One of region's largest attractions to celebrate 20 years since opening
PUBLISHED: 15:55 19 June 2019
A tourist spot will celebrate 20 years since it first opened its doors this weekend.
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.
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.
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."
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.
It boasts being home to the longest hedge maze in Europe, and visitors can enjoy indoor and outdoor adventure playgrounds.
A birthday party will be held on Saturday from 10.30am-5pm, with outdoor games, face painting and more taking place.
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."