Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm has scooped three prestigious accolades in this year’s Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards.
Staff at the Clevedon zoo won the gold award for ‘Large Visitor Attraction of the Year’, the silver award for ‘Unsung Hero of the Year’ and even went on to take home a ‘Winner of Winners’ award.
The announcement came during an online presentation ceremony on Thursday, February 17, with the best tourism businesses across the region rewarded for all their hard work during the pandemic.
The zoo was selected by expert judges as the overall Winner of Winners for their commitment to continuous development over many years, and for leading the way in promoting sustainability and accessibility.
This was particularly pleasing for the park, as they had been making a conscious effort to be a role model to other tourist attractions in their conservation, sustainability and accessibility.
Rhian Gunstone, customer experience co-ordinator, told BristolWorld that one way they have achieved this was to install an accessible toilet equipped with a hoist, something that isn’t commonly seen.
She added: “All our cups and cutlery are compostable, we also have a biogas burner and wind turbine as well - we are a green park.”
The zoo’s director, Larry Bush said he was delighted that the zoo has been recognised.
“It has been a tough couple of years, so for the team to be praised by the judges for their dedication and for leading the way in customer service is just brilliant,” he said.
In addition to this, the zoo’s education co-ordinator, Paula Takle, was honoured with the silver accolade in the Unsung Hero award.
The award celebrates individuals who continually go above and beyond, offering exceptional service to visitors.
During Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Paula found new ways to engage the local community and schoolchildren by creating new and engaging educational activities such as virtual workshops, activity booklets, quizzes, and games they could play at home.
She also encouraged them to write to the zoo, which she responded to individually to support their literacy skills.
Her online workshops worked so well that the team accommodated an international class from Indonesia, Al Azhar 30 Islamic Primary School, who were very excited to learn more about Noah’s Ark animals during their own lockdown.
Paula said: “My aim during the pandemic was to continue to engage our community and provide educational and interactive experiences, during a time when other activities were being cancelled.
Creating positive memories during an unsettling time was very important.”