£720,000 refurbishment for Leeds’s tropical wonderland

Have your say

One of Leeds’s most popular visitor attractions is set for a £720,000 refurbishment.

Proposals for a revamp of Tropical World in Roundhay – which draws 300,000 visits every year and is one of Yorkshire’s top 10 most popular tourist attractions – are being considered.

The extensive two-phase revamp is expected to start in January and finish by March.

The plans include a new crocodile enclosure, a new children’s education zone, an extension to the cafe and a new aquarium.

The project would be 
jointly funded by the council and a donation from the family of Arnold and Marjorie Ziff, who are long-term patrons of the popular facility.

Leeds City Council’s executive board is expected to rubber-stamp the project at a meeting at Civic Hall on Wednesday.

The project was initially expected to cost £600,000, but estimates have now gone up to £720,000.

Councillors are expected to approve £120,000 of additional funding from the council’s capital budget and “prudential borrowing”.

A report to be presented to the panel next week says: “In 2012, Leeds City Council received confirmation that the Ziff family would like to extend their long standing patronage of Tropical World with another generous donation towards enhancing the visitor attraction facilities.

“The successful completion of this project will realise a refurbishment and refreshment of this much valued attraction, which should in turn secure its continued legacy as a key visitor attraction for future generations.”

The report adds: “The testimonies of the may families and individuals who have visited the Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World is ample demonstration of the site’s popularity and value with Leeds residents.

“The provision of a significant sum of external funding, coupled with a sound business case on which to support prudential borrowing, provides a unique opportunity to implement the proposals.

Tropical World has been open to the public since 1984, starting life as an indoor botanical garden. The site was renamed the Arnold and Marjorie Ziff Tropical World in 2009 in recognition of the philanthropic couple’s long-standing support of the facility.