Skip to main content

Bristol Zoo Gardens virtual zoo plans include lido, ‘wild island’

Our World Bristol virtual zoo within Bristol Zoo Gardens to include circular lido, ‘wild island’, and viewing tower.

bristol zoo augmented reality

The Our World Bristol virtual zoo within the Bristol Zoo Gardens site in Clifton would feature a circular lido, ‘wild island’, and 100-foot viewing tower.

The world’s first augmented reality (AR) zoo would be located within Bristol Zoo, as the attraction is moving from the site to the Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire.

Bristol Zoological Society, which owns Bristol Zoo Gardens, had planned to sell the land for a private housing development.

However, the Our World Bristol project has proposed an alternative future for the Bristol Zoo Gardens, with more information shared at a recent public meeting.

Our World Bristol supporter and architect George Ferguson said the “world’s first augmented reality zoo” would be “entertaining but also hugely educational”, Bristol Live reports.

World’s first AR zoo

bristol zoo augmented reality

The plan, which includes ideas developed by the Eden Project team, would preserve the listed buildings and enhance the landscape, keeping the lake and protected trees intact.

The campaign proposes a circular lido, ‘wild island’ and 100-foot viewing tower, where guests can use digital headsets to experience Bristol in the Ice Ages and other periods.

Clare Wilks, director at Bristol-based LDA Design, said: “A network of meandering paths would give a good feeling of discovery and play.”

“There would also be amphitheatres, grottos, lawns to create stages and exhibitions, and really create a great magical experience,” she added.

“Maybe some holograms of giraffes, or you could walk across the lake, you could explore the orbital loop by moonlight, before dining amongst the gardens, or you could plunge in the lido.”

Bristol Zoo relocating

Attractions would include a virtual tour of the area that once housed Alfred the gorilla in the 1930s and 1940s, as well as time travel and AR experiences.

Wilks said the virtual zoo would be a “playground for the imagination”, and Ferguson said guests would meet enormous beasts built by Arcadia.

“The idea of being with the animals in the place that you’re familiar with is such a strong one – with the lions but not threatened by them, with the lions that are not captured, not behind bars,” he added.

The virtual zoo would cost approximately £75 million over five to seven years of development. Our World Bristol is set to present its proposal again at a meeting on November 10.

Bristol Zoo Gardens plans to close late next year. The Wild Place Project will remain open and become the new Bristol Zoo in 2024.

Images: Our World Bristol

Share this

Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

More from this author

More from this author

Related content

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update