ZSL London Zoo unveils brand new Monkey Valley exhibit

Landmark new home for colobus monkeys unveiled ahead of August opening 

ZSL London Zoo unveiled its landmark new Monkey Valley walkthrough exhibit this morning (July 28), revealing the iconic former Snowdon Aviary’s transformation into a new home for Eastern black and white colobus monkeys – the first of its kind in the UK.

ZSL Members Cat, Mason and Austin Avery were invited to a sneak peek at the unique walkthrough experience, ahead of its official opening on Monday 15 August – while keepers treated the lively colobus troop to an al fresco breakfast.

Inside the soaring new canal-side walkthrough, visitors will be transported to the lush, mountainous forests of central Africa, and treated to 360-degree, panoramic views of the colobus troop, as they leap from tree to tree.

Soaring 80ft above the Primrose Hill skyline – the height of six London double-decker buses – the new walkthrough features a range of monkey upgrades, including multi-level sunny and shaded basking spots for the ten troop members to lounge in, more than 800 metres of rope to swing on, 1,347 new plants and trees to leap amongst and a 30ft waterfall, flowing into a peaceful lagoon.

The exciting new attraction is also home to Colobus Park – a peaceful picnic spot, where parents can relax while little ones practise their own colobus leaps – and an interactive Colobus Corner, where visitors of all ages can learn to translate ‘colobus speak’, deciphering what their unique clicks and grunts really mean. 

ZSL London Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer Kathryn England said: “We’re excited to welcome visitors to Monkey Valley this summer – after seven years of careful planning and restoration, new life has been breathed into the former Snowdon Aviary, a remarkable piece of the nation’s architectural history. 

“Colobus monkeys are nicknamed the ‘high-flying monkeys’, because of their impressive leaps – as they drop from branch to branch, with their arms outstretched, it’s believed they use the long hair on their body and tails as makeshift parachutes. It’s truly a sight to behold, and we can’t wait to share this and more about these incredible primates with our visitors.”  

The Grade II* listed Snowdon Aviary’s restoration and transformation into the Monkey Valley walkthrough involved 35,000 hours of sensitive construction: abseiling experts carefully replaced over 1115sqft of aluminium mesh wrap, before deep cleaning the four towering tetrahedrons that create its distinctive shape and replacing 37 cables to provide the tension that famously holds the structure in place.  

The historic renovation will allow generations of future visitors and schoolchildren to get even closer to the amazing animals at ZSL London Zoo while forming a new conservation breeding centre for the troop – part of a collaborative European-wide breeding programme focused on the preservation of the species, which is threatened by deforestation in the wild.

The ultimate immersive family adventure this summer, the Monkey Valley colobus monkey walkthrough experience will exclusively open to ZSL Members, Fellows and Patrons from Saturday 30 July, followed by a public opening on Monday 15 August– visit www.zsl.org for more details and to book tickets.