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Ongoing updates and improvements
Wooden eco-friendly play area climbing frame and tunnel

Paignton Zoo opens new play area for SEN families

Paignton Zoo has announced the reopening of its new and improved Hangout play area.

Competition winners got the first chance to play at the new SEN friendly Hangout play area
Competition winners were given the first chance to play in the new Hangout

The new Hangout, which was designed by local company Touchwood Play, combines elements of free play to encourage creativity and cater for all children, including families with special educational needs (SEN).

The renovations incorporate sustainably sourced wood and eco-friendly materials, in keeping with the zoo’s sustainable mission.

Pupils from Churston Ferrers Grammar School were invited in as part of a community build day. They were given the opportunity to work with traditional tools and methods to learn how to build different aspects of the play structure. This included the creation of a handcrafted wooden ladder as an integral part of the overall design.

Pupils from Churston Ferrers Grammar School help construct the new Hangout play area at Paignton Zoo
Pupils from Churston Ferrers Grammar School helped Touchwood build the new Hangout play area

Mandy Plester, Paignton Zoo’s Visitor Experience Manager, said:

“We’re delighted to reopen this popular play area, with a brand-new, inclusive design for children with all different styles of play and exploration.”

Paignton’s human visitors are not the only ones getting a new play area. Work is currently being carried out on a new ‘Temple Ruins’ enrichment area for Paignton Zoo’s group of Bornean orang-utans.

Builders from Playscheme construct a new climbing frame for orangutan enrichment
Playscheme hope to have completed the ‘Temple Ruins’ by 5 May

Bornean orang-utans, Pongo pygmaeus, are known to be intelligent, curious and playful. Paignton Zoo has partnered with Playscheme, a renowned company specialising in innovative play areas, to design a custom-built space that will provide endless opportunities for exploration, exercise, and enrichment.

Lisa Britton, Head of Conservation Services for Wild Planet Trust, commented:

“The team are very excited to see how our orang-utans will respond to their new climbing area. They’re going to love it!”

The build, which is due to be completed by 5 May, will also incorporate sustainable robinia wood and eco-friendly materials.


To book your visit to Paignton Zoo, and its new accessible playground, please click here.


For more information about this story, or any other zoo-related news, please contact [email protected]