Bristol Zoo unveils final festive Wow! gorilla
BRISTOL Zoo has unveiled one final gorilla sculpture – this time inspired by Santa – in time for Christmas.
The life-size model will be kept by the zoo and brought out every year for the festive season.
King Kong Merrily on High – as he has been named – is the creation of artist Tony Hitchcock, who previously painted two other Wow! Gorillas, Guerilla Tourist and Hubert.
He spent almost two weeks creating King Kong Merrily on High behind the scenes at the zoo.
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"There is something about these gorilla sculptures that gets under your skin," he said. "I jumped at the chance to produce the Christmas gorilla and I'm very proud to have been involved in the Wow! Gorilla project, both for the amount of money raised for charity and for the excellent work that has been done in raising awareness of the plight of gorillas in the wild, through this project."
King Kong Merrily on High is the final sculpture created as part of the zoo's Wow! Gorillas project, in celebration of its 175th birthday this year.
Santa arrived at the zoo yesterday afternoon to unveil the new arrival, and the zoo was lit up by animal-shaped lights to kick off the attraction's Christmas celebrations.
The zoo's Christmas grotto will open this weekend, then every weekend until December 18.
The grotto will open every day from December 17 to 23. The cost is £4 per child.
Visitors can also take a ride around the zoo on the Santa Express which journeys every day from Saturday, November 26 until December 28.
Sustainable locally-sourced Christmas trees will also be on sale in the zoo's West car park, in College Road, from today until Christmas eve.
The magic really begins from Saturday, December 17 when Santa's reindeer fly in for the Christmas season.
Visitors will be able to get up-close to Jingle and Belle, stroke their velvety noses and feed them their favourite food, every day until December 28.
The zoo is also offering two magical evenings at its Christmas events on Monday, December 19 and Tuesday, December 20 from 5.30pm – 8pm.
Visitors will be able to join in with carol singing, meet and feed Santa's reindeer, listen to a merry brass band and be entertained by the Snowball Sprites and the Lost Elves as they roam around the Zoo.
There will also be ice sculpting demonstrations, offering visitors the chance to have a go themselves.
For more information, visit www.bristolzoo.org.uk.