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Chester Zoo's proposed restaurant, overnight lodges and tents

Chester Zoo’s proposed restaurant, overnight lodges and tents

Stunning images show Chester Zoo ’s plans for a large restaurant plus overnight accommodation comprising fisherman’s lodges around a lake with safari-style tents overlooking the giraffes.

These artist’s impressions accompany a planning application now live on the Cheshire West and Chester Council website.

Proposed dining and accommodation facilities are part and parcel of the zoo’s new Grasslands attraction planned to open to the public in 2022.

The vision is for a range of different African habitats from bush land to wildlife rich plains.

Its centrepiece would be a large, open African savannah habitat, home to multiple rare species including the Rothschild’s giraffe and Grevy’s zebra, as well as ostrich and antelope, all living alongside one another.

On the edge of the mixed species habitat, the zoo aspires to create a large 270-seater restaurant offering spectacular balcony views across the savannah.

View gallery

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.

The zoo – which is a wildlife conservation and education charity – hopes to connect more people than ever before with nature by offering close-up experiences with species such as cranes, vultures, aardvarks and warthogs, as part of efforts to inspire a nation of conservationists.

And the proposal also includes the potential for the zoo to develop ‘discreet, overnight accommodation’ in 42 rooms – 28 lodges and 14 tents.

Based around a lake would be a settlement of simple fisherman’s lodges, designed to appear as though individually constructed by their owners.

The informal arrangement produces a cluster of authentic timber structures, echoing an African village setting. Each have their own decks which over sail the water, supported on timber posts set into the lake.

Interior views of the accommodation with, left, a lodge and lodge interior below and, right, tent with tent interior below.

In the centre of the lake is a Boma.

The name is taken from a traditional African livestock enclosure, but in this instance provides a thatched roof enclosure with open sides, offering covered external space for dining and entertainment in a lakeside setting. Beyond the lake and surrounding the settlement, safari-style tents provide further accommodation.

This new area would be bordered by the zoo’s large, existing African Tsavo reserve area for Eastern back rhino and African painted dogs.

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.

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Islands, which opened in 2015, was the first stage in this process, bringing the zoo’s global conservation work to life for visitors in Chester.

Grasslands is 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.

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