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Bristol’s most famous bears come face-to-face at our new interactive trail

Posted on: 2 April, 2024

Bristol Bears rugby players have come face-to-face with their namesakes at Bristol Zoo Project to help launch our exciting new sensory trail!

Members of the squad visited with their families to unveil the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt trail, which brings to life the award-winning animation, based on the much-loved children’s picture book.

The players explored a series of themed installations, which encourage visitors to follow in the footsteps of the book’s characters, braving the elements and recreating the journey taken by the family at the heart of the story.

The trail is being launched to coincide with the fifth anniversary this year of the opening of the zoo’s award-winning Bear Wood, where its four European brown bears live alongside wolves, lynxes and wolverines.

It tells the story of British woodland from 8,000 BC to the present day, winding through 7.5 acres of ancient woodland on raised treetop walkways, where visitors can step back in time and watch its inhabitants – all native British species lost over time, now brought back in one spectacular immersive experience.

Rosie Sims, Public Engagement Manager at Bristol Zoo Project, said: “It’s been fantastic to welcome the Bristol Bears to meet their furry counterparts at the zoo as they help us launch the We’re Going on a Bear Hunt trail. It’s a double celebration for us, with the fifth anniversary of Bear Wood this year too.

“Families are in for such a treat as the trail takes you on a journey, roaming through ‘swishy swashy’ grass, conquering thick oozy mud, braving swirling whirling snowstorms, and tiptoeing through a cave in search of real bears. You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You’ve got to go through it!

“It’s also the perfect time to visit as the bears are emerging from torpor, which is a light form of hibernation. Since mid-November they have been spending most of their time sleeping on specially made wooden beds in the bear house. So now you can follow the trail and go in search of real bears too!”

Bristol Bears player Steven Luatua said: “We were really honoured to be invited to the launch of the new ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ trail at Bristol Zoo Project. It’s been amazing to bring my young family along with me to enjoy such a fantastic day out and they have had a great time.

“It’s also a nice reminder that we’re not the only Bears in town and we’re proud to continue our relationship with Bristol Zoo Project.”

Over the last 30 years, the book has enchanted children and parents with its story of perseverance, optimism and a love of nature, selling over 14 million copies worldwide in 42 languages. Author Michael Rosen’s retelling of this classic picture book has exceeded over 20 million views on YouTube.

Bristol Zoo Project is working in partnership with Walker Productions and Lupus Films, the production team behind the animation.

As well as the launch of the trail, there has been further excitement at the zoo this week with the return of red pandas to Bristol! Endangered red panda Nilo arrived at the attraction last week and visitors can now visit and see him settling in to his new purpose-built habitat.