Monkeying around at Chester Zoo.


Chester Zoo is one of the biggest and most popular zoos in the UK, with over 12,000 animals and 125 acres of award winning zoological gardens. With 1.6 million visitors annually, BIAZA member Chester Zoo continually update their offering to keep it fresh, ensuring visitors return year after year. Their newest addition is the Islands a tropical island experience, complete with River Boat ride, island huts and a Timberplay play area, located right next to the Manado Kitchen restaurant and picnic area.

As part of the development of this new area, which features the amazing tropical environments of six South Eastern Asian Islands, Chester Zoo wanted to boost the play value, supporting exploration of the area for younger visitors. The carefully chosen selection of play equipment and the positioning of these creates hiding places and vantage points to enhance interaction with the space.

A large Climbing Structure is the key play feature, which can accommodate many children at any one time. This is perfect for providing challenging fun for a children across a wide age range, who can find the ideal level of risk for them. A Cradle Next swing can be used by all, from toddlers to teenagers as it can give the passengers a variety of play experiences, from a gentle swing to a high energy, thrilling ride. Other equipment includes platforms, climbing nets, wobbly bridge and rope crossing, designed in an exciting configuration. Carefully selected planting supports the play offering, creating nooks and dens as well as adding significantly to the aesthetics of the space.

Gareth Simpson, Head of Site Operations at Chester Zoo comments:-
“Within seconds of the play area opening it was swarming with children, making the most of the equipment and enjoying themselves. I have always found Timerbplay to be very helpful, readily accommodating adjustments to the design. The installation was seamless and very quick, certainly helped by the site visits in advance to ensure logistically everything went well. Timberplay’s aftercare has also been second to none with follow up site visits to ensure that all is going well and that we are happy with it.”

Play is obviously a key feature of the offering at Chester Zoo, but this new play area gives younger children the opportunity to enjoy themselves in a different way, in a different location, clambering over the hefty timbers in the Climbing Structure to find a perfect perching point, whist their parents and carers relax in the nearby Street Kitchen.

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