Marwell Zoo’s New Tropical House Exhibit – open to the public this Easter!
As I arrived at Marwell Zoo, I waited for the cute little tractor train that was to take me to a viewing, along with other guests, of the brand new Tropical House exhibit that will be opening to the public for Easter 2018. I didn’t have to wait long as the familiar green and yellow tractor train pulled up and I stepped aboard for the short journey, looking at the animal enclosures along the way.
Stepping out of the icy wind into the heat of Marwell’s new Tropical House was a delight to all the senses. The sights and sounds of birds, free flying in the lush vegetation were pleasing to the eye, putting me in a state of calm in this tranquil, tropical rainforest – home to the many animals that live here!
Built on two levels at a cost of around £8m and part of a £17m investment project, it’s the largest exhibit ever built at Marwell. The Tropical House offers visitors an amazing experience to enjoy, observe and learn about the animals in a lush, tropical environment with an exciting opportunity to view an array of animals, birds, reptiles, fish and plants from tree canopy to forest floor.
This new exhibit has state of the art technology for controlling the delicate climate systems such as heating, humidity and watering and will help create an improved habitat for the different species that will be living in this environment, including the two-toed sloth, pygmy marmoset, mouse deer and monitor lizard.
The exhibit is constructed using the latest technology of 100% recyclable ETFE (Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene) which allows natural daylight to shine through and was previously used in the Eden Project in Cornwall. The Tropical House heating system will be powered by Marwell’s animal waste such as dung, soiled bedding and leftover hay and wood chip from their woodland management operations. This will significantly reduce Marwell’s carbon footprint, taking them a big step closer to their goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2020.
In the Interactive Discovery Zone, find out about alternative, renewable forms of energy and how the energy we use to power our modern lifestyles is generated and what we can all do to play our part to help conservation.
As I wondered through this green and tropical haven, it gave me a chance to connect with nature and think about the environment and the impact humans are having on climate change along with the pressures we are putting on wildlife and the natural world. I hope it will have an impact on others to think about how we choose to live our lives and that it will be in a responsible and sustainable manner, caring and conserving the beautiful places on this planet that we all share, for future generations to enjoy.
It seemed quite natural that as I was making my way to the exit of the Tropical House, it started to rain – inside, not out!
Review by Shelley Lozano.