Visitors are flocking to Wild Place Project, as it welcomes its 200,000th visitor of the year.
South Gloucestershire’s largest animal attraction is enjoying its highest footfall since opening six years ago, and daily admissions have now exceeded 3,000 for the first time.
It marks a huge milestone for the zoo which has seen visitor numbers grow from 69,000 in its first year to 160,000 in 2016 and 217,000 visitors throughout the whole of 2018.
The record-breaking visitor numbers are largely due to the opening of Wild Place Project’s newest exhibit, Bear Wood, which was officially opened by their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex last month.
Bear Wood is an immersive 7.5-acre woodland exhibit, home to creatures that were once native to England, including bears, lynx and wolverine. The exhibit is proving a huge hit with visitors, along with the park’s the Big Bear Sculpture Trail of 20 life-size painted bear figures.
The sister site to Bristol Zoo Gardens is also home to species including giraffe, zebra, lemurs, cheetahs, wolves, gelada baboons, meerkats and okapi.
To celebrate the record number of visitors, Wild Place Project has announced it will be giving away 10 prizes as a ‘thank you’ to its supporters. Prizes include a keeper for the day experience, a bear adoption and eight bear-themed goodie bags, up for grabs via Wild Place Project’s Facebook page.
Nigel Simpson, Wild Place Project’s head of operations, said: “We are all absolutely delighted to have reached this record number – to have exceeded 200,000 visitors at this time of year is astonishing. It tells us we are doing things right and provide a great day out for everyone.
“Each and every visitor through our gates contributes to the future of the exotic species we care for and plays a key role in the protection of wildlife both in the UK and across the world. Put simply – we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without them.
“Many are not aware but Bristol Zoological Society, which owns and runs both Wild Place Project and Bristol Zoo Gardens, is a conservation and education charity. We rely on the generous support of the public not only to fund our important work at both attractions but also our vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents. Running this exciting competition is a perfect way to say thank you – good luck to everyone!”