Home Tourist attractions Visitors slam ‘worst tourist attraction ever’, calling £400,000 venue a ‘waste of money’

Visitors slam ‘worst tourist attraction ever’, calling £400,000 venue a ‘waste of money’

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The large dome is home to 200 exotic rescue birds and is meant to offer a ‘360 degree viewing experience’ – but visitors say its design makes the aviary too dark to see any of the birds

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Bournemouth: A look at the new £400,000 aviary

Visitors to a brand new aviary which cost over £400,000 have branded it a ‘waste of public money’ because they cannot see inside.

The large dome which houses 200 exotic rescue birds in Bournemouth is meant to provide a “360 degree viewing experience”.

But it was constructed using a double-layered metal grid to prevent people from feeding the birds and to protect their fingers from being pinched.

The top of the dome is also solid metal, which means hardly any light comes through the aviary, with people claiming the facility is too dark for people to see most birds.







The large dome which houses 200 exotic rescue birds is said to offer a “360 degree viewing experience”
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Image:

Max Willcock/BNPS)


The highly anticipated conservatory, mostly funded by public donations, took 20 years to build and took several months to construct.

Yet after its grand unveiling in Bournemouth, Dorset, visitors were left disappointed.

Dozens of squinting observers leaned near the aviary to take a look at one of its many inhabitants, which includes zebra finches, lovebirds, cockatiels and parrots.







The top of the dome is also solid metal, which means hardly any light comes through the aviary, with people claiming the facility is too dark for people to see most birds.
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Image:

Max Willcock/BNPS)


Paul Rice, from Marlborough, Wilts, who frequently visits Bournemouth with his partner, Karron Fitchett, said: “The majority of people just walk past now because they can’t see inside.

“£400,000 is a lot of money for that, isn’t it? You can’t see anything – all you can see is shadow.

“All those people who put money into it can’t even look at the birds.”

Ms Fitchett described herself as a ‘bird lover’ but was disappointed with the aviary. She added: ‘You would think they would have had experts looking at the design who would realize.







Birds are hard to see through the grill
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Max Willcock/BNPS)


John Holmes, 70, and his wife Nina, also had difficulty seeing. He said, “It’s very difficult to see the birds. You can see the usefulness of the double grid but you need some light from the top of the cage”.

Giran Bhardwas, 65, from London, said: “I was trying to take pictures on my phone to show my granddaughter but I couldn’t see anything.

“I don’t think it was worth £400,000 – they should have spent the money on more public toilets.







Paul Rice and Karron Fitchett
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Max Willcock/BNPS)


“It’s the double cage – the narrow holes make it difficult. If they were a bit bigger with a transparent top to let the light in, it would have been better.”

Tripadviser reviews of the new aviary were similarly unflattering, with one visitor writing that it was not worth looking at.

They said: “The gardens are still beautiful but we were so disappointed with the new aviary, although a bird sanctuary it’s certainly not an attraction, you can’t see the birds properly because the cages that hold them surround obscure the view.

“It’s a pity that the architect could not find better. During our visits, we always went to see the birds, but it is no longer worth seeing”.







Tripadviser reviews of the new aviary were similarly unflattering, with one visitor writing that it was not worth looking at.
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Image:

Max Willcock/BNPS)


Others have urged the architects who designed it to “fix it.” One wrote: ‘The new aviary is very poor – the birds are very difficult to see through the two layers of mesh. It really needs an overhaul.’

Another reviewer said: “Very disappointed – couldn’t see the birds. Hope the designers will fix it”.

Comments on Facebook were even more scathing, with some decrying it as “ill-conceived horror” reminiscent of post-apocalyptic film Mad Max’s “Thunderdome”.







Visitors struggle to take photos
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Max Willcock/BNPS)


Chris Grant said it was “a great idea but an awful design” while Bev Lloyd described it as “total pain in the eyes”.

Moni Chai said: “The extra cage ruins the view and no one seems to want to fix it – what a shame. Not enough thought but I bet a lot of money was so we’re stuck with this view c **p”.

Named the Coopper Thompson Rescue Aviary, it was funded by £266,255 in public donations – as well as a community infrastructure levy of £150,000 from the BCP Council and the Parks Foundation, a local charity.







A room in the center of the aviary
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Max Willcock/BNPS)


The Parks Foundation described it as a “historic structure” offering more space for birds to fly and a “360 degree viewing experience”.

They said it had been built to “higher welfare standards” using “sustainable” materials.

Derek Heritage of Bournemouth Aviary, the volunteer-run organization that runs it, said: “It’s been over 20 years since plans were made to permanently remove the old aviary.

“Now we celebrate the working relationship between the council, the Parks Foundation and a group of volunteers and the continued support of United Taxis who helped us raise much needed funds to rebuild the aviary.”







Nina and John Holmes
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Max Willcock/BNPS)


Responding to concerns from visitors that they cannot see inside the aviary, a council spokesman said they would test various “options” to improve visibility.

Councilor Mark Anderson, portfolio holder for Environment and Place, said: “The new Bournemouth aviary has been designed to keep the birds safe, which is why we have a double layer of mesh on the outside .

“It prevents people from feeding the birds, which can be harmful to them, and helps protect the fingers from being pecked. It also provides variable shade for the birds.







The Parks Foundation described it as a “historic structure” offering more space for birds to fly and a “360 degree viewing experience”.
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Image:

Max Willcock/BNPS)


“We want everyone who visits to enjoy a 360 degree view of the birds and recommend standing close to the mesh to see the birds, however, we realize that not everyone can see through the double mesh layer.

“Taking this feedback into account, we will be testing various options in the coming weeks that will allow for better visibility from outside the aviary.

“The aviary is an important part of Bournemouth history having been there in one form or another since the 1930s. This new structure provides more flying space for the birds and we are delighted that they will settled into their remarkable new surroundings quickly, making the morning birdsong a little louder – and we hope that all residents and visitors to Bournemouth will once again enjoy seeing the birds in their new and improved habitat.”

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