A series of life-size painted bear sculptures are set to appear around Wild Place Project this spring.
Twenty individually hand-painted 3D bears will form a new trail around the south Gloucestershire attraction from April 6 until September.
Visitors will be able to follow a route around the park, to discover the 6ft (1.8m) tall bears, each of which will be individually designed and decorated by a team of talented artists over the coming weeks.
Now some of the unpainted bears have been unveiled and artists will begin painting them at Wild Place Project, for visitors to see.
The new bear sculpture trail is being run in conjunction with Wild in Art, who developed the hugely successful Wow! Gorillas trail with Bristol Zoo Gardens in 2011, to celebrate the Zoo’s 175th birthday.
Nigel Simpson, head of operations at Wild Place Project, said: “The bear sculpture trail is a fantastic collaboration between Wild Place Project and many of our partners and supporters.
“It promises to be an exciting discovery trail around the attraction as visitors will be able to tick off the bears as they find them, and take part in activities associated with the trail. It will be a wonderful prelude to the arrival of real bears later this year.”
He added: “There is a great deal in store for our visitors throughout 2019 as Wild Place Project continues to grow and develop, and we are immensely grateful to all of our visitors, members, partners and supporters for helping us get to where we are today.”
The sculpture trail comes ahead of the arrival of real European brown bears at the attraction, as a new exhibit called Bear Wood opens at Wild Place Project in July. All 20 bear sculptures have been sponsored by local organisations as part of a fundraising campaign for Bear Wood.
Work is now underway creating the impressive new exhibit, which will also be home to wolves, lynx and wolverine and which promises to be the best bear exhibit in the country.
Visitors will be able to walk through the seven and a half acre exhibit on a raised walkway that will wind its way through the trees. New, 180-degree, floor-to-ceiling glass viewing areas and ‘dens’ will give visitors an up-close view of the animals living alongside each other in British woodland as they would have done in years gone by.
Bear Wood will transport visitors back to a time when these magnificent creatures roamed the UK countryside, taking them on a journey through the ages, to the present day, while showing the effects of woodland loss on our native wildlife.
Bear Wood is the story of what was, where we are now and what is still at stake. It will inspire visitors to protect our woodland for the native species that call it home, whilst helping to preserve this vital woodland habitat for future generations to enjoy.
You can watch a video of some of our artists decorating their bears on our Facebook page.
Part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas. The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) is contributing towards the costs of fencing for the bear, wolf, wolverine and lynx enclosures.