Zoo expects roaring trade with Csàky Associates look

Multidisciplinary design consultancy Csáky Associates has completed a £5m overhaul of the visitor and retail environment of Blackpool Zoo.

Multidisciplinary design consultancy Csáky Associates has completed a £5m overhaul of the visitor and retail environment of Blackpool Zoo.

The work officially opens this week and includes a new, covered main entrance, commercial spaces and a prehistoric garden attraction called Dinosaur Safari.

Csáky Associates was appointed to the project two years ago on the basis of an existing relationship with the zoo’s managing director, Andrew Coates.

‘In earlier life the zoo was an airport and contains four World War II aircraft hangers. One of these has been converted into a covered entrance (below left), with retail, exhibition and café spaces,’ says Coates. The hanger also includes a play area for children and office, conference and presentation facilities.

The 1000m2 Dinosaur Safari (above right) is designed in collaboration with architect Roger Griffiths Associates. It features more than 30 full-scale dinosaur models, colour-coded in line with the graphic identity developed by Csáky for the park’s visual material and signage.

Lighting, sounds and smells are used alongside roaming dinosaurs, an erupting volcano and water geysers to reproduce a prehistoric environment.

Under plans to develop visitor usage patterns at the zoo, the safari will also open at night.

The projects are part of a long-term development programme for Blackpool Zoo, according to Coates. In 2002, its ownership and operation was passed from the local authority to Grant Leisure Group, part of marketing services company Mice Group, which is also the parent company of Csáky Associates.

BLACKPOOL DESIGN

• Blackpool Zoo spans 13ha and houses more than 400 animals

• Zoo owned by Grant Leisure Group since 2002 – long-term development plan in place

• Blackpool Pleasure Beach identity currently under review by Johnson Banks

• Blackpool Borough Council unveiled £1.5bn masterplan in March 2003, featuring five ‘resort casino hotels’, a major entertainment complex and convention centre

• Masterplan claims potential to deliver 30 000 jobs and £437m of income each year

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