Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkarofficially opened the new Tropical House at Fota Wildlife Park on Friday June 20th, the start of an exciting new era at the Cork attraction.
The Tropical House is a €700,000 development which was part funded by SECAD (South & East Cork Area Development) and has been open to the public since the middle of February. The development is home to endangered reptiles, eye popping amphibians, fluttering butterflies, exotic fish and a state of the art veterinary facility which will allow for injured or sick animals to be treated at Fota Wildlife Park.
Minister Varadkar was joined by Cork County Mayor Cllr. Alan Coleman and Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Mary Shields in opening the first indoor area for animals at Cork’s most visited Tourist Attraction. Speaking at the opening the Minister said “I remember coming here as a child with my aunt and being impressed, the tropical house along with other recent developments here at Fota Wildlife Park is great for tourism in the region”.
CEO of SECAD Ryan Howard also believes the development is good for tourism, “there has been a significant investment of €200,000 by SECAD towards the construction of new Tropical House in Fota Wildlife Park. As a key tourism attraction in this region and as part of the Ring of Cork initiative, we are delighted to support this special project and to support employment in the tourism and hospitality sector here.”
The Tropical House which is 280sqm in size is home to 3 reptile, 9 amphibian, 28 fish and 14 butterfly species all of which are new species to Fota Wildlife Park. All of these species will be on display amongst 340 tropical plants at temperature of 26° Celsius all year round.
One of the eye catching elements to the new development is the tropical butterflies who roam free-range throughout the house and amongst the public pathways. If you are afraid of snakes be warned as one of the new residents is a 2m long boa.
Other species that visitors can look forward to seeing include elongated tortoises, iguanas, salamanders, mountain chickens, chameleons and clown fish famous for being “Nemo” in the Disney animated film Finding Nemo. The park is also completing phase one of its new Asian Sanctuary which saw the arrival to the park of two Sumatran Tigers at the end of May.