Chester Zoo has submitted plans for ‘Grasslands’ according to the Gillespies website. This is an immersive visitor attraction that will showcase and celebrate the habitat of the African grasslands. The project builds on the zoo’s recent successful developments and forms part of the zoo’s wider strategic development plans.
Gillespies are leading the development of the grasslands masterplan. It will be working closely with Chester Zoo in-house teams, as well as a team of external consultants. The aim is to create a unique, immersive and truly memorable naturalistic landscape that will connect more people than ever before with nature by offering a range of close-up experiences with threatened species.
The centrepiece will be a large, open African savannah habitat, home to many rare species including the Rothschild’s giraffe and Grevy’s zebra, as well as ostrich and antelope. It will also include an African Wetlands Aviary, which will be home to a flamboyance of greater flamingos.
Grasslands will include the Zoo’s Tsavo experience featuring Eastern black rhino and African painted dogs. The proposals will present a number of Africa’s unique landscape habitats and typologies from the open Savannah Plains to the Rift Valley where visitors will come face to face with some of the Zoo’s smaller species among Kopje rocks, including vultures, aardvarks and warthogs.
A new restaurant will sit atop of a Kopje landscape offering visitors breathtaking views across the savannah and the surrounding animal habitats. The development will also include an African-inspired village. This will immerse guests in the culture, colours and vibrancy of Africa and overnight accommodation, made up of luxury lodges and tents overlooking a fishing lake, with unique views of the bachelor giraffe habitat.
The Grasslands will help promote the zoo’s conservation and education aims while also further establishing Chester Zoo’s position as one of the UK’s leading tourist attractions.
The project will open to the public in 2022.