Snowdon Aviary

Snowdon Aviary, ZSL London Zoo

Please note, the Snowdon Aviary will be closed from Monday 10 September 2018. 

Snowdon Aviary has been a landmark on the London skyline since it was built in 1962. Designed by and named after Lord Snowdon, it was the first walk-through aviary in existence - pushing the architectural boundaries of its time. 

Snowdon AviaryThe aviary looks almost weightless - like a bird. Its frame was pioneering in that it made use of aluminium, and in that it was an example of a kind of engineering that uses tension to support its structure.

A giant net 'skin' is wrapped around a skeleton of poles - paired diagonal 'sheer legs' at either end, each lined to a three-sided pyramid or 'tetrahedron' - which is held in position only by cables.

Find out more about the famous architecture at ZSL London Zoo

Sacred ibis in the Snowdon Aviary at ZSL London Zoo

Snowdon Aviary is home to some of the most majestic birds in the world, including white ibis and peacocks.

Cattle egret

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EDGE Birds

Half of the 100 highest ranked EDGE (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) bird species are receiving little or no conservation attention.

Visit the EDGE Birds Top 100 website to find out how you can help

The Snowdon Aviary at ZSL London Zoo is a landmark of historic, cultural and architectural significance.

Conceived by Lord Snowdon and realised by Cedric Price and the engineer Frank Newby, the Aviary was built between 1962 and 1964 and was Grade II* listed in 1998.

The Zoological Society of London has been granted funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to refurbish and re-purpose the Aviary and now needs to raise a further £716k so that the restoration work can begin. 

We plan to carry out essential repairs to its iconic structure, enhance its use as a modern exhibit and maximise opportunities for public enjoyment and learning.  

What we will do

Snowdon Aviary

We will repair the aviary and transform it into a walkthrough primate exhibit, making use of the height and space of the aviary with remarkable effect. 

The space and complexity of the exhibit will provide a wonderful environment to support a large troop of black and white colobus monkeys, and other species such as parrots and forest antelope, which will create an incredibly exciting experience for visitors.

We will use the refurbishment as the opportunity to create a range of new activities, co-designed with target visitor groups to ensure many more people can enjoy, learn and care about the natural heritage of our planet. 

This will be the catalyst to put ZSL London Zoo at the heart of the community by offering many more free and accessible activities for everyone to enjoy.  

  • Education: We will expand our education offer, especially for secondary-aged students, introduce many more online materials, and offer Skype sessions with our Discovery & Learning team, conservation and scientific staff and keepers.  
  • Volunteering: We will expand our volunteers programme and work with partners to support community volunteering, aiming to attract a diverse range of people.
  • Apprenticeships: As part of this project, we will start an apprenticeship programme for local young people.
  • Work Experience: We will work with City & Islington College to offer work experience opportunities, using the Aviary as a locus for learning new employment skills.  
  • Improved Access: We will continue to work with community groups to reach out to groups who are currently under-represented at ZSL London Zoo, by introducing a Community Access Scheme and a range of activities designed to improve our offer to a wider range of audiences. 
  • Interpretation and digital platform: We will greatly expand our digital offer so that people throughout the UK who are unable to visit the Zoo will be able to access our online resources to learn about our natural and architectural heritage.

The total cost of the project will be £7.8 million, of which HLF has granted £4.9 million. We have had some very generous support to date, and are now seeking £716k match funding to enable ZSL to realise the project and run all our activities for five years. 

If you can help with a donation, sponsorship or grant, or know others who could, please contact Judi Gasser on 0207 449 6239 or email judith.gasser@zsl.org or alternatively you can make a donation online. 

If you are interested in sponsorship, please contact Sandra Crewe on 0207 449 6341 or email sandra.crewe@zsl.org.

Become part of an iconic landmark