Twycross Zoo takes key steps to become one of UK’s leading visitor attractions
Twycross Zoo has many reasons to celebrate the start of 2017 as the visitor attraction looks back on an extraordinarily successful year. The past twelve months have seen an unprecedented number of important animal births, many new developments at the 88-acre site in rural Leicestershire and numerous awards, all crowned with a record number of visitors, representing an 8% increase from 2015.
In 2016, over 521,300 people from near and far visited Twycross Zoo, arriving at the gates to see one of the zoo’s many attractions, such as the innovative £2million gibbon habitat, Gibbon Forest, which opened last February. Their visit was made even more enjoyable thanks to investments to the zoo’s car park, walkways and refurbishments of its retail outlets. Other visitors came specifically to see one of the 41 animal babies born between January and December, including two rare Amur leopard cubs, a bonobo and a gorilla.
The professionalism and dedication of Twycross Zoo vets and animal keepers was highlighted not only by the breeding successes, which give hope for the future of endangered species, but also by four national excellence awards run by the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA). In June, Twycross Zoo received two silver and two bronze BIAZA awards in the Education and Animal Breeding, Care and Welfare categories.
The zoo’s Executive Team was also recognised for their tireless pursuit of excellence by the East Midlands Chamber’s Enterprising Women Awards, winning “Team of the Year”. Twycross Zoo went on to win a Special Award for a spectacular financial turnaround and sound business performance at the Coventry & Warwickshire Tourism & Culture Awards 2016, as well as winning the Great Day Out – Large Visitor Attraction category at the annual Leicester and Leicestershire Tourism Awards. In September the Zoo’s public relations agency, Firebird PR, won Gold and Silver Awards at the 2016 Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PRide Awards for ‘Best Use of Media Relations’ – the Gold Award for their role as the Press Office for Twycross Zoo.
Dr Sharon Redrobe, the CEO at the helm of the conservation-based visitor attraction, also won Director of the Year in the Not-for-Profit category of the West Midlands Institute of Directors Awards, and was most recently appointed an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List, in recognition of her services to Skills, Science and the Economy in Leicestershire. Sharon thus became the second Chief Executive in the history of Twycross Zoo to receive this honour, following the example of the respected co-founder of the zoo, Miss Molly Badham.
Finally, to ensure that visitors enjoy a truly great day out, in 2016 Twycross Zoo extended its animal encounters experience to offer visitors the chance to feed its giraffes. For schoolchildren, the zoo revamped its education programme to provide more hands-on sessions around evolution, animal behaviour and science. Later on in the year, the zoo was awarded a Learning Outside the Classroom Quality Badge, commending the quality of the zoo’s educational trips.
Dr Sharon Redrobe, CEO of Twycross Zoo says, “The past year has been incredible for us all at Twycross Zoo. We have been working very hard to make the zoo better for visitors and animals alike, and I believe that we are indeed making big steps towards our goal to make Twycross Zoo a world-class attraction. I feel privileged to lead this transformation and look forward to what the new year has to bring.”
Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10.00 to 17.00. For more information and to book tickets visit www.twycrosszoo.org or call 0844 474 1777.
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Susannah Penn or Jana Fickerova, Firebird Public Relations
T: 01235 835297 / 07977 459 547
E: SP@firebirdpr.co.uk / JF@firebirdpr.co.uk