Wates expands Twycross Zoo contract with the Gruffalo Discovery Land
Wates is marking the six-year milestone of its contract with Twycross Zoo with the completion of a major project to support the creation of the zoo’s recently opened The Gruffalo Discovery Land.
The contract saw Wates’ fit out and refurbishment team deliver groundworks, landscaping and planting as well as overseeing health and safety and compliance alongside Twycross Zoo’s theming contractor.
Spanning four acres, The Gruffalo Discovery Land opened to the public in April 2022 and is inspired by Julia Donaldson’s best-selling children’s book, The Gruffalo. Created in partnership with Magic Light Pictures, the interactive experience includes real-life animals, animatronics and educational elements to inspire young people on the natural world.
As part of the project, Wates carried out a diverse range of services, from designing and constructing a bespoke steel framed structure which extended the on-site café facility to form the new themed finale area to the design and construction of a new aviary and a new purpose-built heated vivarium.
Work also included the installation of emergency lighting and alarm systems, new footpaths, berms and services ducts, as well as a new drainage pump house and concrete bases to facilitate the new interactive exhibits.
The delivery of The Gruffalo Discovery Land project builds on Wates FM’s work at Twycross Zoo, where the business has been the zoo’s FM partner for the past six years. The 10-year residential contract includes a full range of hard FM services across the estate, including external landscaping, mechanical and electrical services, maintenance and refurbishment of the zoo’s 64 buildings.
Working in partnership with the zoo to support its conservation of endangered species, Wates’ contract highlights include the refurbishment of a new enclosure for the zoo’s bonobos. The Wates team installed specialist glass and created two outside enclosures to support animal welfare.
As part of its growing partnership with Twycross Zoo, Wates has also created new on-site co-located offices from which the Wates and zoo teams are based. Constructed from repurposed shipping containers, the lodge is wrapped in a zoo-inspired camouflage print, designed and installed by local social enterprise, Nuneaton Signs.
“When our team took residence as FM contractor at Twycross Zoo in 2016 it marked the start of an exceptional partnership, through which we work with the zoo to deliver highly specialised services to support its important conservation work. Over the past six years we have built a mutual trust and understanding that positioned us perfectly to support the creation of the exciting new experience at The Gruffalo Discovery Land.
As experts in fit-out and refurbishment across a breadth of sectors, we regularly work in live public-facing environments, ensuring that our work cause minimal disruption. This experience has been vital to our work at Twycross Zoo; our client plays a vital role in the conservation of endangered species and the natural world, but they also welcome over half a million visitors each year. We are very proud of our work at Twycross Zoo to date, and to be playing a central role in the operations of such an exceptional family attraction.”
Executive Managing Director of Wates Property Services