Landmark Dudley Zoo entrance to be lit up

Dudley Zoo’s historic ‘wave’ entrance will be lit up as part of future plans for the attraction, bosses have revealed.

The wave entrance at Dudley Zoo
The wave entrance at Dudley Zoo

Work is taking place to restore the row of five gates and eight turnstiles as part of a multi-million pound improvement scheme at the attraction.

Metal meshing has been re-painted and part of the roof, a series of S-shaped interlocking canopies, is being painted its original blue colour.

But bosses at the zoo today said they had further plans for the iconic entrance already in the pipeline.

They want the entrance, one of the town’s best-known landmarks, to be lit up for the first time in its history.

Work to illuminate the building is expected to cost around £40,000 and officials have already submitted funding bids to secure the needed cash.

Chief executive Peter Suddock said: “Our aim has been to restore the entrance to how it appeared back in 1937 when the zoo was first opened.

“However, we want to take things into the future as well and already have plans for the entrance to be illuminated.

“Funding bids have already been submitted. If everything goes to plan we hope this work can be done in the near future.” And Mr Suddock said there were also plans for more activities at historic Dudley Castle, which is a part of the zoo site. The zoo plans to launch a new castle experience next March in addition to the existing activities at the 11th century site.

The experience would not only focus on the castle’s history but show the relationship between people and animals during the Medieval period.

Mr Suddock said: “This is still in the early stages at the moment and we are still looking at how this new activity can be set up and managed.

“Our aim is to have it up and running by next Easter.

All of the work which is taking place here at the zoo is very exciting and satisfying to see after so many years of planning.

“However we are also looking at what more can be done in the future.”

Work has now been completed on a new entrance and shop at the attraction and it has opened to the public. An official opening ceremony is set to take place in May.

Improvement works to car parks will be carried out over the summer and is expected to be completed by September. Development of a new access road is also nearing completion.

Previously refurbishment has also been carried out on the zoo’s 1958 chairlift and an apprenticeship scheme launched for concrete repair and conservation skills.

Mr Suddock said the launch of the apprentice scheme was something he was very proud of.

“We have had to look at ways of doing repairs and maintenance differently due to the historic nature of the buildings,” he said.

“What we have learned during this process will help us to ensure the buildings are kept in excellent condition for many years to come.

“It also means we will have people with the skills to carry out necessary works around the site in the future.

“Like the new developments like lighting up the main entrance we are always looking at how we can improve things further in the years to come.”