Sumatran Tiger
Monsoon Forest
Lazy Boat Trip
Coral Sands
Islands Architecture
Aerial View
Aerial View


Retail and CommercialChester Zoo Islands Project

Chester Zoo Islands Project

Chester Zoo is Britain’s largest and most popular zoo with over 1.4 million visitors every year. Islands is a 5.5 hectare, £40 million investment and is the largest and most ambitious project undertaken at any British zoo. Islands seeks to replicate the Indonesian habitats of its resident species featuring scenery from regions such as Panay, Papua, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi and housing numerous different species, many of which are critically endangered in their native habitat.

Amongst these animals are the Sumatran tiger, Sulawesi macaque, Sunda Gharial crocodile, cassowaries, anoa, banteng, Rhinoceros hornbill and Visayan warty pigs.

The centrepiece of Islands is the 2,500 m2 Monsoon Forest comprising indoor displays, including the walk-through aviary, crocodiles, orangutans and macaques under an ETFE roof which assists in replicating the tropical climate of the plants and animals who reside there.

Internally and externally themed concrete and gravel footpaths pass through the various zones over bamboo, rock and rope footbridges.

Between the islands flows the 400m tow-boat ride in a specially constructed river channel which also forms part of the surface drainage installation. Over 45,000 trees, shrubs and plants have been installed which again replicate those to be found within the areas of South East Asia.  Works also include retaining walls forming wet and dry moats, artificial trees and climbing structures, water streams and beaches to create natural environments for the animals.  Buildings include stable buildings for all animals, education centre, toilets, restaurant, viewing shelters, shop and boat station; all of which are finished and decorated in the style of the area.

Thornton-Firkin LLP acted as Cost Managers on the project which comprised several contracts encompassing civil engineering, building works, boat rides, animal enclosures, artificial rockwork and many others.