New images and details have been released of Chester Zoo’s expansion plans, the new Grasslands attraction, set to open in 2022.
The zoo is hoping to build a large restaurant and overnight accommodation, featuring fisherman’s lodges around a lake with safari-style tents overlooking the giraffes.
As part of the expansion, Chester Zoo would include a range of different African habitats, from bush land to wildlife-rich plains.
Its centrepiece would be a large savannah habitat, home to rare species including the Rothschild’s giraffe and Grevy’s zebra, as well as ostriches and antelopes.
The new area would be bordered by the zoo’s existing African Tsavo reserve area for black rhinos and African wild dogs.
The artist’s impressions and planning application were reported on Cheshire Live and are via the Cheshire West and Chester Council website.
Accommodation and restaurant
The zoo’s proposal includes overnight accommodation in 42 rooms – 28 fisherman’s lodges and 14 tents. The structures will each have their own decks, supported by timber posts in the lake.
On the edge of the mixed species habitat, the zoo hopes to build a large 270-seater restaurant offering spectacular balcony views across the savannah.
“Visitors would also come face to face with some of the planet’s smallest grassland creatures in a specially designed indoor habitat celebrating the contribution of all species to the ecosystem,” a spokesperson said.
Chester Zoo’s strategic development plan
The new habitat is the latest stage in the zoo’s strategic development plan, which will see Chester Zoo split into themed geographic regions with more natural habitats for threatened species.
Islands, which opened in 2015, was the first stage in the process.
A spokesperson explained: “The new habitat is the latest stage in the zoo’s strategic development plan: a vision for the future of the zoo, broken into themed geographic regions with ever more natural habitats for threatened species.
“The existing Islands zone, which opened in 2015, was the first stage in this process, bringing the zoo’s global conservation work to life for visitors in Chester.
“The Grasslands development is being designed to help the zoo continue to push the boundaries of world-class animal husbandry and welfare, while also further establishing Chester Zoo’s position as one of the UK’s leading tourist attractions.”