Chiswell Green’s Butterfly World booming

PUBLISHED: 19:02 01 August 2010

David Bellamy and scouts launch Arriva's Butterfly Bus

David Bellamy and scouts launch Arriva's Butterfly Bus

Archant

VISITOR numbers have soared at the city’s newest tourist attraction which is now planning to stay open for far longer than anticipated.

Butterfly World in Chiswell Green first opened its doors last year and got off to a slow start with fewer visitors than anticipated, not helped by a poor summer and limited signage.

But already this year the attraction – which will soon include a giant biome housing butterflies from around the world – has attracted the same number of visitors as it had during the whole of last summer.

Over 34,000 people had visited Butterfly World by this week and the attraction is now planning to remain open until October with a facility for visitors to continue using the cafeteria and retail area until Christmas when a seasonal fair will be held.

Managing director Angela Harkness, put the change in Butterfly World’s fortunes down to “better marketing, better pricing and putting in a lot of work.”

She said they had an “absolutely brilliant” activity schedule for children including creative art and natural world sessions as well as interactive storytelling.

Seventy schools had visited Butterfly World and every child who had come with their classmates had been given free tickets to return with their parents.

The Arriva bus service bringing visitors from London had also proved to be a huge success, Angela said.

Events

The attraction, which from tomorrow will also feature a new 140 sq metre events facility to host group events, children’s parties and regular activity sessions, will now remain open until the end of October with a Halloween party on the 31st. Butterfly World is also planning to host a firework display around Guy Fawkes night and a large Christmas fair.

In the meantime work is due to start on the biome – the key attraction in the multi-million-pound scheme which is set to be the world’s biggest butterfly attraction – before the end of the year.

The first activity in the new events facility will be a traditional swing jazz evening tomorrow featuring St Albans group, the Gershwin Gang. Visitors are being invited to bring picnics and there will be drinks and ice creams on sale.

Tickets are £24.50 under cover or £17 outside which includes a free drink and they can be obtained on the door or from the ticket office on 01727 869203.

n A SHOPPING centre has launched a competition which is offering the chance for a child to win a trip to Butterfly World for their whole class.

The Maltings is asking children to create a butterfly picture using any material they like to be in the running for up to 30 child and four adult tickets to the attraction.

Phil Corrigan, centre manager at the Maltings, said: “There is so much going on in and around St Albans at the moment and we wanted to celebrate that. This is a great opportunity for one class to visit a fantastic place that is right on their doorstep.”

All entries must be sent to the Maltings Butterfly Competition, c/o PMW Communications, Stane Court, Stane Street, Billingshurst, West Sussex, RH14 9HP by Friday, September 10.

For full details visit www.maltingsshoppingcentre.co.uk.

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