A range of exciting new residents are set to greet visitors to popular Swansea attraction Plantasia.
When the destination relaunches on April 13 with a dynamic new rain forest theme you will be able to get up close and personal with exhibits such as spectacled caiman crocodiles and red-bellied piranhas.
Adult crocodiles are known to have the strongest bite ever measured; carnivorous piranha thrive thanks to their speedy powerful jaws and super-sharp teeth.
Nearby, a crawl-tunnel leads to a ground-level viewing bubble which takes the visitor into the heart of meerkat country.
Highest standards of animal care will help them become firm favourites as Plantasia’s exciting new future arrives thanks to a £1.1m investment by Swansea Council and a new partnership with specialist leisure and attractions operator Parkwood Leisure.
From the plant world there are huge prickly cacti, towering palms, lemon trees that can live for up to 100 years and a human-sized model of an insect-devouring venus flytrap.
Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “I suspect that Plantasia’s incredible animals will be the stars of the show for many – but there’s a lot more to be excited about as well.
“It will be a must-see immersive experience that is fun, high-quality, entertaining and educational.
“Our partnership with Parkwood – a respected specialist operator – will mean a secure future for the facility and new opportunities for Plantasia visitors.
“I’m confident that Parkwood and their experienced creative partners Theme 3 will deliver a great experience for customers on our behalf.”
The investment is helping Parkwood provide an innovative and stimulating venue focused on rainforest life.
The eye catching one-off glasshouse in Parc Tawe, a key city gateway, is undergoing a dramatic transformation and is due to reopen after a stunning makeover.
New features will include rope bridges, a tree hut high amongst the foliage, an interactive waterfall, trails, immersive audio and interactive effects. There’ll be an improved café.
Colleen Tumelty, Regional Director of Parkwood, said: “The adventure starts here for the people of Swansea and visitors to the destination.
“Our aim is to let them grow their imagination by offering a thoroughly engaging and immersive experience of having a rain forest in a city centre.
“We are working hard with the council to give the people of Swansea the best Plantasia offer we can.
“We are delighted to be working with Swansea Council to deliver an all-weather visitor attraction that will appeal to Swansea residents and visitors.”
Key customers will include families with children aged under 10, schools and groups. Plantasia will be available for corporate, commercial and business events.
Parkwood will manage the facility on a 15-year contract; council staff there have become Parkwood employees on equivalent terms and conditions. New roles and opportunities are being created for staff.
The council’s cabinet agreed the £1.1m investment in December after a thorough review of future options for running and retaining Plantasia.