Bear Wood, the UK’s largest brown bear exhibit, has opened at the Wild Place Project. The immersive experience in Bristol also houses wolverine, lynx and wolves.
The 7.5-acre exhibit is now home to four European brown bears, five wolves, two Eurasian lynx and two wolverines, who live in ancient woodland underneath a winding treetop walkway.
The attraction tells the story of British woodland from around 8000 BC, right up to present day. Visitors will learn how the animals became extinct.
Guests begin their journey by entering a ‘time chamber’, where the clock is set to 8000 BC. They are then taken through the woodland where they can spot the animals in an immersive experience.
Experience the ancient woodland from 8000 BC
Bear Wood features a 700-metre walkway with heights of four metres, as well as a 180-degree panoramic viewing den with floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
For children, there are interactive play areas, including a giant bird’s nest, and stories about the woodland throughout the year.
Bear Wood is also attempting to protect Britain’s woodland and offering a habitat for threatened species, including greater-spotted woodpeckers, hedgehogs and tawny owls.
Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about and discover the smaller animals with the help of Bear Wood’s expert rangers.
Guests start their journey in a ‘time chamber’
The Bristol Zoological Society opened the Wild Place Project in 2013, a sister attraction to Bristol Zoo Gardens.
Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said Bear Wood “is this the most significant new addition to Wild Place Project that we have created to date”.
Morris added that he’s “confident that this will be the best and most immersive bear exhibit in the country”.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex visited the Wild Place Project yesterday to officially open Bear Wood. The Earl of Wessex became Royal Patron of Bristol Zoological Society in 2013.
Get a look at woodpeckers, hedgehogs and tawny owls
?? We are experiencing high numbers of visitors due to the opening of Bear Wood – we're very excited for you all to see it! ??
— Wild Place Project (@wild_place) July 24, 2019
“Congratulations to everyone involved in Bear Wood,” said the Earl of Wessex. “I know trying to create an environment that is a natural habitat has been a long held dream.
“I hope everyone is very proud of what has been achieved. I trust that many visitors will come to enjoy Bear Wood for years to come.”
Images: Bear Wood