Bristol Zoo unveils giant wooden gorilla as centrepiece of summer celebrations

  • Take a look at the new centrepiece of the zoo's summer celebrations.

The centrepiece of Bristol Zoo Garden's summer celebrations before it officially closes its Clifton site later this year has been unveiled.

Sitting on the lawn area on the site from July 21 will be 'Wilder' - a giant female gorilla made of wood that will actually move.

The specially-commissioned sculpture, that is taller than the largest giraffe ever recorded and is as wide as three king size beds, weighs more than four tonnes and has been produced from 180 square metres of wood donated by Westonbirt Arboretum.

Bristol Zoo Gardens has unveiled its new centrepiece sculpture.

The zoo announced its closure, after 186 years, in February saying that it would be moving a large number of its animals and operations to the Wild Place Project in South Gloucestershire.

Since it first opened, the zoo has received an estimated 90 million visitors and helped save 175 species from extinction through its conservation programmes.

Its final summer celebrations have been dubbed the BIG Summer Send off.

As the gorilla presides over proceedings on the main lawn, families will also have the chance to immerse themselves in a fun interactive theatrical experience especially written for the final summer.

The BIG Summer Send-Off will also feature a Past, Present and Future outdoor exhibition on Bristol Zoo Gardens’ historic top terrace. Running along the main parade, the exhibition will include poems, pictures and heartfelt words to create a history of the zoo made by its visitors.

Simon Garrett, Head of Public Engagement for Bristol Zoological Society, said: “We’re hugely excited to share details of this exciting arrival at the Zoo, in addition to all the  amazing events we have planned for our final summer.

“We know that the Zoo and its animals have played an important role in the lives of many – it is amazing to think that we have welcomed over 90 million visitors.”

The team behind 'Wilder' is Bakehouse Factory – a theatrical events company in Bristol, which is also organising and managing the Zoo’s Big Summer Send-Off programme. 

Visitors will be able to experience the BIG Summer Send-Off, which runs from July 21 to the Bristol Zoo Gardens’ last day of opening to the public on September 3, by purchasing standard entry tickets.

Tickets are available on the Bristol Zoo Gardens' website.