Our biggest ever development – Tropical House

November 22, 2017

With just five months to go before the opening of Marwell’s biggest ever project, the £7.8million Tropical House is going from strength to strength, as work on the impressive building continues on both the interior and the exterior.

If you have been to the zoo in recent months, you will have seen that the outside of the structure is nearing completion. Along with this, the Ethylene Tetra Fluoro Ethylene (ETFE) roof – similar to that of the Eden Project in Cornwall – has been finished.

This state-of-the-art roof helps let in ultraviolet light, giving our incredible selection of over 45 plant species room to breathe and grow. Along with this, it has great insulation properties meaning Marwell will use less energy heating the house. Inside this structure, which is the size of two football fields, the ‘jungle’ floor is just as important as the ceiling, and Marwell has been working hard to create a naturalistic effect there too.

To do this, 400 tonnes of soil has been installed over the last two weeks – the same weight as 160 white rhinoceros, approximately. The plants and trees – over 25 of which are between 4-7m high – should thrive within these conditions and will provide natural surroundings for our animals to explore once they settle into their new environment. Watch the plants going in here.

And now for the plants…

The soil has now been filled with more than 45 different species of plants that have gone into the building. Over 450 individual plants have arrived on seven lorries from the Netherlands. Some even started life across the pond in Florida. From bamboo to mango, the foliage is bringing new life to the Tropical House before new species arrive at Marwell.

Animal species also making their move

Some species, who’ll be making the new Tropical House their home, have already begun arriving at the zoo. Currently behind the scenes, our crocodile monitor lizard and mouse deer are both within their quarantine phase – not in the same space, of course – and are being closely watched by keepers. Several other exciting new species will be making their way to us in the near future.

Back inside the tropical house, our aquarium is really taking shape with just the waterfall to be added and our woodchip boiler, which will help power the building, is already up and running.

Watch our flythrough video

Excitement is building here at Marwell with the launch for Easter 2018 now on the horizon. You can keep up with all of the latest details by following us on social media. If you’re interested in seeing what the tropical house looks like when it will be finished, check out this flythrough video here.