Proposals for a new state-of-the-art indoor play facility at one of the city’s most popular and enduring visitor attractions are set to be considered by senior councillors next week.
As part of a report submitted to a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board on Wednesday, 26 June 2019, members will have the opportunity to discuss and agree in principle to the installation of the exciting initiative at The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World in Roundhay.
If approved, a full consultation, feasibility design and design analysis will be undertaken by the council into the project, which overall cost funded through prudential borrowing, is expected to be in the region of £2m.
The introduction of the indoor play facility will further add to the wide-ranging, fantastic offer at Tropical World. Proposed to be situated in the existing glasshouse area, the development will encourage young people to explore issues around climate change and biodiversity through integrating interactive play and learning.
The play area will be inspired exploration of the natural world from the early expeditions such as that by Charles Darwin on the ship HMS Beagle alongside interpretation about environmental concerns today. Focused on improving learning through interactive play, artist impressions of the play area include jungle huts and walkways, a feature ship, a water play area, bridges, a tubular slide, nets, a sensory space and seating area with tables.
The proposed design will offer a vibrant play area for children of all ages. The floor area will be designed specifically with toddlers in mind, whilst older children will be able to explore two levels of fun. It is estimated that stage one, which would see the development of the play area, along with access improvements, will be completed by Easter, 2020. Work on stage two, which will seek to further improve access and movement around the whole attraction, will be developed over the following two years from work concluding on stage one.
Home to a wide range of animals from butterflies and fish to reptiles, meerkats and monkeys, Tropical World welcomed a host of new arrivals to its ranks following the revamp in 2015. On offer includes seahorses, stingray, dart frogs, Asian Tiger fish and a red-bellied piranha that sit aside other improvements such as the introduction of an aquarium, a new toilet block with changing facilities, rainforest-themed mosaics and environmentally friendly electrical and heating improvements including the installation of a biomass boiler, to reduce the overall carbon footprint.
A conservatory extension to the café overlooking the beautiful Canal Gardens was also created, which followed the installation of a children’s party and education area in 2014 to broaden the education offer, which includes interactive sessions taking part in the school holidays.
Over 300,000 people visit Tropical World each year, and the introduction of the play area will further cement the attraction’s reputation as one of the most loved in the Yorkshire and Humber region.
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and active lifestyles said:
“We are extremely proud that The Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World continues to be an extremely popular visitor attraction which is loved by people of all ages. We are always looking at ways to improve our offer at Tropical World, and the proposal which we have made to the executive board to introduce a new start-of-the-art facility at Tropical World is very exciting and one which we hope will be supported.
“Incorporating two different zones designed specifically for toddlers and older children, a range of fantastic ideas have been incorporated in the proposed design. These include a feature ship, jungle huts and walkways, bridges, slide and a sensory area which really does promise to be a great way to learn and have fun.
“It is absolutely vital that we ensure our attractions are continuing to set a high standard against its many competitors. This proposed investment certainly meets that aim, and will help ensure that Tropical World continues to be one of the most popular attractions in the region for many years to come.”
For a full copy of the executive report, please see: www.democracy.leeds.gov.uk