Les Mills International
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Les Mills International

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.

The 111 acre (50 hectare) zoo has earmarked an additional 389 acres (157.4 hectares) of space for its second wave of development. Christon revealed ambitious plans are in the works,, saying “We have outline planning permission for a 150-bedroom hotel and we’re also planning to remaster the core zoo to bring it up to the same standard as our Islands project.”

Once open, Islands will be “one of the top five zoo projects anywhere in the world,” according to Christon.

The Islands project, which will be the same size as seven full-size football pirches, will be an immersive experience, themed as an expedition through Indonesia, “following in the footsteps of the explorers and adventurers as you travel through the islands.”

Christon said the idea behind the Islands project is to raise public awareness on the plight faced by animals in the Indonesian region and to show people what conservation efforts are being made by the zoo and other parties.

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

The zoo is also planning to refurbish Oakfield House – a Victorian mansion – as a tourist attraction. Visitor demand is predicted to increase following the BBC’s commissioning of a period drama, airing worldwide in Q3 2014, that tells the story of the founding of the zoo in the 1930s.

One of the zoo’s most significant developments is its Heart of Africa project – an area which will match Islands in size, with a projected opening of 2020. Designs originally included a £90m (US$151m, €111m) Rainforest Biome, though plans have been revised due to funding cuts and are still being formulated.

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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. The 111 acre (50 hectare) zoo has earmarked an additional 389 acres (157.4 hectares) of space for its second wave of development. Christon
VAT,ARC,DES,PHR,CLD
Chester Zoo has a number of big plans beyond its Islands project, which is set to be completed in December / Chester Zoo
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Les Mills International
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