South East Wales

Colwyn Bay ex-tourist site becomes learning unit

Indoor Outdoor Centre
Image caption Children will learn about the outdoor world at the new centre

The site of one of Colwyn Bay's most popular former tourist attractions is to have a new lease of life as an educational centre.

Dinosaur World housed one of the world's largest collections of prehistoric models with more than 50 life-sized dinosaur replicas.

But after its closure in 2003, the site was beset by vandals and arsonists.

Now a £150,000 rejig into an outdoor centre for schools, pre-schools and parent groups is nearing completion.

Plans for the refurbishment were announced by Conwy council in 2009.

Renamed the Indoor Outdoor Centre (Canolfan Tu Fewn Tu Allan), work has by now been completed on refurbishing the on-site buildings and attention has been turned to the grounds.

The project has been undertaken with assembly government funding and should be open by the beginning of the summer school term.

Annette Evans, from the council's education services, said: "The centre will have an educational focus for children, staff and families to explore the natural environment through hands-on experiences.

"The building will be a training base for both pre-school and school staff within Conwy, whilst the outdoor area will give children the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate nature on their doorstep.

"Hence the name, the Indoor Outdoor Centre."

Ms Evans said the grounds would be designed to attract wildlife using the existing plants and trees and different sections would be created to encourage the children to experience adventures outdoors.

"One area will be a sensory garden, with interesting plants to smell and touch," Ms Evans explained.

"Another part will be a field of wild flowers and grasses for the children to make paths through. We're also going to build a style for them to climb over, which is perhaps something some may not have done before."

'Amphitheatre'

A further section of the grounds will be given over to an old boat surrounded by sand and water to create the feeling of being beside the seaside.

"Nearby, children can play in a small cave, build a den or sit on a grassy bank-come amphitheatre," she said.

Parents and children from Flying Start, an initiative for families from Mochdre and part of Old Colwyn Bay who are in need of support, will be among the first to visit the centre, said Ms Evans.

"Flying Start also provides intensive assistance from health visitors as well as speech and play projects."

The area will remain open for public access, except during teaching sessions when the gates will be locked.

Dog waste bins will be at two locations to help keep the site safe and clean and CCTV monitoring will also be in place.

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