Last time we updated you, we had the beginnings of a very large steel structure. Today, we have a building – complete with solid walls and even a roof!
We’ve removed another building near the front of the zoo, which has opened up the skyline to give you a much better view from the car park across to the new development. As you look at the building now, you’ll see that the outside has been clad (on one side at least) and the majority of the roof is now in place. This is the side you’ll arrive at as you stroll up the Visitor Walkway. As you can see, there’s a doorway which will take you straight into the viewing level on the first floor (don’t worry, there will be a bridge connecting this to the walkway!).
In the next photo you can see the view down the Keeper Corridor – this is where they’ll be doing the majority of training work with the elephants. This corridor is also wide enough to provide vehicle access through the house – anything from our maintenance van to a tractor load of hay.
Suspended above is the visitor viewing gallery and to the left you’ll see part of the elephants’ large indoor area.
The indoor area for the elephants is comprised of one very large space, visible from the viewing gallery, along with several other spaces which will allow us to work with the elephants in an off show environment and separate the animals should we need to.
This is the space you’ll be looking into from the viewing gallery. The floor of this area will be deep sand, which will bring the floor level up a lot higher than you can see it is now. The concrete tubes will be buried to provide a solid base for ‘planting’ tree trunks and other enrichment activities for the elephants.
You can also see in the background a high level Keeper Gantry – which is accessed by a three level staircase on the outside of the building. This will give keepers access to a whole host of systems and mechanisms for lighting and feeding.
Outside, there’s still a lot of work to be done in the paddock, but you can see the outdoor bull paddock is starting to take shape. Once the weather eases in the spring work can begin in earnest to transform the (currently rather muddy) paddock into a combination of sand and grass, complete with outdoor pool.
Behind the tree line at the far end of the paddock is our existing Dinosaur Safari. Currently a service road runs between the paddock and the treeline, but we’ll be transforming this into a tarmacked footpath to give visitors a panoramic view across the paddock.
There’s still a long way to go before we’re ready to open but standing on the site now we can really get a feel for what the building will be like!