One of region's largest attractions to celebrate 20 years since opening

PUBLISHED: 15:55 19 June 2019

The team at Noah's Ark. Picture: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

The team at Noah's Ark. Picture: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

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A tourist spot will celebrate 20 years since it first opened its doors this weekend.

Christina and Anthony Bush opened Noah's Ark Zoo Farm as a dairy farm and petting zoo in 1999. Picture: Emily BurginChristina and Anthony Bush opened Noah's Ark Zoo Farm as a dairy farm and petting zoo in 1999. Picture: Emily Burgin

Anthony Bush and his wife, Christina, opened Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Wraxall, in 1999 initially as a petting zoo and dairy farm.

The couple lived and worked at the site together as dairy farmers since 1962 when the original Moat House Farm was part of the Tyntesfield Estate.

The zoo, in Clevedon Road, has become the largest in the South West, attracting more than 200,000 visitors per year.

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm has got rid of plastic in its café. Picture: Noah’s Ark Zoo FarmNoah's Ark Zoo Farm has got rid of plastic in its café. Picture: Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm

There are more than 100 sorts of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates at the zoo, including several important species classified as 'endangered' or 'vulnerable' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list, including siamang gibbons, Andean bears and African elephants.

Noah's Ark holds national gold in the green tourism business scheme for its sustainable operations, having gone plastic free last year.

Owner Anthony praised his staff's efforts over the past two decades.

Eddie The Eagle Edwards opened the wings of wonder enclosure in April this year. Picture: Phil Lightwood-JonesEddie The Eagle Edwards opened the wings of wonder enclosure in April this year. Picture: Phil Lightwood-Jones

MORE: Zoo ditches plastic straws, cups and takeaway containers.

He said: "The past 20 years have been a fascinating journey trying to bring innovation to the zoo world, to encourage curiosity in our young visitors and provide fun and education for so many.

"A highly talented, committed staff and supportive wife and family make it comparatively easy being a boss."

African carnival at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall.African carnival at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm, Wraxall.

PICTURES: Olympian opens zoo's bird facility.

Youngsters from across the area benefit from school trips, jungle tots parents and toddler group and other educational events throughout the year.

The zoo was also awarded for innovations in sustainability from the national farm attractions network and the learning outside the classroom award in 2016.

Noah's Ark team. Picture: Noah's Ark Zoo FarmNoah's Ark team. Picture: Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

It boasts being home to the longest hedge maze in Europe, and visitors can enjoy indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds.

MORE: Equipment installed to make zoo become more accessible.

A birthday party will be held on Saturday from 10.30am-5pm, with outdoor games, face painting and more taking place.

The zoo team promote its work on conservation, education and research. Picture: Noahs Ark Zoo FarmThe zoo team promote its work on conservation, education and research. Picture: Noahs Ark Zoo Farm

Commercial director, Larry Bush, said: "We are very excited to hold a summer birthday party to commemorate the last two decades.

"We are also celebrating by opening on Sundays throughout the summer this year, which we think is a great day for families to spend together.

"It's been a big journey from cows to elephants and hopefully we will continue to grow in the future."

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