Chester Zoo debuts Monsoon Forest in phase two of £40m Islands expansion

by Tom Anstey | 21 Aug 2015

Chester Zoo has debuted phase two of its £40m (US$62.2m, €56.4m) Islands project, which is centred around the UK’s largest indoor zoo exhibit, Monsoon Forest.

Developed to put the spotlight on a number of endangered species from Southeast Asia, the new exhibit features its own tropical weather system and a number of tropical plant species. In addition to the Sulawesi crested macaque, rhinoceros hornbill, Asian forest tortoise and the tentacled snake, Monsoon Forest is home to two Sunda gharial crocodiles which have had a special enclosure developed inside the exhibition with an underwater viewing area. Also included are raised walkways and free flight areas for the enclosure’s birds.

Still to come in the ongoing Islands development by Dan Pearlman are the openings of the Sumatran tiger exhibit sitting on the edge of the lazy river ride, the orangutan enclosure and a bird house featuring the incredibly rare Bali Starling.

Following a successful launch last month, 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.

Islands is just the start for Chester Zoo, with the attraction’s managing director, Jamie Christon, exclusively telling AM2 last month that the zoo is currently laying out an ambitious masterplan as it strives to become a world leader in the sector.

For more from Dan Pearlman Architect’s Kieran Stanley on how Chester Zoo balanced the needs of the animals with those of the visitor, check out the latest issue of Attractions Management, available online here.

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Chester Zoo has debuted phase two of its £40m (US$62.2m, €56.4m) Islands project, which is centred around the UK’s largest indoor zoo exhibit, Monsoon Forest. Developed to put the spotlight on a number of endangered species from Southeast Asia, the new exhibit features its own tropical weather system and a number of tropical plant species. In addition to the Sulawesi crested macaque, rhinoceros hornbill, Asian forest tortoise and the tentacled
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Monsoon Forest is home to two Sunda gharial crocodiles  / Chester Zoo
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