Thursday, May 6, 2021

Lions and people at ZSL London Zoo: Land of the Lions opens (includes video)

The Royals toured the ZSL London Zoo’s new Land of the Lions, which opened March 17, 2016, and spent time talking to staff about the incredible interactive experiences the exhibit will have on offer to visitors.

Picture at top: HM The Queen and HRH The Duke at the opening. Photo: ZSL London Zoo

Lionesses Indi, Rubi and Heidi even showed their respect for the Royal guests – coming to within a whisker of Her Majesty and His Royal Highness in the exhibit’s stunning 360⁰ Temple Clearing.

Director General Ralph Armond said: “We were delighted to welcome Her Majesty and His Royal Highness to ZSL London Zoo this morning to open our new Land of the Lions exhibit. Her Majesty actually opened our previous lion enclosure 40 years ago and it was an honour to have her return with HRH The Duke in the year of her 90th birthday.”

Land of the Lions, a £5.2m development, has been created to transport visitors from the heart of London to the vibrant setting of Sasan Gir in Gujarat, India – the last remaining stronghold of Asiatic lions – and bring visitors closer than ever to the big cats.

Covering an expanse of 2,500sqm (27,000sqft), visitors will enter Land of the Lions through a grand stone archway, pick up a ‘park pass’ at the Gir Tourist Information centre and explore Sasan Gir Train Station – where the odd lion might be spotted snoozing on the tracks – before being awed by the exhibit’s incredible centrepiece, a 360° Temple Clearing where the big cats will roam just metres away, separated only by fine wires.

To truly capture the essence of the lions’ forest home, the Zoo’s designers visited Gujarat in India for inspiration, and rickshaws, bicycles, sacks of spices, rangers’ huts, and even a life-size truck – much of which was sourced and shipped from India – are dotted both inside and out of the lions’ domain.

The external team on this project included Ray Hole Architect and Paragon Creative.

Judith Rubin
Judith Rubin ([email protected]) is a leading journalist, publicist, strategist, blogger, content marketing specialist and connector in the international attractions industry. She excels at writing about all aspects of design and technical design, production and project management. Areas of special interest include AV integration and show control, lighting design and acoustics, specialty cinema, digital video and world’s fairs. Judith has ties to numerous industry organizations. From 2005-2020 she ran communications, publications and social media for the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). In 2013, she was honored with the TEA Service Award. She was development director of IMERSA, and co-chair of the 2014 IMERSA Summit. She was publicist for the Large Format Cinema Association in the 1990s, now part of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and has also contributed to the publications of PLASA, IAAPA and the International Planetarium Society. Already making her mark as a magazine and book editor, Judith joined World’s Fair magazine in 1987, which introduced her to the attractions industry. Launching as a freelancer in the mid 1990s she has contributed to dozens of publications and media outlets including Funworld, Lighting&Sound America, Sound & Communications, Urban Land, The Raconteur and The Planetarian. She joined InPark in 2010. Judith earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute. She has lived in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area, and now makes her home in Saint Louis, where she is active in the local arts and theater community.

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