WITH just weeks to go before the start of the festive season, Nelson Mandela Bay's Bayworld is racing against time to refurbish the once popular tourist attraction.
The multimillion-rand facelift includes an upgrade of facilities with the aim of creating a Jurassic Park-type experience.
Bayworld acting manager Stone Bell said yesterday while the R10-million they received from the Department of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture earlier this year was a step in the right direction to restore Bayworld's image, it was not enough.
"It is exciting that Bayworld is finally getting funds to upgrade its exhibits, although the money is just a drop in the ocean when compared to what is required to return our dolphins and continue with the dolphin programme," Bell said.
"We are faced with a mammoth task of refurbishment. All construction work must be completed before the end of the next financial year in March. Access via the bridge gate next to the Formula 1 will not be available and the public are to enter via the main entrance."
On Wednesday morning, a contractor was on site near Marine Drive where renovation work is scheduled to start shortly.
Most of the work will be done in the oceanarium, snake park and dinosaur exhibit. Despite the huge task ahead of them, staff said they were motivated and looking forward to showing newly improved exhibits which would be ready by Easter.
The upgrade will include not only a larger penguin enclosure but also underwater viewing windows to observe these endangered birds in their natural habitat.
But the highlight will be a jungle-like environment with twirling vines and dappled shadows, adding a new dimension to the dinosaur exhibit.
Officials are aiming for a The Lost World: Jurassic Park meets Skull Island type atmosphere.