zoo
An in-house team travelled to Indonesia to recreate the expansion's theming Credit: Chester Zoo
The first phase puts the spotlight on species including the critically endangered Visayan warty pig Credit: Chester Zoo
The main feature of this phase is a 15-minute lazy river boat trip Credit: Chester Zoo
Architectural firm Dan Pearlman – who have also worked on zoos in Hannover and South Korea – led the project Credit: Chester Zoo
A second phase of development at Islands, scheduled to open in around a month’s time, will see the addition of Monsoon Forest Credit: Chester Zoo
The lazy river offers a cageless boat trip Credit: Chester Zoo
PROJECT PROFILE:

Chester Zoo Islands
Chester Zoo has debuted its new £40m (US$62.2m, €56.4m) Islands development, making the visitor attraction one of the largest and most important zoos anywhere in the world.


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NEWS
Phase one of Chester Zoo's £40m Islands development opens to the public
POSTED 14 Jul 2015 . BY Tom Anstey
The expansion is themed with authentic items curated from Indonesia Credit: Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo has debuted its new £40m (US$62.2m, €56.4m) Islands development, making the visitor attraction one of the largest and most important zoos anywhere in the world.

Phase one of the Islands development, which accounts for around 50 per cent of the total expansion, sets visitors off on a journey through a highly-immersive, themed adventure across a series of Indonesian islands. The first phase puts the spotlight on species including the critically endangered Visayan warty pig, banteng, lowland anoa and cassowary. The main feature of this phase is a 15-minute lazy river boat trip, which takes guests on an alternate journey through the exhibits, offering a cageless river experience.

“When George Mottershead built the zoo back in 1931, he tried to create a zoo without bars and this is what we’re trying to do here,” said Chester Zoo MD, Jamie Christon, speaking to AM2 at the launch. “For example, on our riverside enclosures we’ve created ramshackled jetties, but in fact there’s a fence below there stopping the animals being able to come out.

“A lot of work has also gone into interpretation and theming,” he continued. ”Our in-house team is responsible for that. We’ve been out in Indonesia, we’ve had our team take photos of what people sell at the markets there and tried to create something similar. We’ve even brought objects back from Indonesia including real fishing boats and products to create a totally immersive experience.

“What we’re trying to do is create the illusion of adventure. You’re not sure where you’re going, we don’t give you a detailed map, your ears are filled with sounds pumped in on this expedition and you wonder, where you’re going. It’s something totally different to anything on offer anywhere else.”

Architectural firm Dan Pearlman – which has also worked on zoos in Hannover and South Korea – led the project, while engineering company Laing O’Rourke was awarded the build following a nationwide tender process.

A second phase of development at Islands, scheduled to open in around a month’s time, will see the addition of Monsoon Forest – the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK. Included will be raised walkways, underwater viewing and free flight areas in a sub-tropical climate. In addition, phase two will include a bird house featuring the incredibly rare Bali Starling, orangutan and Sunda gharial crocodile habitats, plus a new tiger enclosure which will sit on the edge of the lazy river.

Islands is expected to increase footfall at the zoo by around 150,000, bringing numbers up to 1.5 million visitors annually. The boat ride has a capacity of up to 6,000 visitors a day, with 18,000 visiting the zoo at peak times.

Sign up here to get the Attractions Management weekly ezine and every issue of Attractions Management magazine free on digital.
Credit: Chester Zoo
An in-house team travelled to Indonesia to recreate the expansion's theming Credit: Chester Zoo
The first phase puts the spotlight on species including the critically endangered Visayan warty pig Credit: Chester Zoo
The main feature of this phase is a 15-minute lazy river boat trip Credit: Chester Zoo
Architectural firm Dan Pearlman – who have also worked on zoos in Hannover and South Korea – led the project Credit: Chester Zoo
A second phase of development at Islands, scheduled to open in around a month’s time, will see the addition of Monsoon Forest Credit: Chester Zoo
The lazy river offers a cageless boat trip Credit: Chester Zoo
RELATED STORIES
Blow for Chester Zoo as 'Our Zoo' axed by the BBC


Our Zoo, the popular TV drama about the history of Chester Zoo, has been cancelled “to create room for new shows” according to the BBC.
'Our Zoo' TV show worth £30m in PR to Chester Zoo, says MD


Chester Zoo’s managing director Jamie Christon has said the hit BBC show, Our Zoo, has provided the equivalent of around £30m (US$48.1m, €38m) in free PR for the visitor attraction in the north of England.
Chester Zoo launches crowd sourcing project for heritage collection


With the upcoming debut of the BBC’s six-part period drama Our Zoo starting today (3 September), Chester Zoo has created an interactive microsite to crowd source memories of the zoo throughout its 80-year history.
Chester Zoo announces phase two expansion


In an exclusive interview with AM2, Jamie Christon, MD of Chester Zoo, UK, has revealed the masterplan for the attraction’s second wave of expansion which will follow the completion of the zoo’s Islands project in December this year. Islands will open to the public in May 2015.
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TOR Systems have been in this business since 1981. [more...]
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A former national ski team racer, ProSlide® CEO Rick Hunter’s goal has been to integrate the smoot [more...]
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QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
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IAAPA Expo Europe was established in 2006 and has grown to the largest international conference and [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Giving the Gift of an experience has limitless benefits
As we emerge from the clutches of Covid and our freedom of movement is fully restored, giving the gift of an experience is more appealing than ever before. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Proslide Tech Inc - ProSlide | Atlantis Dubai
More videos:
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

01-07 Dec 2022

World Leisure Congress 2022

tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
+ More diary  
 


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