Attractions industry news

06 Sep 2019

Chester Zoo gets approval for major Grasslands expansion

Chester Zoo has had plans approved to build an extensive African savannah habitat adjacent to a wide range of accommodation in the form of lodges and safari tents.

A proposal from the UK zoo has been accepted by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s planning committee, with zoo management saying the plans will "connect visitors with nature like never before".

The extension is part of the zoo's 217-acre expansion masterplan, which also includes its £40m (US$49.2m, €44.6m) Islands development currently being partially rebuilt following a fire in its Monsoon Forest.

The expansion will feature multiple rare and endangered species including zebras, giraffes, antelopes and ostriches while existing buildings will be transformed into 28 lodges,14 tents and a restaurant, which gives visitors a view of the new area.

The project will boost the zoo’s work to prevent species extinction, with the creation of more natural habitats for endangered animals.

"Grasslands will be a phenomenal experience and will cement Chester Zoo’s standing as one of the world’s very best attractions," said Jamie Christon, the zoo’s chief operating officer.

"Featuring state of the art conservation breeding facilities for a range of threatened African species, Grasslands will also see the zoo push the boundaries of world-class animal care".

The plans will also include an option for the zoo to develop overnight accommodation which would incorporate an additional 42 traditional discreet African-themed lodges overlooking the Grasslands.

The new Grasslands habitat is part of the zoo’s wider strategic development plan, which is broken into themed geographic regions with evermore natural habitats for threatened species. A tentative opening date has been set for 2022.

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