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Twycross Zoo, Leicestershire, U.K.
in Zoos
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member GeoRams
N 52° 39.228 W 001° 31.795
30U E 599442 N 5834774
Quick Description: Twycross Zoo opened in 1963 on a site in Leicestershire. Initially a comparatively modest collection, it has grown into one of the major British zoos, attracting over 450,000 visitors a year. It is famous for its collection of primates.
Location: United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/17/2008 12:48:26 PM
Waymark Code: WM369T
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Min Dawg
Views: 121

Long Description:
Twycross Zoo (also known as the World Primate Centre) is a large zoo near the village of Twycross on the border of Leicestershire (on the A444 about 3 miles off the A42/M42). The zoo was founded in 1963 by Molly Badham and Nathalie Evans. In 1972 it became a charitable trust (The East Midland Zoological Society). The zoo attracts around 500,000 visitors a year. In 2000 Badham and Evans co-wrote Molly's Zoo, a book telling the story of the zoo's history.

The zoo is open from 10:00am all year round except Christmas Day, and closes at 5:30pm in summer (4:00pm in winter).

The zoo is notable for having the largest collection of primates in the world. It is the only British zoo to exhibit all four species of great ape, including the UK's only group of breeding bonobos (which joined the zoo back in 1992). It is also known for its large collection of chimpanzees, some of whom famously featured in television commercials for PG Tips tea. Twycross Zoo also holds a diverse collection of other animals, many of them threatened species. They include the Amur leopard, the rarest big cat in the world with only 30-40 animals left in the wild. The leopards at Twycross are part of a European endangered species captive breeding programme. In December 2006, twin cubs were born, both male. Unfortunately their mother died shortly after the birth due to illness, so the cubs are being hand-reared. A group of four female Asian elephants occupy a sizeable enclosure on the west side of the zoo. The females are all of breeding age, but the current facilities are not adequate for keeping a bull elephant for breeding purposes. Rather than extend the facilities or lose their elephants completely, Twycross are looking into the possibility of artificial insemination. Also here are Asiatic lions, giraffes, Bactrian camels, Patagonian sea lions, penguins and many other mammals, birds and reptiles.

The Tropical House, opened in 2005, houses a variety of South American species in a naturalistic walk-through rainforest. Groups entering the house are accompanied by zoo staff and are limited in size. Displays outside the house explain how people live in the rainforest, including a selection of plants and trees that can be harvested for food. Inside the house, a "ranger's hut" includes a specimen tank that houses endangered blue poison dart frogs. The main rainforest exhibit houses free-roaming species which include common marmosets, green iguana, Linne's two-toed sloths and many varieties of tropical birds. There are also turtles, fruit bats, spiders and a boa constrictor tank. The Tropical House formerly housed the zoo's reptile collection. Improvements to the elephant paddock were completed in spring 2007. The new-look exhibit features a sand paddock with standing dead trees, a mud paddock, 3 outdoor sleeping pens and the UK's largest elephant pool. Other work continues around the elephant enclosure which is due for completion around summer 2008. Opened in July 2007, the Mary Brancker Waterways and Bornean Longhouse features a walk-through exhibit with waterfowl and Bornean birds and turtles. Educational material explains how people live in the traditional longhouses in Borneo. An enclosure for Scottish wild cats is also featured. Current improvements include the Malayan Tapir enclosure being extended.

In September 2007, Twycross Zoo announced that it had received a grant of £3 million from the East Midlands Development Agency which has helped it to achieve its fundraising target for a new £11 million visitor centre.[1] The project will transform the main entrance to the zoo, and will feature an eco-friendly building containing a gift shop, cafeteria and information about the zoo's conservation work. The development will also feature a new enclosure for snow leopards and a large aviary. Construction is due to start towards the end of 2008 and is expected to take 18 months. Other future projects will include work on a new Lion and Dhole enclosure, as well as Otters and Vultures.

The catering facilities include the Monkey Bar Cafe near the main car parks, also the Cockatoo Cafe, Gorilla Outpost Cafe, Oasis Cafe, and a new healthy bistro which will open very soon. The zoo has 2 main gift shops and an Information centre. There are also many toilets and baby changing facilities around the zoo. For the children, there is a large adventure playground which includes slides, climbing frames, swings etc. Also nearby is a fantastic Pirates Cove where there is children's fair rides, inflatable slides and a 9 hole crazy golf course. There is also a narrow gauge railway.

Zoo Website address: [Web Link]

Admission Cost: 10.00 (listed in local currency)

Visit Instructions:
Please tell us a story about your visit to the zoo and the date of your visit. Additional photos, especially animals, are appreciated, but not required.
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