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Birmingham Sea Life Centre welcomes new penguins

Birmingham’s National Sea Life Centre has opened its new attraction – Penguin Ice Adventure – featuring a colony of 12 endan- gered Gentoo penguins for the aquarium. Te penguins, flown in from Auckland,

New Zealand, are situated at the entrance to the aquarium and are the first animals to greet guests as they enter the facility. Te birds offer an energetic show to visitors, diving in and out of water up to 450 times a day and play- fully moving rocks around the habitat. Te area offers several different perspec-

tives on the den, with platforms both above and underwater as well as an area to teach guests how to ‘walk like a penguin.’ Penguin Ice Adventure has been five years

in the making, according to Sea Life staff. Details:

Thomas ‘key’ to heritage rail future

Tomas the Tank Engine, has been hailed as key to the survival of heritage railways, with the popular ‘Days Out with Thomas’ events accounting for a sig- nificant amount of annual income across the UK. HIT Entertainment –

the brand which owns the licensing for Tomas – holds events with its partner heritage railways across the country where visitors can experience a ride on a steam engine, shake hands with Te Fat Controller, and take part in Tomas-themed activities. While additional char- acters and activities vary depending on the railway, Tomas the Tank Engine and Te Fat Controller are always present at every event. Tis is something HIT makes sure is up to an expected quality standard, with regular inspec- tions carried out on the events around the UK. “As part our our contract with HIT, we run

Te former MoD site has fallen into disrepair

Welsh WW2 secret comms site could become museum

A campaign has been launched in Wales to transform one of Britain’s top-secret stra- tegic outposts from World War II and the cold war into a museum attraction. Criggion station near Welshpool in

Powys, Wales has been shrouded in mys- tery for much of its existence, but the remote naval communications hub is said to have sent the order for the sinking of Germany’s prized naval vessel Te Bismark. In its hey- day, the station comprised 160 staff, three 700ſt-high radio masts and three 600 ſt-high towers. It was heavily-guarded with security and surveillance, but has fallen into decay since the masts were destroyed in 2003. But now a campaign led by Powys

councillor Graham Brown is bidding to transform the site into a national museum. “You would not believe what went on

in these buildings that were linked up to Hawaii and Colorado,” he told Wales Online. “We think the project has potential to

bring in tourists and could lead to a major economic regeneration.” Te campaign hopes to purchase the site from a private investor. Details:


on a three-year rolling deal,” said Dick Wood, business development manager at South Devon Railway Trust speaking to Attractions Management. “Providing we satisfy their qual- ity checks, such as the trains having proper faces etc, we are licensed to use Tomas for our annual event.” Wood went on to talk about the pros and cons of using an IP for a heritage

Heritage railways rely on special themed events to make a profit

railway. Te cost of hiring a regular locomotive is around £300-350 per day at the lower end, with more recognisable locomotive engines reaching four figures. Tanks to the appeal of Tomas to railway visitors, guest numbers swell to around three times the typical amount over a typical bank holiday weekend. “At one time there were a large number of

railways holding Tomas events but nowadays there are fewer, but these showcases – how- ever rare – are held on a much grander scale,” Wood continued. “Some railways turn against it because of the royalty payments, but for me its the three busiest days of our year with 7-10,000 visitors. Details:

Mary Rose sails to success at museums awards

The Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth was among the chief winners at

the Museums and

Heritage Awards, scooping two tro- phies at the ceremony in London. Te £27m harbourside structure

– whose Wilkinson Eyre design has already won award nominations – marks its first anniversary this month and looks a strong contender for Te Art Fund Museum of the Year award, which will be held in July. Te museum houses the restored

Te museum has attracted more than 400,000 visitors since opening

Tudor ship the Mary Rose, a vessel which sank in 1545 and was famously rediscovered in 1971. It was then salvaged in 1981 – alongside almost 20,000 related artefacts from the 16th-century. Te Mary Rose Museum was presented with

the restoration/conservation award, fending off competition from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. It also won the best permanent exhibition, beating the rival National

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Maritime Museum’s Nelson, Navy, Nation. Te Museums and Heritage Awards, which

were held on 14 May, also saw the Victoria and Albert Museum claim two trophies in addition to winning the Best of the Best category. Te awards were set up in order to honour inno- vation and excellence across all sectors in the world of British museums and cultural institu- tions. Details:

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