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28 January 2013

Port Elizabeth's Bayworld undergoes major upgrade

A R10-million cash injection into Bayworld has allowed for some major infrastructural developments that will vastly improve the facility.

Bayworld Museum Southern right whale at Bayworld Museum

It is exciting that Bayworld is finally able to do some of the infrastructural upgrades that are long overdue. – Robyn Greyling, Bayworld’s chief live animal curator

Bayworld, Port Elizabeth’s much-loved tourist attraction, is undergoing an extensive renovation after the Eastern Cape Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture provided funding. 

The upgrade will see the creation of a larger penguin pool with underground observation windows, which will allow visitors to view the penguins in their underwater habitat.

The existing seal pool is being repaired and upgraded, while a new seal pool is being constructed for shows and interaction. The aquarium area is getting new, more intimate display tanks to enhance the visitor experience.

In the snake park, enclosures are being repaired and upgraded, and viewing panels installed at all reptile enclosures for better viewing. 

The popular animatronic Africa's Lost World dinosaur exhibit, with its ‘Lost World meets Skull Island’ atmosphere, is getting a tree-top style canopy to enhance its jungle feel. Visitors who dare venture into the Lost World will also be delighted and frightened by the addition of more prehistoric beasts.

Many other aesthetic upgrades have also taken place, with revitalised gardens, new paving and the painting of the boundary wall. Bayworld’s 19th-century house museum, No 7 Castle Hill, is also undergoing repairs and maintenance.

Robyn Greyling, Bayworld’s chief live animal curator, has welcomed the funding from the department. ‘It is exciting that Bayworld is finally able to do some of the infrastructural upgrades that are long overdue. It will, however, take a lot more funding – an estimated R500-million – to bring the dolphins to back to Bayworld,’ she said.

Bayworld is offering the public reduced entrance fees while the oceanarium and snake park are temporarily closed. The fee for adults is R20 and children pay R10. Visitors to Bayworld can still enjoy daily talks on penguins, and interact with these fascinating creatures in the amphitheatre outside the museum (11h00 and 15h00). Snake interactions are currently taking place in the museum’s dinosaur gallery, at 12h00 daily. 

Construction of the oceanarium is expected to be completed by May 2013, with the entire construction project expected to be finished by the end of August 2013.