Double Olympic gold star Rebecca Adlington to make splash at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Rebecca Adlington.

Rebecca Adlington.

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Double Olympic gold medal swimming star Rebecca Adlington will dive into Doncaster next week.

The star, who won two golds at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, will drop in at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park to open the attraction's new Giant Otter reserve.

She will be unveiling the new home for two endangered female Giant Otters at 10.30am next Tuesday.

The species has been devastated by poaching for their velvety pelt and habitat degradation in their native South America, which has reduced numbers to fewer than 5,000.

Mora, 2, and Alexandra, 3, who both came from a zoo in Germany, have run of a sprawling 2835 sq m reserve with a vast 2.5m deep lake.

Giant otters can swim 100m in less than thirty seconds while Rebecca’s freestyle personal best for 200m was 1 minute 56 seconds in 2008.

The reserve has been designed to resemble their natural wild river bank/wetlands habitat with sand and gravel banks around the water’s edge and raised areas so they can dry off and also dig their own dens in dry ground.

Their house is 78m2 with two metre deep pools heated to 18 degrees.

Rebecca’s appearance signals the start of a bumper Easter holiday period of fun at the park near Doncaster.

It will be new Polar Bear Nobby’s first Easter in his new home and seeing him with the other three bears Victor, Pixel and Nissan at Project Polar will be high on Easter visitors’ wish lists. Nobby has already formed a close friendship with fellow two-year-old Nissan and visitors are mesmerised by watching them play, swim and dive in the vast reserves.

“We are delighted to welcome Rebecca to the park to open our new otter reserve and announce a new initiative to help Giants Otters in the wild through the Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation ,” said YWPF Director Cheryl Williams. “We have put a lot of work into creating a safe and stimulating home for these beautiful animals who are sadly under threat and hope to inspire our visitors to help us help them. “

There is more Easter holiday fun at Yorkshire Wildlife Park with a new special event from April 1st – 3rd . Celebrating Alice in Willderland, inspired by Lewis Carrolls’ Alice in Wonderland, the fun includes a Mad Hatter Tea party – with three magical days of live shows, craft activities, games and more.

An exclusive ‘Eat Me’ Afternoon Tea on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April , attended by Alice and the Mad Hatter, will feature an all-you-can-eat buffet, goodie bags for kids to take-away, plus a 30-minute live show! Limited places are available so book quickly, the tickets include all day entry.

Meanwhile, Through the Looking Glass characters will be roaming the park.

The park’s Mad March Hare has a twist on his YWP adventure – a plan to travel out of Wonderland on a space rocket – while the Queen of Hearts and her madcap entourage will play a croquet with chaos.

Other entertainment includes a chance to disappear down the ‘rabbit hole’ with a ride on a 40ft high traditional helter Skelter and the opportunity to spin around on a tea cup ride.

The attractions also include Mr Alexander’s traveling Victorian variety show, featuring magic, illusion, juggling and unicycling, a professional storyteller with tales from Wonderland and a Humpty Dumpty Easter egg trail with a fantastic prize draw.

Visitors can also create artwork in Alice’s Art Workshop, have their faces transformed by a professional face painter. Children are encouraged to come dressed up as a mad march hare, white rabbit or playing-card soldier.

“It is a wonderland Easter theme that will provide a memorable day out,” said YWP CEO John Minion. “You can have lots of fun and see some of the most beautiful and endangered animals on the planet.”

A special prize of a £100 voucher to spend at YWP will be awarded each day to the best-dressed children or families in Wonderland fancy dress.

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