Make it snappy as Tropical World crocs move into new home
Three of the most famous residents of Leeds will be getting their teeth into new surroundings at Tropical World this week.
The trio of Morelet’s crocodiles, which first arrived in the city in December 2009, are now ready to move into a purpose-built new enclosure which signals the successful completion of the first phase of a major refurbishment of the popular visitor attraction at Roundhay Park.
Wednesday June 5 2013, 11am, The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World, Canal Gardens, Roundhay Park, Leeds: News organisations are welcome to attend the official opening of the crocodile enclosure, along with other improvements including a new entrance, children’s party and educational area, new shop, extended café and new toilet facilities.
The new crocodile enclosure will allow visitors to enjoy a ‘walkover’ experience, offering a close-up view of the trio as they continue to grow to their expected full size of approximately nine feet long.
The £720,000 refurbishment scheme is the most significant to take place at the Leeds City Council-managed attraction since it first opened to the public in 1984.
It is home to a range of animals including meerkats, butterflies, birds, fish, reptiles, nocturnal monkeys and bats and the improvements were 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 improvements have been funded by Leeds City Council along with a generous donation from the Ziff family, who are continuing 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.
Leeds City Council executive member for the environment Councillor Mark Dobson said:
“Tropical World is a hugely popular venue in Leeds and this refurbishment will help give it an exciting new look and feel. Visitors will be amazed when they see the new crocodile enclosure – it really does offer a whole new way of looking at these incredible animals.
“We are massively grateful to the Ziff family for their generous backing of these improvements and continued support, and look forward to seeing people of all ages coming along to take a look at all the new elements.”
Phase two of the refurbishment project will see the creation of a semi-dark aquarium where colourful tropical fish will be highlighted by ultra-violet lighting, while there will also be improvements made to the nocturnal zone. Work is scheduled to begin on the second phase this winter, with the revamp to be complete by Easter 2014.
Edward Ziff said on behalf of the family:
“We are delighted to continue our support to Roundhay Park, the Canal Gardens and Tropical World.
“Our support dates back over many years when Arnold used to visit with his children and grandchildren. He always enjoyed his relationship with Leeds City Council’s parks department and worked closely with John Tinker. He considered Roundhay Park as one of the finest in the country and was always quick to tell anyone who would listen.
“Our work with Leeds and the council continues to this day in many different ways and we are delighted with the improvements that have been made in order to keep the Canal Gardens and Tropical World at the top of the list of visitor attractions in this part of the country. We hope all those who visit will enjoy the same levels pleasure in the future.”
Another recent addition at Tropical World is the venue’s new official mascot – a giant meerkat. The new mascot is currently the subject of a competition open to all primary schools in Leeds to give him or her a name.
Suggestions for the name, which can be male or female, can be given one each per class by emailing Parks.Competitions@leeds.gov.uk before the deadline of Monday 1 July.
Tropical World is one of the leading visitor attractions in Yorkshire, with over 300,000 visits being made each year. For more information visit www.leeds.gov.uk/tropicalworld or call 0113 237 0754.
For media enquiries please contact:
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472