Four-tonne gorilla headlines BIG Summer-Send Off at Bristol Zoo Gardens

An incredible interactive gorilla sculpture, taller than any giraffe, forms the centrepiece of the end of an era celebrations at Bristol Zoo Gardens in Clifton this summer 2022.

By Eleanor Fullalove  |  Published

Coinciding with the launch of its BIG Summer Send Off event, to mark Bristol Zoo Gardens' last summer season before it closes for good on Saturday 3 September 2022, an enormous interactive sculpture of a gorilla known as Wilder has taken up residence on the main lawn.

There, she 'eats' lettuce, squirts water and reveals glimpses of her baby Monty-Alan. Made from wood donated by Westonbirt Arboretum, Wilder weighs in at over four tonnes, is as wide as three king size beds and taller than the largest giraffe ever recorded.

The sculpture is the centrepiece of the zoo’s end of an era celebrations, taking place from Thursday 21 July to Saturday 3 September 2022, and giving visitors one last chance to experience the fifth oldest zoo in the world, which first opened its doors back in 1836.

Its 300 species, including the famous gorilla troop, red pandas, penguins and sloths, can still be visited throughout the summer.

There's plenty to do on rainy days too, with the Butterfly Forest, Bug World, Gorilla House, Aquarium and parts of Seal and Penguin Costs under cover.

Bristol Zoo Gardens has also unveiled a new family show, 'Into the Wild', produced by the award-winning Bristol theatrical events company Bakehouse Factory.

Part silent disco, part storytelling adventure, youngsters can dance around in animal-eared headphones to conservation-inspired music, as well as listening to stories and playing games.

Plus, the zoo’s top terrace is hosting a new ‘Past, Present, Future’ timeline exhibition, featuring poems, pictures and stories shared by visitors, as well as stories from the archives.

There are fascinating tales from the zoo's history, including Zebi the elephant, who was at Bristol Zoo Gardens from 1868 to 1909 and renowned for removing and eating straw hats.

For a chance to have your memories included in the exhibit, use the hashtags #TheZooAndYou and #BIGgorilla, tagging Bristol Zoo Gardens on Facebook or Instagram.

Animal fans will be relieved to learn that the Bristol Zoological Society conservation charity will continue to operate its Wild Place Project site, just off Junction 17 of the M5 Motorway, until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo - a zoo for the 21st century, with conservation at its heart.

For more information and to book tickets, visit

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