Chessington World of Adventures

Chessington World of Adventures
Chessington World of Adventures Resort
Location Chessington, Greater London, England
Coordinates 51°20′55″N 0°19′00″W / 51.34861°N 0.3166667°W / 51.34861; -0.3166667Coordinates: 51°20′55″N 0°19′00″W / 51.34861°N 0.3166667°W / 51.34861; -0.3166667
Owner Merlin Entertainments
General Manager David Smith
Opened 7 June 1987
Previous names Chessington Zoo, Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo
Operating season Theme park: March - October. Zoo: January - December
Rides 27 total
  • 4 roller coasters
  • 2 water rides
Slogan Britain's Wildest Adventure!

Chessington World of Adventures Resort is a theme park and zoo in South West London, England. It lies 12 miles (19 km) south of Central London. Historically opened as Chessington Zoo in 1931, a theme park was developed alongside it, opening in 1987. In 2010, the park attracted 1.4 Million People.



In 1984 Madame Tussauds Ltd., (later to become the Tussauds Group Ltd.) which owned Chessington Zoo decided the failing attraction, which was suffering declining visitor numbers, needed a radical make-over to restore popularity. The Director of Development, Ray Barratt, commissioned John Wardley to formulate a set of proposals to revitalize the asset. The Pearson Group (the parent company of Tussauds) backed the scheme, and a planning application was submitted to the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

This plan included a new monorail, powered coaster, log flume and a dark ride (all supplied by the German ride manufacturer Heinrich Mack GmbH & Co). The new rides were to operate on a pay-one-price admission basis, and replace the existing pay-as-you-go fairground rides. The monorail, named the Safari Skyway, opened early in 1986 to give the visitors a foretaste of the new attraction. "Chessington World of Adventures" opened as a theme park in 1987. The attractions were all heavily themed with emphasis on atmosphere and effects, meaning Chessington was one of the first true theme parks in Britain.

On 22 May 2007, The Tussauds Group was taken over by Merlin Entertainments Ltd which owns other brands such as the Sealife Centre, and The Dungeons. This meant that Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Madame Tussauds were also taken over as well. As a result of this purchase Merlin became the second largest entertainments operator in the world ahead of Parques Reunidos and second only to Disney.

The park has a large selection of attractions. It also has over 1,000 animals, many of which can be seen from the Safari Skyway, an elevated monorail around the Zoo. Since 1998 Chessington has been in the same ownership as nearby Thorpe Park, and since 2007, Legoland Windsor.[1]

Park guide

The park is split into ten themed lands, each with its own location, setting and rides.

Chessington Zoo

A view of the sea lions from the Safari Skyway, August 2006.

The Zoo is one of the oldest areas in the park and is split in two. The west side of the park is home to Trails of the Kings; a walkthrough attraction home to enclosures for gorillas, tigers, lions and binturong. The east side contains smaller enclosures home to capybaras, rhea, mara, wallabies, meerkats and agouti in the Creature Features area. There is also a 'Monkey & Bird Garden' with a squirrel monkey walkthrough as well as a host of other exotic birds and monkeys. Just outside this is the Children's Zoo, where children may feed domestic farm animals.

Chessington Zoo also has an area called Sea lion Bay, which features sea lion presentations several times a day and Creepy Caves, a reptile house. In 2008, a Sea Life Centre opened on the site of the previous children's zoo, which was later relocated, and contains British and tropical fish.

Recently the Trail of the Kings section of the Zoo underwent an inspection with the outcome that the gorilla enclosure was too small. The zoo was warned that if the housing is not expanded soon it would lose its licence to house gorillas.[2] Planning applications have since been released to build a bigger building for the gorillas, expected to be opened in 2010.

The Wanyama Village & Reserve opened in late May 2010, in a unused area behind the Holiday Inn hotel and houses animals such as Grévy's Zebra, Sitatunga antelope and Scimitar horned oryx.

Wild Asia

Chessington closed Beanoland in late 2009 when the contract expired. Renamed 'Wild Asia', the new themed area opened in March 2010. Lorikeet Lagoon opened as part of Chessington's plan to integrate the zoo with the theme park; visitors may feed the birds nectar.


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
KOBRA Family 10:00 Visitors with a waist of or over 51 inches will not be able to ride.
Jungle Bus Family 10:00 A small magic carpet ride themed as a bus that throws riders around.
Monkey Swinger Family 10:00 A chairswing that swings riders around through the air and fires water at them from below.
Temple of Mayhem Children 10:00 A building in which children can fire foam balls at targets and at each other.
Tuk Tuk Turmoil Dodgems Family 10:00 A dodgems ride themed as tuk tuks.
Lorikeet Lagoon Family 10:00 A new bird enclosure in which guests can hand feed nectar to lorikeets.
Banyan Maximus Family 10:00 A treehouse with an elephant head carving, named 'Banyan Maximus', which interacts with guests and squirts water.


Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Maharajas Market Gifts 10:00
Noodle Noodle Oriental cuisine 10:00
Asian Ices Cooled drinks 10:00

Forbidden Kingdom

Themed around Ancient Egypt, this area is home to two rides, Tomb Blaster and Rameses Revenge.


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Rameses Revenge Family 10:00
Tomb Blaster Family 10:00


Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Fried Chicken Co. Chicken 10:00
Rameses Vault Amusement Centre Arcade 10:00
Forbidden Ices Ice cream 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.
Dragons Fury

Land of the Dragons

Land of the Dragons opened in 2004 and is a self contained, dragon-themed land containing rides and attractions for younger children.

There are two play areas in the main section: "Dragon's Playhouse", a large soft play area; and adjacent to this is "Canopy Capers", an outdoor treehouse rope bridge attraction. There are also child-appropriate rides and the "Dragons Tale Theatre".


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Dragon's Fury Family 10:00
Griffin's Galleon Children 10:00
Canopy Capers Children 10:00 If the child is young enough he or she can be accompanied by an adult.
Sea Dragons Children 10:00
Dragon's Tale Theatre Children 11:00
At peak days an additional show will come on at 17:30.
Dragon's Playhouse Children 10:00
Sir Walter Squirtalot Family 10:00 Originally a stone dragon fountain feature that talked and squirted water at visitors, similar to the Enchanted Tree in Wild Asia. The voice was operated by a member of staff in a hidden cabin, but has since been disused. However the fountain still squirts when activated by motion sensors.


Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Cafe Nero Coffee shop 10:00

Market Square

Market Square is the central area of the park and has shops, video arcades and food stalls; it also contains the entrance to Safari Skyway, a monorail that opened in 1987 offering a guided tour of the zoo, lawn and mansion area.


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Hocus Pocus Hall Children 10:00 Any guests over 1.4m must be accompanied by a guest under 1.4m.
Safari Skyway Family 10:00 Any guests under 1.1m must be accompanied by an adult.
Aqua Adventures Children age 5+ 10:00 This is a separate, exclusive function to the theme park. £5 per 4 minutes.


Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Market Square Donuts Fresh hot doughnuts and ice cream 10:00
Chessington Shop Chessington merchandise 10:00
Sweet Shop Sweets and confectionery 10:00
Ice Cream Factory Ice cream and thick milkshakes 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.
Pizza and Pasta Pizza and pasta buffet 11:30
Adventurers Chicken Shack Food and drink 10:00


Themed as a Mexican and Far West town, Mexicana is home to two rollercoasters.

Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Rattlesnake Family 10:00 Any guests with a torso approaching 51 inches or more will not be able to ride.
Runaway Train Family 10:00 Any guests with a torso approaching 51 inches or more will not be able to ride.
Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Mexican Diner Food and drink 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.

Mystic East

Dragons Falls

Mystic East is an oriental-themed area, with the Dragon Falls log flume and "Peeking Heights", a 25m high 18 pod Observation Wheel.


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Dragon Falls Children 10:00


Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Dragon's Lair Merchandise and confectionery 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.
Oriental Express Food and drink 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.

Pirates Cove

Pirates Cove is adjacent to "Transylvania", home to the Black Buccaneer, a swinging pirate ship installed in 1988 and also Seastorm, a small circular ride.


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Black Buccaneer Children 10:00
Seastorm Family 10:00 A ride in which guests go on a boat which circles around the center while bobbing up and down, with a fake painted "sea" below the boat to simulate a sea storm. If a guest chooses to stay on the boat after it first stops, the ride will then resume but at a faster speed.


Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Chips Ahoy Fish and chips 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.


Toytown has a number of gentle rides for children. The rides include the Carousel, Flying Jumbos and the Berry Bouncers, Tiny Truckers, Toadie's Crazy Cars.


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Carousel Family 10:00
Tiny Truckers Family 10:00
Toadie's Crazy Cars Family 10:00
Flying Jumbos Family 10:00
Berry Bouncers Family 10:00


Outlet Contains Opening time Notes
Xtra Adventures Annual passes, Fastrack and Animal experiences 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.
Cafe Nero Coffee shop 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.
Toybox Shop Merchandise and confectionery 10:00 Outlet open on peak days only.



