Bolton Council has confirmed a number of changes at Animal World and the model railway, aimed at attracting more visitors to Moss Bank Park over the summer.
Following a public consultation, the council has agreed to keep Animal World open and will be introducing a trial charging scheme of 50p per person (both adults and children over two years old) from April 2 to the end of September.
Visitors are asked to pay 50p at the booth for the fairground and will then be given a wristband to access the facility.
All the most popular animals will still be at Animal World, including: guinea pigs; rabbits; giant rabbits; chipmunks; all ducks and geese; hens; budgies and canaries; alpacas; and pygmy goats.
As an added attraction, the council will also be purchasing a new engine for the model railway, allowing the railway to run more frequently throughout the summer.
The engine will be purchased by the sale of a non-operational steam engine which the council already owns and with money specifically set aside for the improvement of the railway.
The cost of riding the railway will rise from 25p to 50p, which should also be paid at the fairground booth. The fare has not increased since 1986, but the increase will allow the council and the Moss Bank Model Railway Society to operate the train more frequently over the summer.
The council is also looking for businesses or social enterprises to operate a new cafe in the park and hopes to have a new cafe open by 2012, which would also be a popular addition to the park.
Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Cleaner, Greener, Safer, Councillor Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, said: “Although the council does have to make massive savings, we are determined to improve our parks and wherever possible attract more people to visit and enjoy them.
“The consultation we carried out showed that residents would be happy to pay a fee to visit Animal World rather than lose the facility altogether, so we have introduced this small fee.
“We appreciate that this trial may make it more difficult for some people to visit the facility, but we have kept the fee as low as possible and will be keeping as many animals as possible, so we hope that it remains a very popular attraction.
“Likewise, we think it is important to operate the train regularly in the park to attract new and returning visitors and we hope that the new engine will attract more people to the park alongside the fairground, Animal World and our extensive play area."