TELEVISION presenter Adam Henson added some animal magic to the official opening of Northumberland’s newest tourist attraction by getting up close and personal with a variety of the creatures to be found there.
Adam Henson, of Countryfile and Lambing Live fame, unveiled the new Kirkley Hall Zoo at the Northumberland College campus near Ponteland last week.
Guests were given a presentation about the creation of the zoo by assistant principal Marcus Clinton followed by a talk by Henson and a tour of the premises.
Marcus said: “We are pleased to be launching our new attraction.
“Staff and students have worked really hard to make this happen.
“The attraction will provide an excellent learning environment for the animal management and horticulture students who will learn and work in the new centre, while providing a fantastic new attraction for the public to visit at weekends and school holidays.”
The zoo is home to more than 100 species of animals, including emus, wallabies, pygmy goats, marmosets, meerkats and alpacas.
There is also a river and forest trail, ornamental and walled gardens, an aquatics centre, indoor and outdoor picnic areas, children’s play areas and a new tea room.
Students have been involved in the project every step of the way, gaining valuable hands-on experience.
Construction students based at the college’s Ashington campus have laid pathways throughout the site, ensuring they are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, and animal management, horticulture and countryside students have helped build the enclosures for the creatures on display.
The attraction is open at weekends and during school holidays from 9am to 5pm, with reduced opening hours in winter.
For details, visit www.kirkleyhallzoo.co.uk