Monday 15th February, 2021 Rainforest zoo, Plantasia, situated in Parc Tawe, Swansea, has provided much needed lockdown relief for the most vulnerable groups amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Despite the zoo being closed for most of the last 12 months, it has continued to care for the many animals and plant life within. Furthermore, through innovative thinking and imagination, the zoo has created a virtual programme of tours, workshops and presentations.

The virtual programme, which was showcased around the country, has proved particularly popular with care homes and disabled groups allowing some much needed escapism whilst venues have been closed. 

The virtual programme has helped to create learning opportunities and provide some form of entertainment for those that have been shielding from the virus. 

Leonard Cheshire ‘Can-Do’ programme coordinator, Charlotte Aitken, has described the team at Plantasia as ‘lockdown heroes’:

Plantasia has helped us to provide a way of escapism for young people with disabilities. The team offered new and exciting activities and tours online which were fully interactive. They created work experience workshops, animal care, tours and everything in between. Thank you to the Plantasia team for being lockdown heroes!”

Much of Plantasia’s virtual programme has been delivered by their Zoo & Education Manager, Michael Colwill, who said’ “Our virtual programme has proved to be an amazing way to stay in touch with the public and continue our educational efforts during these difficult times. I have particularly enjoyed delivering to disabled groups and the engagement with them has helped us develop new workshops where we bring the zoo to you”.

As part of the Plantasia on the Road’ programme, supported by the Admiral Group, these virtual sessions have been delivered to over 10,000 individuals including the school children of Swansea. In partnership with Swansea Council, videos and worksheets have been distributed to all primary schools within the area and have proven to be a vital learning tool to aid teachers.

On the programme, Rhian Langham, Head of People Services at the Admiral Group said,

“It’s been fantastic to see how Plantasia has adapted during the last year and kept offering fun, educational resources despite so many challenges. Our staff and their children have enjoyed the virtual tours they have provided and it’s been great to see that our sponsorship has enabled Plantasia to reach such a wide audience.”