President of Ireland, Mary McAleese will officially open the new €4m entrance complex at Fota Wildlife Park in East Cork on Monday April 11th at 3.15pm.
The new entrance complex at Fota Wildlife Park is the single largest change to the Park since it opened in 1983 and has cost in excess of €4million to complete. The new development includes a dedicated education complex, a new animal area that includes Meerkats & Mangabey Monkey's, a new entrance plaza area with additional ticket kiosks, gift shop, café, administration building and a children's playground.
The project which began in December 2009 is expected to boost numbers at the park which currently is the 6th most visited fee paying attraction in Ireland. Speaking in advance of the opening the Chairman of Fota Wildlife Park Mr Barry Murphy said "we are delighted to have the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese join us for a historic day at the park as we officially open our new entrance complex which will also mark the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Fota Wildlife Park".
Mr Murphy also added "the new development has been a couple of years in the making and we hope it will be a way of saying thanks to the people who visit the park year on year especially our members who continue to give us great support". The Park which is a non-profit organisation self funded this project without the aid of state funding thanks to the continued support of paying visitors which reached 377,000 people in 2010 a record year. In addition to the public support the park also received a contribution from the Zoological Society of Ireland.
The new entrance area is a welcoming open space with five ticket windows, one of which will be a dedicated member's entrance in busy times, thus aimed at significantly reduced queuing and improving customer service. Once through the entrance gates you will enter a large, landscaped public plaza area that is complimented with an African themed gift shop and cafe overlooking the parks new residents - the Meerkats and Mangabey Monkeys.
The final piece of the new development also see's the creation of a dedicated education complex with the old shop building creating two classrooms to add to the existing centre which catered for 13,000 students in 2010. The overall project has also been designed to be highly energy efficient using wood pellets to heat the buildings and hot water will be supplied by Solar Thermal Panels.
The official opening by President of Ireland, Mary McAleese is set to be a spectacular fun day at the park with a fantastic line up of entertainment throughout the day to celebrate. The entertainment line up on the day includes Magic Shows, African Drumming, Jazz Band, Face Painting, Animal Talks and a Birds of Prey Flying Show.