14 May 2012

The Queen and The Duke will visit the zoo on May 17 to officially open the Diamond Jubilee Quarter – the zoo’s £2m gateway to conservation.

For the first time in its 80-year history, the main entrance – the Diamond Jubilee Quarter – will be a public space where people can meet without going into the zoo.

Thousands of community groups and long-standing zoo members will be invited into to the zoo for the official opening. But for those who are unable to make the big day, the visit will be streamed live on our website and on Cheshire West and Chester Council’s homepage.

Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Chester Zoo, said: “We are very much looking forward to the visit by The Queen and The Duke and we will have thousands of people, including some of our long-standing members, celebrating with us. We also appreciate that some people may not be able to make it on the day and to thank them for their support and to enable them to share in this special occasion, we will be broadcasting live on our website. This is the first time we will have streamed an event of this kind live and we’re very much looking forward to it.”

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will be the first through the new, specially created gates that lead into the Diamond Jubilee Quarter on May 17.

They will be escorted by the zoo’s Director General Dr Mark Pilgrim, who will accompany The Queen and Barbara Smith, Managing Director, who will accompany The Duke of Edinburgh. The royal couple will take a trip on the zoo’s monorail, which will have been wrapped in a union flag for the occasion. The Queen will visit the rhino enclosure and The Duke will see conservation in action at the elephants.

Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Mike Jones, said: “We are, of course, delighted that The Queen has chosen to visit Chester during her jubilee year and as one of the country’s main attractions it is fitting that Her Majesty should visit Chester Zoo.

“We have worked together with the zoo to ensure that as many local residents as possible can take part in this memorable day, including making our Upton Park and Ride free of charge for the day.

“Of course there will still be many people who will not be able to attend and for this reason we were pleased to help fund a live streaming of the event over the internet.

“I am sure that the residents of Chester will accord The Queen and The Duke a right royal welcome.”

To say thank you to volunteers across the borough the council has invited community groups and those from the voluntary sector to the event.