Giant penguin launches Poole’s newest £1.6million Ark development

Bournemouth Echo: Lucky competition winners Mckenzie Cattell, 6, Sean Waters, 5, and Lily Dauncey, 2, and her mum Debbie, with actress Debra Stephenson and The Ark’s mascot Tux the penguin Lucky competition winners Mckenzie Cattell, 6, Sean Waters, 5, and Lily Dauncey, 2, and her mum Debbie, with actress Debra Stephenson and The Ark’s mascot Tux the penguin

A GIANT penguin helped to launch Poole’s newest £1.6million family-themed cafe and play area on Saturday.

The Ark, based in Poole Park, has taken over the former Gus Gorillas building and celebrated with a party starring Tux the resident penguin, face painting and Christmas crafts.

Children were also kept entertained with a visit from actor and impressionist Debra Stephenson, who is currently starring in the Lighthouse’s pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

The Ark features a three-storey soft play area with tunnels, slides and interactive zones, ice rink, cafe and ice cream parlour, aimed at children aged up to 11.

It has been created by local couple Richard and Sarah de Lisle and is open from 10am to 6pm, seven days a week, except Christmas Day, and from 10am to 4pm on Boxing Day and January 1.

Richard said: “After months of hard work, we’re thrilled to finally unveil The Ark, which we see as the ultimate in local family fun.

He added: “ Our vision was to create a family-friendly, welcoming destination where local people and visitors to the area can meet up, socialise and enjoy great food and drink in a relaxed atmosphere. I believe The Ark has lived up to that vision. The team working on the project have created outstanding and modern facilities including soft play, ice rink, café and ice cream parlour.

“Poole Park is one of the area’s real gems and we are excited about the future and look forward to welcoming families from the local area and beyond.”

Cllr Judy Butt, cabinet portfolio holder for public engagement and participation, cut the ribbon on the special opening.

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