Senior councillors in Leeds will next week discuss a major refurbishment of one of the most popular visitor attractions in the city.
Proposals for a revamp of The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World in Roundhay will be debated by Leeds City Council’s executive board at the meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday 12 December, with approval expected to be given for the first phase of the plans.
Under the £720,000 scheme, the council-managed attraction which is home to a range of animals including meerkats, butterflies, birds, fish, reptiles, nocturnal monkeys and bats would undergo its most significant improvements since first opening to the public in 1984.
The most eye-catching of the improvements would be the creation of a new ‘walkover’ crocodile enclosure, allowing visitors to enjoy a close-up view of the three Morelet’s Crocodiles which arrived at Tropical World in December 2009.
In the three years since their arrival, the trio have grown significantly and are now ready to move into a larger purpose-built enclosure where they can continue to develop to their expected full size of approximately nine feet long.
Another new addition would be the creation of a semi-dark aquarium where colourful tropical fish would be highlighted by ultra-violet lighting, while there would also be improvements made to the nocturnal zone.
A new bigger entrance would be created along with a children’s party and educational area, while there would be also be an extended café area, new shop and toilet facilities.
The proposals have been drawn up following feedback from visitors, as well as a consultation exercise carried out at nearby Roundhay Park Visitor Centre and discussions with the Friends of Roundhay Park and other key stakeholders.
The work will be carried out in two stages to enable the attraction to remain open throughout, with the first seeing the creation of the new crocodile enclosure, entrance and education/children’s zone starting in January 2013 and being completed in March.
The second phase would then be expected to follow in winter 2013 with the revamp complete by Easter 2014.
The improvements will be funded by Leeds City Council along with a generous donation from the Ziff family, who are to continue their long-standing patronage of Tropical World which dates back to the 1980s when Arnold Ziff donated a substantial sum to help Leeds City Council turn the idea of creating a visitor attraction displaying tropical plants and animals into a reality.
In the summer of 2008, the contribution of the Ziff family to Roundhay Park and the city of Leeds as benefactors was officially recognised when Tropical World was renamed ‘The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World’ in their honour, although for day-to-day use it is still known as Tropical World.
The success of the venue has seen Tropical World become one of the leading visitor attractions in Yorkshire, with over 300,000 visits being made each year.
Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:
“Tropical World is a fantastic attraction for Leeds and has been an amazing success for almost 30 years now. We are keen to ensure it has a strong future and with these exciting new elements and changes we are confident it will attract even more visitors in the years to come. We are hugely grateful to the Ziff family for their generous backing of these improvements and continued support.”
For further information on Tropical World and its opening hours go to www.leeds.gov.uk/tropicalworld or call 0113 237 0754.
For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, ,
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472