Bears will roam around Wild Place
A COLOURFUL collection of bears is moving in to South Gloucestershire’s Wild Place Project in time for the Easter holidays.
A trail of 20 individually hand-painted bear sculptures will greet visitors to the attraction near Cribbs Causeway from April 6 until September.
Visitors will be able to follow a route around the park to discover the 6ft all bears.
The sculpture trail is being launched ahead of the arrival of real European brown bears at the attraction, which is run by Bristol Zoo, when a new exhibit called Bear Wood opens in July.
It has been created in conjunction with Wild in Art, which developed the hugely successful Wow! Gorillas trail with Bristol Zoo Gardens in 2011, to celebrate the Zoo’s 175th birthday.
All 20 bear sculptures have been sponsored by local organisations as part of a fundraising campaign for Bear Wood.
Among them is E.L.M Legal Services Ltd, which offers professional will writing and estate planning services.
The firm gave the artist painting the E.L.M bear a brief to make its bear (centre, left) look businesslike and professional, and the finished sculpture, called Will, certainly looks the part.
Managing director Jim Emsley said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Wild Place Project on this fantastic summer sculpture trail and are very happy with the design of Will the Bear.
Dr Justin Morris, chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “We are very much looking forward to unveiling our bear sculpture trail this spring and are very grateful to E.L.M for their support of this fantastic event. We hope these colourful sculptures will be enjoyed by thousands of visitors to Wild Place Project over the spring and summer months.”
Nigel Simpson, head of operations at Wild Place Project, said: “The bear sculpture trail is a fantastic collaboration between Wild Place Project and many of our partners and supporters.
“It promises to be an exciting discovery trail around the attraction as visitors will be able to tick off the bears as they find them and take part in activities associated with the trail. It will be a wonderful prelude to the arrival of real bears later this year.
“There is a great deal in store for our visitors throughout 2019 as Wild Place Project continues to grow and develop, and we are immensely grateful to all of our visitors, members, partners and supporters for helping us get to where we are today.”
Work is now underway creating the impressive new exhibit, which will also be home to wolves, lynx and wolverine and promises to be the best bear exhibit in the country.
Visitors will be able to walk through the seven-and-a-half acre exhibit on a raised walkway that will wind its way through the trees.
New, 180-degree, floor-to-ceiling glass viewing areas and ‘dens’ will give visitors an up-close view of the animals living alongside each other in British woodland as they would have done in years gone by.