Transylvania is home to two major rides, the Vampire and the Bubbleworks. A new themed pathway was added to the back entrance of Transylvania for the park's Halloween Hocus Pocus event in 2009.


Attraction Age range Opening time Notes
Vampire Children 10:00
Bubbleworks Family 10:00 Guests climb into a circular ring which holds up to four people and goes around a track. The speed of the ride depends on which part it is on.


Outlet Speciality Opening time Notes
Burger King Fast food 10:00 Outlet open every day of season.
Fangtasia Merchandise and confectionery 10:00 Outlet open every day of season.
Refresh Food and drink 10:00 Outlet open every day of season.


Located next to the Lodge Gate, is the theme park's Holiday Inn hotel. The resort houses entertainment, such as bars and restaurants, a large indoor swimming pool, and the Wanyama Village and Reserve.

Next to the Explorer Gate is a basic Premier Inn hotel with Beefeater restaurant(The Monkey Puzzle).

Future developments

Chessington World of Adventures announced in a press conference that they have a medium-term plan to refurbish existing areas of the park and add new rides. Retheming Beanoland into Wild Asia was the start of the new development and opened including the new ride Kobra for 2010.

The park had been given planning permission to re-theme the Monkey & Bird Garden as Monkey Kingdom in 2012, complete with new enclosures, walkthrough attractions, jungle theming, and play areas. However, at the moment this has been put on hold in favour of other projects, and no details of these have been released.[3]

Past rides

  • "The Fifth Dimension" was a dark ride that opened in 1987, based around the story of a TV repair robot named Zappomatic.
  • "Terror Tomb" (AKA "Forbidden Tomb") was a dark ride that told the story of a tomb robber named Abdab trying to steal a jewel from within the tomb.
  • "Professor Burp's Bubbleworks" was a world-famous dark ride in the "Transylvania" land. It took riders on a tour of a quirky fizzy pop factory using boats and a water channel.
  • The "Chessington Railroad" left at the end of 1996. Although still a popular attraction, the fact that long stretches of the route were on open pathways meant it was considered a safety risk and it was removed.
  • The "Magic Carpet" was located in the "Mystic East" area, until it closed at the end of the 1998 season. Samurai (see below) was installed in its place.
  • The "Fun City Show" tent, housing circus/stunt entertainment, was demolished in 1999 to make way for Beanoland to open the next season.
  • The "Toytown Roundabout" was also removed at the end of 1999. The more traditional Carousel, which had been open since 1996 close to the park's "North Entrance", took its place.
  • The "Clown Coaster" was a very small children's coaster. It was removed to make way for the new "Berry Bouncers" ride which took its place in 2001.
  • "Action Man Training HQ" (AKA Action Man Critical Mission) was a large children's adventure playground-type attraction.
  • "Samurai" was a Mondial Top Scan installed in 1999 in "Mystic East".
  • "Rodeo" was a HUSS Breakdance that closed at the end of the 2004 season. It was left standing but not operating (SBNO) until 2007, when most of the ride was removed. The ride's centerpiece has been rethemed and is now located in Transylvania.
  • "Beanoland" was an area themed around The Beano comic, featuring 'Billy's Whizzer', 'Dennis' Madhouse', 'Roger the Dodger's Dodgems' and 'Bash Street Bus'.

Opening times and events

The park is open between 1 March and 31 October each year. Most attractions open at 10:00 on days in which it is available, however there are a few exceptions to this rule; Dragon's Tale Theatre which does not open until 11:00, and Pizza and Pasta which does not open until 11:30. Usually the park closes at 17:00, however on peak days it is available until 18:00 and during the October half-term it is available until 20:00.[4]

During the October half-term, the park hosts a "Halloween Hocus Pocus" event. During this event pumpkins, skeletons, cobwebs and witch characters can be found in the park.

Every year, in the February Half Term, the zoo opens to the public for "Zoo Days", where families can see the animals during the winter period when the theme park remains closed.

In 2009, Chessington hosted a one-off event to celebrate the opening of the Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs movie. The theme park opened a temporary maze attraction just outside Beanoland featuring all the characters and scenes from the film. The event ran from 20 June and finished on 31 August 2009.[5]


Chessington World Of Adventures is branding itself as a resort with a theme park, zoo, hotel and Sea Life Centre.

See also

  • List of theme parks in the United Kingdom


  1. ^ "More about Thorpe Park - Three decades of thrills". Retrieved 2007-08-28. [dead link]
  2. ^ "News report on gorilla enclosure". BBC News. 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  3. ^ "What's New at Chessington World of Adventures". Retrieved 2011-10-18. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Ice Age Adventure attraction". Retrieved 2009-07-17. 

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