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Popular section of Blackpool Zoo closed for refurbishment

The opening of the Dinosaur Safari at Blackpool Zoo, in 2005
The opening of the Dinosaur Safari at Blackpool Zoo, in 2005
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Blackpool Zoo’s 32 model dinosaurs are being repainted as part of an ongoing refurbishment programme.

The £2m Dinosaur Safari attraction, which opened in 2005 on a 1,000sqm plot surrounded by 13,000 new trees, has been closed to visitors while the work is carried out.

The spruce-up is being done ahead of the new elephant house’s opening, which will now be opening in ‘spring’, marketing and PR co-ordinator Jude Rothwell said.

It was originally expected to open last summer but was delayed because of bad weather – and welcomed its first new resident Tara, who is living with current elephant Kate, last week.

The walkway up to a viewing platform for the new multi-million pound elephant house is close to the safari’s entrance, and new eatery Nawala Street Food, which opened last year and is based on a Sri Lankan street.

Jude said: “The Dinosaur Safari is undergoing renovation ahead of the busy holiday season.

“The dinosaurs had a good scrub before Christmas and are currently being re-painted.

“Additional plants are being installed, signage is being redesigned and updated, and the walkways and barriers are being upgraded. Our pre-historic residents are still firm visitor favourites and the make-over will be the perfect backdrop to the entrance for Project Elephant, which will be opening in the spring.”

Construction on the elephant house began last July as part of a £5m investment, after zoo bosses told Spanish parent company Parque Reunidos Kate’s current home is no longer fit for purpose.

Tara left Twycross Zoo after 19 years, and is one of an all-female herd of four elephants moving to Blackpool.

She was helped into a crate and driven by lorry on the 127-mile trip to the resort.

Keepers hope to eventually launch a breeding programme by introducing a bull elephant.