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‘We’re asking for local support’ - Pettitt’s adventure park gears up for reopening after seven months

PUBLISHED: 10:52 24 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:52 24 June 2020

Michael Abbott, owner director of Pettitts Adventure Park, at the new Meerkat Kingdom, part of the improvements which has cost just over £1m in the last three years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Michael Abbott, owner director of Pettitts Adventure Park, at the new Meerkat Kingdom, part of the improvements which has cost just over £1m in the last three years. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A popular Norfolk family attraction is gearing up to welcome back visitors after shutting its doors for seven long months.

Pettitt’s family adventure park in Reedham is usually open from March to November - and last entertained guests back in November 2019 on account of the coronavirus lockdown.

But now, the park has been given the green light to open July 4, and says it “couldn’t be more excited” at the prospect.

Owner of the park, Michael Abbott, said: “We’ve been ready to go since mid-May, and had initially expected to open June 15 alongside other zoos.

“But after specific government guidance emerged, we realised because we had rides and play areas we didn’t fall under that category and couldn’t open. That was a hugely stressful time for us.

Pettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael AbbottPettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael Abbott

“To hear that we can now welcome back guests on July 4 is a massive relief. If we’d had to wait until August we weren’t sure we’d be able to build up enough revenue to get us through winter.”

Mr Abbott said: “During the lockdown, we haven’t put our hand out to the public at any time because it didn’t feel right: This is our business and it was our responsibility to keep it going.

“But now we’re asking customers to visit us when they can and support local, independent and family-run businesses. We need their help.”

He added: “We have pushed the boat out when it comes to safety measures to make both staff and would-be customers feel completely reassured.

“Rides will be disinfected between each use, extra sanitising stations have been put in place around the entire park.”

When it comes to the animals themselves, Mr Abbott said they were keen to see human faces once again.

The park has undergone extensive improvements while closed - with a new Lion King-esque meerkat enclosure making its public debut in 10 days time.

Pettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael AbbottPettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael Abbott

He said: “We have a huge rock in the middle of our meerkat kingdom. When they hear even the slightest noise, they all run to the top of this rock and peer out over the park, curious to see what’s happening.

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“It’s brilliant to see.

“The racoons are missing human interaction too. They’ll be chuffed when we have people coming back through our gates.”

Pettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael AbbottPettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael Abbott

Pettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael AbbottPettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael Abbott

Pettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael AbbottPettitt's animal adventure park in Reedham is elated at the prospect of welcoming back visitors in July. Photo: Michael Abbott


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