I can’t remember the last time I went to the zoo, but I can remember just how incredibly distraught I was when I left.
I was in bits. I’d spent the day really bonding with all the animals, building up a true rapport with everyone from the penguins to the pandas, lining myself up to be the next Dr Dolittle and believing I’d found my true calling in life.
But then the rug was pulled from under my feet, because the zoo closed. The animals had to go bed and my teachers had to drive the school bus back with me and my classmates on-board, despite my pleading and protestations. Many of my classmates agreed they should just leave me there, but the teachers said it was against the rules.
Imagine my delight then, when I found out Chester Zoo is building lodges in their grounds, so guests can stay overnight. Turns out dreams do come true if you wish hard enough.
Chester Zoo’s new lodges, including a swanky restaurant, will mean guests will be able to stay the night snuggling up close to the animals, sleeping soundly in the knowledge that just a few feet away a giraffe is wandering around going about its daily giraffe business.
The lodges will look out over the animal and wildlife sanctuary, with new lakes to be developed too.
Chester Zoo is planning to open the lodges in 2022, as part of their new Grasslands proposal, which aims to create an African savannah-esque habitat. The Grasslands will provide a home for rare and endangered species, such as the Rothschild’s giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, ostriches and antelopes, according to Pretty52.
The plans propose a total of 42 safari-style lodges for guests to stay the night in.
As the planning application says:
On entering, spectacular views of the Savannah unfold. The building provides a visual and activity focus at the heart of Grasslands. Visitors can sit, relax, eat and drink taking a rest on their journey around the Zoo and at the same time enjoying dramatic views of the Savannah Habitat and its animal residents lake side.
These Grassland habitats are overviewed by a new Restaurant perched high up on the Kopje rocks from where guests will get great views across the savannah and the surrounding habitats. The Overnight Stays consists of a Reception building, and a series of lodges and tents overlooking a lake and with views of the Bachelor Giraffe habitat providing a unique visitor experience.
Can’t wait to get back there.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.