Giant interactive gorilla to wow crowds at Bristol Zoo Gardens

The centre piece of Bristol Zoo Gardens’ summer celebrations has been revealed – a huge moving gorilla made of wood, as tickets for the festivities go on sale.

Two people in bright pink high-visibility clothing

The specially-commissioned sculpture will sit tall on the main lawn from July 21, as part of our Big Summer Send-Off, to mark the final opening weeks of our Clifton visitor attraction.

The giant feature is taller than the largest giraffe ever recorded, and as wide as three king size beds.

Clad in sustainable wood, the installation will captivate visitors with surprise movements and motions throughout the day, as the female gorilla ‘Wilder’ ‘eats’ lettuce. She will also reveal details that will delight unsuspecting guests – her baby ‘Monty Alan’, a name inspired by the national park in Equatorial Guinea where the Bristol Zoological Society works to protect western lowland gorillas in the wild.

Weighing more than four tonnes, the sculpture has been made from 180 square metres of local yew, cedar, pine and oak, generously donated by Westonbirt Arboretum.

As the gorilla presides majestically over proceedings, families will also have the chance to immerse themselves in a fun interactive theatrical experience especially written for the final summer. An additional theatre ticket can be purchased for the show, and visitors are encouraged to book earlier to avoid disappointment.

Donning animal eared headphones, families will be taken on a shared adventure, as a cast of performers help them explore and learn about animals, and the positive action we can all take to save wildlife together.

Part silent disco, part storytelling adventure, the show has been inspired by the next chapter of our story and encourages children to get wild themselves with dancing, games and lots of fun for the whole family.

The BIG Summer Send-Off will also feature a Past, Present and Future outdoor exhibition on our historic top terrace. Running along the main parade, the exhibition will include poems, pictures and heartfelt words to create a history of the zoo made by its visitors.

Simon Garrett, Head of Public Engagement for Bristol Zoological Society, said: “We’re hugely excited to share details of this exciting arrival at the Zoo, in addition to all the amazing events we have planned for our final summer.

“We know that the Zoo and its animals have played an important role in the lives of many – it is amazing to think that we have welcomed over 90 million visitors.”

The team behind the impressive installation is Bakehouse Factory – a multi-award-winning theatrical events company in Bristol, which is also organising and managing the Zoo’s Big Summer Send-Off programme. 

Kate Statham, managing director, Bakehouse Factory added: “The whole Bakehouse team is absolutely thrilled to be working with Bristol Zoo to mark this monumental event. And what better way to do it than by creating something truly monumental? From costume makers to scenic artists, scriptwriters to woodworkers - everyone here is playing a massive part in making this a summer to remember!”

Visitors will be able to experience the BIG Summer Send-Off, which runs from July 21 to the Bristol Zoo Gardens’ last day of opening to the public on September 3, by purchasing standard entry tickets. The family theatre show, Into The Wild, will require an additional ticket purchase of just £5.00 each to cover the hire of a headset.

Other activities which form part of the final celebrations are The Zoo and You Poetry and Story Competition, The Wall of Memories and Live Legacy Art.

And of course the main attractions are the 300 species of animals, including the troop of western lowland gorillas, the red pandas, sloths and penguins, the Aquarium and Bug World.

Now’s your last chance to visit before the Zoo’s last day 03.09.22

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Now’s your last chance to visit before the Zoo’s last day 03.09.22