Meerkats are incomparable draw at Aberdeen visitor attraction

Pets Corner at Hazlehead Park have two new baby Meerkats. Their names are still to be decided. Picture by KATH FLANNERY

A newly-refurbished family attraction has been a massive hit, drawing record numbers of visitors.

People have been flocking to Pets Corner in Hazlehead Park since it reopened after a £750,000 renovation and introduced two baby meerkats.

The number of visitors last month was 24,971, which compares with 8,300 for July last year – and 45,434 for the entirety of 2016.

The highest number of visitors to the attraction in a single day was also set on Saturday, July 8, when 1,640 passed through the doors.

Councillor Yvonne Allan, convener of Aberdeen City Council’s communities, housing and infrastructure committee, said the arrival of the meerkats had given the facility a major boost.

“The number of extra people is fantastic coming to see the meerkats and £750,000 renovations; and I’m sure visitors from both near and far have enjoyed the new facilities and residents,” she said.

“Pets Corner has been popular with families for years and the refurbishments and new additions have made it a really exciting place to go for people of all ages, particularly in the beautiful setting of Hazlehead Park.

“We hope more new visitors come to Pets Corner to see all the attractions.”

Work is continuing on the education room where the meerkats are to be given their own new specially-built enclosure.

A competition was held for primary school children to name the two baby meerkats and an announcement will made soon.

Donald Shaw, chairman of Friends of Hazlehead Park charity group, which works with Aberdeen City Council to improve the facilities at the park and promote its attractions, said: “One of our top priorities was to modernise and improve Pets Corner and further transform it into an interpretive and educational centre for the city and shire.

“We’ve worked tirelessly with the city council over the past five years to make this happen.

“It’s fantastic. The work to the aquarium and reptile section is now finished and the interpretation centre in extended Pets Corner will be fully opened shortly providing a boost to the park.”