Two exciting new attractions are in store for visitors to London Zoo this spring as the country prepares for the next stage of lockdown easing.
On Monday, as part of the Government’s plan out of the lockdown, indoor entertainment will be allowed, and the zoo will be inviting visitors to enter the world of Tiny Giants – a new, immersive exhibit celebrating the planet’s smallest but mightiest animals.
Shining a spotlight on the planet’s smallest superheroes, from underwater corals and the aquatic wildlife they support, to industrious leafcutter ants, spiders and beetles – the exhibit celebrates the species we quite literally couldn’t live without.
Postponed from 2020 as a result of the pandemic, Tiny Giants: From Minibeasts to Coral Reefs will open to the public on Monday.
Visitors will be given a bugs-eye view of the world, as they find themselves shrunk to the size of an ant, surrounded by a garden of giant leaves and flowers, to enter the zoo’s newest exhibit.
See through the eyes of a bug – from multi-lensed bees and HD vision jumping spiders to the psychedelic sight of a mantis shrimp, before trying to spot miniature masters of camouflage and meeting the multi-talented aquatic animals who clean our oceans, seas and rivers.
Take a break beneath the watery lights of a seven-metre-long reef aquarium, where visitors can watch schools of reef fish, including clownfish and blue tangs – known to many as Nemo and Dory; visit the zoo’s Partula Lab, where critically endangered tree snails are being reared as part of a vital breeding and reintroduction programme to save the species from extinction; and take a trip to In with the Spiders and the UK’s only spider walkthrough – where nothing stands between visitors and a clutter of golden orb spiders in their beautiful webs – plus discover other amazing arachnids and their incredible skills.
Once your Tiny Giants adventure is complete, head to the zoo’s Wildlife Garden to learn how to make gardens and windowsills across the country a welcoming place for these small but mighty creatures.
Then, during May half-term the Very Hungry Caterpillar will join his animal friends at the Zoo for a transformational week of storytelling and activities celebrating the famous picture book and its ravenous, wriggly hero.
Tiny Giants, opening at ZSL London Zoo in May, will be free with zoo entry – book your tickets now here.
In line with social distancing measures, visitors must book tickets in advance. Entry is via a contactless system at the gates and numbers are limited so visitors can be sure to feel incredibly safe at the zoo.
Handwashing facilities are available throughout the zoo and outdoor benches and tables are cleaned thoroughly throughout the day. Takeaway food only is currently available.
More information can be found here.
Kathryn England, Chief Operating Officer for ZSL London Zoo said: “With our tried and tested safety measures in place, we’re more than ready to welcome people back for a much-needed fun day out.
“The excitement inside London Zoo, from both zookeepers and visitors, has been heartwarming: seeing so many happy faces of all ages has definitely made us feel hopeful for an amazing spring and summer at the Zoo – and we have lots of exciting events planned for as restrictions are eased.
“Being closed for so long means we have a long road to recovery ahead of us, but luckily the best thing people can now do to support us is simply to book a ticket to visit.”
Elsewhere zookeepers are celebrating the arrival of a new Asiatic lioness at the zoo after welcoming a new mate for male Bhanu – as part of the global breeding programme for the endangered species.
Four-year-old Arya, who travelled to London from Paignton Zoo on April 27, has spent her first few days at the Zoo settling in, before briefly venturing outside recently for the first time, where zookeepers spotted her tail waving in amongst the leaves.
Zookeeper Tara Humphreys said: “Arya is a lively young lion who is particularly fond of climbing trees, which she’ll find in abundance in her new Land of the Lions home – her favourite scent is peppermint, which she absolutely adores rolling in, so we’ve made sure to stock up on plenty of fresh bunches as a housewarming present.
“At the moment, Arya is sticking to mainly night-time explorations of her new paddock, so we’ve been giving her a bit of privacy while she settles in – but we did spot her peeking at us from behind the bushes when she crept outside today, and she’ll venture out more and more as she grows in confidence.”
To make way for Arya’s arrival, zookeepers waved a fond fur well to London-born lionesses Heidi, Indi and Rubi, who moved to Germany’s Schwerin Zoo on April 8.
Big cat team leader Kate Sanders added: “Arya is also the daughter of one of London Zoo’s former lions, Lucifer, so it feels particularly fitting that she’s here, where her father spent so many happy years: many of our regular visitors will have fond memories of Lucifer and we’re sure they’ll be excited to visit his daughter over the coming months.”
An Endangered species, wild Asiatic lions are today found in just one small area of Gujarat, India, where approximately 500 remain in a forest the size of London – ZSL London Zoo’s Land of the Lions, opened in 2016 by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, is designed to tell the story of these majestic felines and the work being done to protect them.
Support ZSL London Zoo while enjoying a roarsome day out: find out more and book tickets online now here.
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