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Blackpool Zoo Play Area, Orang-u-tangle

Blackpool Zoo

Russell Play was approached by Blackpool Zoo to propose a design for a new play area they were planning to build in the zoo. They wanted this new playground to open around the same time as an exciting new Orangutan House that was already in progress.

Large multi activity themed timber playhouse at Blackpool Zoo Play Area, Orang-u-tangle


Initial concepts were designed for a world wildlife safari theme encompassing the African, South American and Australasian continents. With the opening of the new orangutan enclosure however, the focus of the concept of the play area shifted to simulate more the fun climbing activities akin to orangutans and monkeys. Natural looking climbing structures using Robinia timber combined with some rope net play seemed the obvious choice to blend in with the surroundings of the inside of the zoo and the orangutan theme.

Orangutan at the Blackpool Zoo Play Area, Orang-u-tangle


It was decided to divide the play area into two, with one part being a separate area for toddlers. A main raised bark area would be for the older children and be based around two timber structures featuring a playhouse and slides.

The toddler area would be without the raised bark edging to ease access for the toddlers and again contain a playhouse with climbing and sliding accessories in keeping with the style and activities of the larger play area. There was also the inclusion of two bespoke springers in the shape of a baby orangutan and a tiger.

Wide view of timber climbing structure, 'Orang-u-tangle' at Blackpool Zoo Play Area


Detailed features that added to the appeal of the equipment were bespoke monkey, parrot and palm tree carvings. Along with the natural tree like design of the structures this gave the playground a “rain forest” effect.

The new climbing play area is well placed next to the orangutan enclosure and the main outdoor café as it has encouraged parents and children to stay and play outdoors while they use the catering facilities at the café. The new name of the play area ‘Orang-u-tangle’ was used to tie the concept to the new orangutan area.

Timber carved monkey on palm tree in Blackpool Zoo Play Area, 'Orang-u-tangle'


The Robinia structures give the visitors a real WOW factor and since its installation it has had a fantastic response from the public. Blackpool Zoo has an exciting new play area that has not only impressed the staff but has been a great success with the visiting public.

Wide view of Blackpool Zoo Play Area, 'Orang-u-tangle'