A ZOO was buzzing with more than 1,600 visitors on Christmas Eve - the highest in 12 years.

The Welsh Mountain Zoo is celebrating its best visitor figures in more than a decade.

More than 1600 people came through the gates on Christmas Eve, marking at 40 per cent increase on the year previously.

Jennifer Jesse, director of operations and administration at the Welsh Mountain Zoo, said: “The Christmas period is busy time for us here at the zoo and we were really pleased to see so many visitors on Christmas Eve.

“We launched a brilliant festive campaign with lots of additional activities for visitors to enjoy including a visit from the cast of Colwyn Bay’s festive theatre production and for the second year, we held our already much loved Grotty Grotto.

North Wales Pioneer:

The number of visitors through the gates on Christmas Eve reached over 1600, marking a 40 per cent increase on the year previously

“These factors, combined with a continued interest in the Zoo, our animals and our initiatives, drives and attracts more and more people to spend a day here with us.

“We have welcomed visitors from within the immediate area as well as across the North West, Midlands, other parts of Wales and further afield.

“Of course with any attraction you cannot stand still and we continue to develop the site to add to our offering for visitors.”

Work is now underway on the Silk Road project.

The £1m project involves creating a completely new home for the zoo’s Snow Leopards. Wynne Construction is managing the construction process.

The Silk Road, which offers visitors a 'nose to nose' visual experience through glass, will forge links with China and the Himalayan mountains exploring the Chinese culture, language, environment and species that originate from there.

Wynn Construction lodged a planning application to Conwy County Borough Council in January for 'Proposed Erection of Snow Leopard Enclosure and Housing Facilities'.