Unprecedented visitor figures in 2015, which saw almost 1.7m people flock through our gates, have been followed up by even higher visitor figures so far in 2016.
Income from ticket sales and visitor spending has already helped boost our 80 conservation projects to help endangered animals in more than 30 countries worldwide.
Now, an extra £7m will be spent within the zoo, including developments to the facilities for our animals.
The work continues the ‘always building’ philosophy of the zoo’s founder George Mottershead, 85 years after he created the UK’s first zoo without bars centred on animal wellbeing.
Simon Mann, development director oat Chester Zoo, said:
This zoo was founded with the principles of animal wellbeing at its heart and for 85 years we have led the way in delivering world class habitats for the species in our care.
It is with great pride that we are now able to deliver an even better future for the 20,000 animals here as we provide state-of-the-art improvements to their facilities.
What’s more, we have our visitors to thank! As a charity, it is only thanks to the community of visitors who have supported us in record breaking numbers over the past two years that we are able to do this.
We know there is nothing our visitors would rather see than first class habitats for our animals to enjoy, so that is what we are going to continue to deliver.
The developments will include a new behind the scenes Bornean orangutan area in the zoo’s Realm of the Red Ape exhibit, improvements to its Monkey House and a new bird aviary building.
We’re also creating a new outdoor space for our pair of two-toed sloths, Tina and Rico, a new habitat for the giant anteater alongside the current capybara exhibit and improvements to the cheetah viewing yurt.
Stunning new journeys within the our South East Asian habitat, Islands, will also be created.
This will include a large state-of-the-art walkthrough bird aviary, a new home for the our sun bears Milli and Toni, and an impressive Malayan tapir exhibit.
Visitors will still be able to complete a full expedition through Islands to see every species and habitat while the development is under construction.
All 125-acres of the zoo will remain open throughout the autumn as normal.