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New Aquatics Centre Now Open

01 April 2014

Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens at Northumberland College’s Kirkley Hall campus, Ponteland has opened a brand-new aquatics centre with fish from the vast coral reefs of Indonesia to brackish estuaries flowing from the amazon. The centre also houses amphibians and other water loving species.

This newest family attraction showcases all four water habitats; brackish, freshwater, marine and cold water. There are over 6,000 litres worth of aquariums that are home to fish, invertebrates and amphibians.

The attraction was officially opened by Gillian Hall of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership with the help of pupils aged between five and fourteen from Percy Hedley School, while college students added extra colour to the event by donning marine themed dress.

This is the biggest new development at the zoo since its opening in 2011 and visitors will be wowed as they enter the aquatics centre with its illuminated aquariums, carefully designed LED lighting and a rainbow of colourful fish from exotic shores.

Interactive visitor information includes a TV screen and QR codes that enable visitors to access exhibit specifics including detailed educational information via mobile devices.

Steven Sykes, Manager at the Zoological Gardens, said: “We are showcasing all four fish habitats to fully educate visitors on the differences. For instance brackish water is commonly found in river estuaries, while marine ecosystems are among the largest of the Earth's aquatic ecosystems and include oceans, lagoons, coral reefs and deep sea.

“Establishing these different water habitats means students will get all rounded experience in all areas of fish keeping, and we have a great range of diversity in species. Our amphibians include axolotls, caecilians and a range of frogs, newts, salamanders and toads. The aquarium systems are to industry standard with full back access and sump filtration, enabling students to develop skills and experience in how to look after and maintain fish stocks.”

Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens is located in Ponteland, just outside of Newcastle is home to over 500 animals and 130 species and is a real learning environment where students study animal care qualifications.

Northumberland College’s seventeenth century estate spans more than 190 acres and is also home to Kirkley Hall Farm, a veterinary centre, 1,330m2 of gardens and commercial greenhouses and an outdoor activity centre.

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