The final opening weeks of the world’s fifth oldest zoo, Bristol Zoo Gardens, has been marked with the unveiling of a giant interactive gorilla sculpture.
The team behind the historic attraction, which will close on September 3, is encouraging visitors to make one final visit as part of a ‘BIG Summer Send-Off.’
The centrepiece of the final summer programme is ‘Wilder’, a specially-commissioned gorilla sculpture, which is taller than the largest giraffe ever recorded, and as wide as three king size beds.
Sitting tall on the main lawn, ‘Wilder’ delights visitors with surprise movements throughout the day as she ‘eats’ lettuce, sprays unsuspecting guests with water and reveals her baby ‘Monty-Alan’, a name inspired by the national park in Equatorial Guinea where Bristol Zoological Society works to protect western lowland gorillas in the wild.
Clad in sustainable wood, the sculpture has been made from 180 square metres of local yew, cedar, pine and oak, generously donated by Westonbirt Arboretum, and weighs more than four tonnes. As the gorilla presides majestically over proceedings, families also have the chance to immerse themselves in a fun interactive theatrical experience, ‘Into The Wild’, especially written for the final summer.
A theatre ticket can be purchased for the show and visitors are encouraged to book online in advance to avoid disappointment.
Donning animal-eared headphones, families will be taken on a shared adventure, as a cast of performers help them explore and learn about animals, and the positive action we can all take to save wildlife together. Part silent disco, part storytelling adventure, the show has been inspired by the next chapter of the conservation charity’s history, and Bristol Zoo’s story. It encourages children to get wild themselves, with dancing, games and lots of fun for the whole family.
The BIG Summer Send-Off also features a ‘Past, Present, Future’ outdoor exhibition on Bristol Zoo Gardens’ historic top terrace. Running along the main parade, the exhibition features pictures and heartfelt words to create a history of the zoo made by its visitors.
The team behind the impressive installation is Bakehouse Factory – a multi-award-winning theatrical events company in Bristol.
The BIG Summer Send-Off runs from July 21 to Bristol Zoo Gardens’ last day of opening on September 3. Visitors can join in the celebrations by purchasing standard entry tickets. The family theatre show, ‘Into The Wild’, will require an additional ticket purchase of just £5 each to cover the hire of a headset.
Other activities which form part of the final celebrations are The Zoo and You Poetry and Story Competition, The Wall of Memories, and Live Legacy Art, a series of street art murals inspired by the historic Zoo.
And of course the main attractions are the 300 species of animals, including the troop of western lowland gorillas, the red pandas, sloths and penguins, Aquarium and Bug World .
Tickets for the BIG Summer Send-Off and the theatre show ‘Into The Wild’ are available to purchase on Bristol Zoo Gardens’ website www.bristolzoo.org.uk.
Bristol Zoo Gardens will be open to the public until it closes on 3 September 2022, before the new Bristol Zoo is created at the charity’s Wild Place Project site. Throughout that period, Wild Place Project will continue to welcome visitors as usual.
For the latest news and updates from Bristol Zoo Gardens visit bristolzoo.org.uk or follow @bristolzoo on Instagram, @BristolZooGdns on Twitter or @BristolZooGardens on Facebook.