A WILDLIFE park will open in Almondsbury this summer—more than three years after plans to build the conservation centre were set in motion.
Bristol Zoo has announced it will launch Wild Place in July, a more modest version of the multi-million National Wildlife Conservation Park it initially hoped to build.
The family-led attraction, located at Hollywood Tower Estate, off Blackhorse Hill, will offer visitors a new approach to wildlife centres by allowing them to see animals in surroundings close to their real habitats.
Wendy Walton, director of commercial operations, said the project had received £1million in financial backing.
"Wild Place is a brand new offering, with conservation at its heart," she said. "With a current investment of £1million we’re looking to build on what’s already on the land and make the most of all that nature has to offer."
She added that Bristol Zoo's ambitious plan to open the country’s first National Wildlife Conservation Park in Almondsbury was still on the cards.
"We are still committed to building the world class visitor attraction that is the National Wildlife Conservation Park," she said. "Wild Place is the first step of that exciting development and will combine wildlife, play, conservation and education."
The zoo received planning permission to build the world-class park in 2009. In 2010, it launched a fundraising to campaign to start work on the 55-hectare wildlife centre.
Wild Place is expected to welcome 100,000 visitors over the course of its first year.
Various eco-systems will be created at the park and guests will have the opportunity to explore an East-Africa Savannah, with zebra and eland roaming in the grassland, and a Madagascar "walkthrough" complete with a lemur colony.
A play barn and café will also be available to visitors.
The zoo's ultimate goal is to secure enough financial backing to implement its full vision for the park. This would mean creating eco-systems such as Congo tropical forest, Sumatra forest, Indian Ocean coral reef, British ancient woodland, Georgia wetlands and a Costa Rica Swamp house.
To find out more about Bristol Zoo and Wild Place, visit www.bristolzoo.org.uk or phone 0117 974 7300.