Bayworld to reopen with a splash

A NEW world awaits visitors to Bayworld in Port Elizabeth as the popular multimillion-rand facility reopens tomorrow.

The fun-filled programme will include dressing up in Victorian clothing and getting a chance to touch non-venomous snakes.

The doors to the new-look Bayworld, which have been closed for 10 months, open at 9am and close at 4.30pm.

However, the dolphins will remain at Hong Kong's Ocean Park for now.

Andrew Pritchard, a partner at Bayworld project managers BNM Architects in Park Drive, said the construction value of the new-look Bayworld was about R7-million.

He said BNM Architects were the original architects of the museum building in 1958. "We are passionate about Bayworld."

The revamp comprises a new penguin enclosure with two viewing panels to watch the penguins swim, a new seal pool with two viewing panels, six viewing panels in the snake park, a new aquarium gallery, and various infrastructure upgrades.

After tomorrow's programme, there will be daily penguin and seal shows at 11am and 3pm, and a snake interaction show at noon daily.

Bayworld's chief live animal curator, Robyn Greyling, said visitors could buy a R5 raffle ticket for a chance to win two nights at The Chapman Hotel in Humewood. Bayworld merchandise is also up for grabs.

Other exciting activities on the action-packed programme tomorrow include a shark dissection by collections manager Gill Watson at 10am in the amphitheatre.

"The shark would have been received dead by Bayworld and would have been used for research," Greyling said.

Penguin feedings can be viewed in the revamped penguin enclosure at 9am, noon and 4pm. A snake interaction programme at noon will allow visitors to touch the non-venomous snakes and have their photograph taken with them.

Two Highland piping members will play the bagpipes between noon and 1pm at the amphitheatre. A fencing demonstration will take place in the museum at 2pm. "Fencing is an old art – not too many people get to see this," Greyling said.

There will be seal presentations at 11am and 3.30pm in the new pool.

Visitors will also be able to view the work in progress at the dinosaur park, and there will be a jumping castle for children at the Oceanarium.

The new shop, Inyathi, is also open.

People can dress in Victorian costumes, on loan from No 7 Castle Hill Museum, and have pictures taken.

The charges tomorrow are R20 for adults and R15 for children. The prices will be higher from Monday.