Sheffield is about to get a new animal attraction dedicated to reptiles and amphibians.
Zoology graduate Steve Gilling plans to open a walk-through zoo later this year in the former postal sorting office on Attercliffe Road.
He aims to attract at least 17,000 visitors every year with a large menagerie including turtles, frogs, snakes, iguanas and chameleons.
The Sheffield Reptile and Amphibian Zoo will be divided into several different areas over 440 sq m, including a rainforest zone. The paid attraction is set to have a strong environmental and conservation theme, Steve said.
“I want to change people’s perceptions that these animals are scary and ugly,” said the 33-year-old, from Renishaw in Derbyshire.
Steve said he had been scouting around for an ideal location in which to open the attraction for some time, and admitted the venture was ‘a big risk’ financially.
But he added: “Attercliffe Road seems ideal. People will be able to get close to the animals and feel like they’re part of their world. The vast majority of these creatures are on the verge of going extinct.”
Expertise will be provided by Shaun Allingham, whom Steve studied alongside at Derby University, and there are plans for the zoo to register with a captive breeding programme.
Converting the sorting office will need to be approved by Sheffield Council.