Step into our sub-tropical Monsoon Forest building - the largest indoor zoo exhibit in UK history - and experience the heart of Islands.

I followed the path round from the HUTAN Jungle Reserve, on the island of Sumatra, and continued on my expedition through Islands.

In the distance I could hear the distinct call of the rhinoceros hornbill – one of the largest birds found in the rainforests of South East Asia. With their piercing eyes and their large wing span – which creates a loud ‘whoosh’ noise - these birds can be quite intimidating, but I couldn’t wait to see one.

The path led me to the broken tree - I’d made it to Monsoon Forest…

As soon as I stepped foot into the rainforest I was greeted with a number of sights, smells and sounds; it was exhilarating! But it was the change in temperature that I notice the most. It’s tropical here!

There was so much to take in! I was surrounded by exotic plants in all shapes, sizes and colours. I could also hear the faint sound of water falling ahead of me, so I knew that I couldn’t be that far from the Sunda gharial, one of the largest types of crocodile found on Earth.

I spent some time in the Tripa Forest Research Station brushing up on my conservation and research skills and also observed a family of Moloch gibbons as they explored their habitat right in front of me.

Moloch / silvery gibbon Islands at Chester Zoo

I think this was one of my favourite places on my expedition. I enjoyed discovering a number of unique and amazing animals and plants all within one environment – from small insects to large crocodiles. There’s too much for me to report back, so I definitely recommend you organise your own expedition soon! It’s a place full of extraordinary wildlife.

Katie - budding conservationist

Find out how Chester Zoo created this tropical environment right here in Cheshire by watching this short documentary.

Checklist

  • Take your time exploring Monsoon Forest – there are a number of unique & amazing animals and plants all waiting to be discovered here
  • Don’t forget to explore the Tripa Forest Research Station and brush up on your conservation skills
  • Deep within Monsoon Forest you’ll find one of the world’s largest crocodiles and also one of the most endangered turtles in South East Asia
  • Keep your ears and eyes open for the different types of beautiful birds found in Monsoon Forest – they won’t just be flying above you, they’ll be wandering along the forest floor too
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