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Dudley Zoo revamp will start next year

Dudley | News | Published:

A long-awaited revamp of some of Dudley Zoo's most famous buildings, including its iconic wave entrance, will get under way next year, it was announced today.

A long-awaited revamp of some of Dudley Zoo's most famous buildings, including its iconic wave entrance, will get under way next year, it was announced today.

The programme of work for the restoration project, which is being funded with the help of Heritage Lottery cash, has been drawn up.

The Safari Shop, Kiosk and Bear Ravine enclosure are in line for a makeover as part of the scheme, which follows the renovation of the chairlift.

The famous Tecton buildings, which date back to 1937, were made using pre-stressed concrete and architects were able to mould it to create attractive enclosures to fit in with the surrounding landscape and the steepness of the Castle Hill site.

But time has taken its toll on the structures and now repairs are needed to help the zoo continue to use some of the buildings.

Zoo spokeswoman Jill Hitchman said: "Work will start on Safari Shop in September 2013. Once completed, work will begin on the entrance, with a completion date of Spring 2014 – both of these will be done out of the main visitor season.

"Two Tectons will be completed by Spring 2014 then concurrent work will begin on the Bear Ravine and Kiosk." The repairs on the Bear Ravine and Kiosk will be carried out during the main tourist season because they are further away from the main visitor attractions.

The zoo has been granted Heritage Lottery funding of £1.15million for the work.

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The entrance, used only during the busy summer months, will be brought back into use, offering access through the historic gateway from Castle Hill into the proposed new entrance plaza.

The Station Cafe will be refurbished to house an exhibition about Tectons, a new 4D cinema and a shop. Bosses say the bear ravine is most in need of repair and claim it will be restored to provide "a dramatic backdrop in the landscape".

Pathways will be re-introduced to allow access to the upper level promenade.

The revamped kiosk will be used as an imformation point. The chairlift opened on Friday following an investment of £117,000. It had been closed for 10 years. Dudley Zoo opened to the public in May 1937, built over 40-acres within the grounds of Dudley Castle.

The idea to convert the castle's grounds into a zoo came from its then owner, the third Earl of Dudley. The zoo is now home to more than 1,300 animals.

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