Lincolnshire parrot zoo opens new visitor centre as part of £500k project
Grant funding has enabled an east coast tourist attraction to invest in a £500,000 new development.
The Parrot Zoo at Friskney has now opened its new Visitor Management Centre under phase one of the project which includes a new education centre, cafe and shop and undercover seating area.
The sanctuary, the largest of its kind in the world, was founded in 1994 and opened to the general public in 2003. It now houses just under 2,000 parrots as well as a growing array of other exotic animals such as lemurs, meerkats, coatimundis, giant tortoises and many more.
Owner Steve Nichols said the work would take the zoo into the next league of visitor destinations helping to make the centre a premium attraction.
Mr Nichols said: "We've been a victim of our own success. People seem to love what we're doing so we're expanding to accommodate them.
"This is phase one of four for 2012/13, all of which are intended to offer both visitors and the resident animals an excellent experience and include an animal study centre working with the University of Lincoln."
It is hoped a planned study of parrot behaviour with animal experts from the university will help the sanctuary, a registered charity, establish itself as an international research centre in the future.
The next phases of the development include a large walk through enclosures so visitors can get closer to some of the more placid animals.
Mr Nicholls added: "It's a massive expense and a huge investment but it will all be worth it in the end, we have many supporters from around the country who all visit us on a regular basis. They deserve nothing less than this and it also gives them a feel of the quality attractions Lincolnshire can offer, encouraging them to go on further to Skegness or in towards Lincoln so hopefully the entire county will benefit.
"Our intention is to become a real jewel for Lincolnshire. The general idea is to become the largest animal centre in the county but also a premium tourist attraction."
The project has received grant funding support from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) through the Coastal Action Zone leader group.
Source: This is Lincolnshire