Zoo trail organiser is ‘blown away’ by event’s success

Animal magic: Front gardens transformed over the Bank Holiday weekend on the Nowton Estate Zoo Trail

Animal magic: Front gardens transformed over the Bank Holiday weekend on the Nowton Estate Zoo Trail in Bury St Edmunds. Four year old Layla Dann and her tiger on Jarman Close Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Popular animal visitor attractions may be temporarily closed, but residents on one Bury St Edmunds estate created their own zoo environments where visitors could be transported to different continents.

Kylan, 8, and Lorenzo, 3, Downey and their dinosaur park on Nowton Road Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Kylan, 8, and Lorenzo, 3, Downey and their dinosaur park on Nowton Road Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

The Nowton Estate Zoo Trail over the Bank Holiday weekend enthralled children who could try and spot their favourite animal from a selection including penguins, monkeys and big cats.

It was the brainchild of local resident Jessica Rudd, whose initial idea put out on Facebook created a huge amount of interest with some 24 roads, walks and closes and over 50 homes eventually taking part.

Front gardens were transformed in imaginative ways to have some fun whilst social distancing but still allowing families to get out and about, and hundreds toured the estate over the three days.

There was a zoo map of houses taking part, children’s activity sheet with a checklist of animals to spot, as well as strict instructions not to enter enclosures and not to touch the animals as they may bite.

Denna Ewing finds a Yeti in her Nowton Road garden Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Denna Ewing finds a Yeti in her Nowton Road garden Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott


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Jessica said: “The idea came from seeing Ixworth, a local village outside of Bury, doing a zoo trail a few weeks back. I thought then it was a great idea to get children and adults out doing something different whilst abiding by the current social distancing rules!

“I’ve recently had a baby and thought that I could organise it whilst I’m at home more and not having to juggle work and home schooling like most parents currently are during the current coronavirus lockdown.

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“I used to be a children’s nanny so also understand how hard it can be to keep children entertained and find free events to attend, let alone during a world pandemic!

“I have been blown away by the response! We have ended up with over 65 animals being on display at over 50 addresses!

Eighteen-month-old Elsie-May Thomson with dad Darren and Paula Walker and their flamingos in Jarman

Eighteen-month-old Elsie-May Thomson with dad Darren and Paula Walker and their flamingos in Jarman Close Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

“Residents have been excited to join in with creating zoo enclosures. Many of them have enlisted the help of their children to create animals and fact boards! The zoo trail has been a lot of fun and also very educational. “Quite a few families have said they incorporated the zoo trail into their home schooling this week for their children!

“It’s been wonderful to see lots of people smiling during these uncertain and difficult times. I think it’s given most people on the estate a project to get stuck into and an event to look forward too that suits everyone.

“The feedback I’m getting has been all positive and I think it might have to become an annual event as the community has really pulled together and enjoyed themselves.”

Amina Ali, who made a tiger with her daughter Layla, four, for the trail, said: “The zoo trail was a fantastic initiative by Jessica and it did a great job of bringing the community on our estate together.

Train organiser Jessica Rudd and her four month old son Hunter with their giant pandas in Grange Wal

Train organiser Jessica Rudd and her four month old son Hunter with their giant pandas in Grange Walk Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

“It was lovely to chat with people that stopped by our tiger enclosure and it was really nice to have something creative to focus on. It was thoroughly enjoyed by the adults and kids and we look forward to taking part in the Around The World Trail over the August Bank Holiday.”

The Shanks family created their penguin pool on Nowton Road Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

The Shanks family created their penguin pool on Nowton Road Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Louise and Hollie Thearle with unicorns in their Fulcher Close front garden Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Louise and Hollie Thearle with unicorns in their Fulcher Close front garden Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Archie Abbott on his 12th birthday with his elephant enclosure in Grange Walk Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Archie Abbott on his 12th birthday with his elephant enclosure in Grange Walk Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Seven-year-old Molly Adcook with her Winnie the Pooh front garden in Fallowfield Walk Picture: ANDY

Seven-year-old Molly Adcook with her Winnie the Pooh front garden in Fallowfield Walk Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

Four-year-old twins Freda and Olive Eley in their Pemberton Walk front garden Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Four-year-old twins Freda and Olive Eley in their Pemberton Walk front garden Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Andy Abbott

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