Immersive monkey enclosure opens at London ZSL Zoo

Monkey Valley entrance and sign (c) Paul Noble ZSL

Monkey Valley entrance and sign - Credit: Paul Noble ZSL

Visitors to ZSL London Zoo will soon be able to walk among the chimps through an immersive canal-side walkthrough.

The Monkey Valley walkthrough exhibit reveals the former Snowdon Aviary's transformation into a new home for Eastern black and white colobus monkeys – the first of its kind in the UK. 

Open to the ZLS members from July 30 and to the public on August 15, the facility recreates a the lush, mountainous forests of central Africa.

Visitors will have panoramic views of the colobus troop, as they leap from tree to tree. 

EDITORIAL USE ONLYKeeper Kathryn Sanders at the unveiling of ZSL London ZooÕs new ÔMonkey ValleyÕ a

Keeper Kathryn Sanders at the unveiling of ZSL London Zoo's new Monkey Valley - Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Soaring 80ft above the Primrose Hill skyline – the height of six double-decker buses – the new walkthrough features multi-level sunny and shaded basking spots for the ten troop members to lounge in, more than 800 metres of rope to swing on, 1,347 new plants and trees to leap amongst and a 30ft waterfall, flowing into a lagoon. 

The new attraction is home to Colobus Park, a peaceful picnic spot, and an interactive Colobus Corner, where visitors of all ages can learn to translate "colobus speak", deciphering what their clicks and grunts really mean.   

ZSL London Zoo’s chief operating officer, Kathryn England, said: “We’re excited to welcome visitors to Monkey Valley this summer – after seven years of careful planning and restoration, new life has been breathed into the former Snowdon Aviary, a remarkable piece of the nation’s architectural history.  

EDITORIAL USE ONLYUnveiling of ZSL London ZooÕs new ÔMonkey ValleyÕ attraction, a walkthrough exper

Unveiling of ZSL London Zoo's new Monkey Valley attraction, a walkthrough experience of the colobus monkeys enclosure, ahead of the official public opening on Monday August 15. Ian West/PA Wire - Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

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“Colobus monkeys are nicknamed the "high-flying monkeys", because of their impressive leaps. As they drop from branch to branch, with their arms outstretched, it's believed they use the long hair on their body and tails as makeshift parachutes. It’s truly a sight to behold, and we can’t wait to share this and more about these incredible primates with our visitors.”   

The Grade II listed Snowdon Aviary’s transformation into the Monkey Valley walkthrough involved 35,000 hours of construction. Abseiling experts replaced over 1,115sqft of aluminium mesh wrap, before deep cleaning the four towering tetrahedrons that create its distinctive shape and replacing 37 cables to provide the tension that holds the structure in place.