Base Camp – the world’s first prehistoric nature reserve – will be located in the north west corner of the Resort. The land appears to be an evolution of the area previously indicated for this location, The Isles, which was set to feature “giant creatures, mythical beasts and adventures at the crossroads of imaginations, where jaw dropping architecture will combine with magnificent rides and 21st century technology”. Plans for Base Camp include two rollercoasters, a large multi-media live stage show experience, an advanced simulator attraction, immersive fine dining and an ‘active dig site’ where younger palaeontologists can discover dinosaurs as they climb, dig and tunnel their way across an excavation site.
Speaking of the announcement, PY Gerbeau, CEO of London Resort Company Holdings said:
“Base Camp’s design is based on a philosophy of what an actual, modern day, prehistorical nature reserve might look like. There will be thrills, spills and high energy rides combined with opportunities to get up close and personal with some of the most amazing creatures ever to walk the earth. However, unlike popular films that depict dinosaurs as villains, things don’t always go terribly wrong here. We are building a land of preservation and celebration of dinosaurs.
“Our vision is for The London Resort to be a beacon of world-class entertainment experiences set within a world-leading sustainable environment. We are building a unique, global destination and the storytelling, thrilling adventures, and environmental messaging found inside Base Camp help to reinforce that effort.”
The first of two rollercoasters planned for the land will celebrate the reign of Quetzalcoatlus, one of the largest known, winged reptiles of all time. Set over 1km of track, it aims to be one of the fastest coasters in Europe, reaching speeds in excess of 70mph, replicating the hunting speed of Quetzalcoatlus. Rather than feature towering heights and big drops, this multi-launch coaster will recreate what scientists believe was a typical flight path of this creature which would swoop low and fast to snare prey in its long, tweezer like beak, with the layout staying low to the ground, zipping across treetops, skimming water and bursting through rocky canyons. The aerial concept images released suggest that this could be a Next Generation Vekoma Flying Coaster, the same model as F.L.Y. which opened at Phantasialand in 2020. The second coaster inside Base Camp will offer a family orientated experience. Weaving beneath the flight path of Quetzalcoatlus, this ride will allow for adventurers of all ages and sizes to experience a rollercoaster with just the right level of thrill.
Elsewhere, an indoor 1,500 seat arena will be located in the far corner of the reserve and be framed by a massive biodome, where breath-taking shows will be set within a dense tropical forest. A motion-based 4D ride will provide guests with an up-close look at Ichthyosaurs, Mosasaurs and other terrifying hunters of the ocean, as they undertake an expedition into the darkness of prehistoric waters, which may raise the question of whether they are observers or prey. An interactive dark ride will use sophisticated gaming technology to enlist the help of guests to track and tag a variety of dinosaurs and ancient reptiles in the wild, pitting humans against beasts in a quest for better understanding and scientific research.
Alongside the fun and adrenaline, the land is also set to deliver educational opportunities. An enormous play area will be created for young palaeontologists to explore, excavate exciting fossil finds and develop STEM skills. Zip lines, climbing walls and multiple archaeological tunnels will welcome the most enthusiastic of kids, while underwater viewing platforms will let families peer into prehistoric lagoons.
One of two food and beverage offerings within Base Camp will be a fun and eclectic family restaurant situated along the edge of a Cretaceous watering hole. It is here that the life and legacy of Mary Anning, a world-renowned British fossil collector and palaeontologist, will be celebrated. She found and identified hundreds of fossils in her lifetime including being the first in the world to identify the Ichthyosaur. Only properly recognised in recent years by organisations such as the Natural History Museum and the Royal Society, here her life, legacy, and lasting impact on the world of palaeontology will be fully celebrated.
Situated at the edge of an underwater cliff, a luxury dining venue will combine first-rate cuisine, fine wines, with a spectacular view. Floor-to-ceiling windows will wrap the dining room, offering guests a front-row seat to the flora and fauna of the prehistoric oceans just beyond the glass. Throughout the meal, schools of ancient fish may swim past the windows, darting from predators as they emerge from the inky blackness beyond. At regular intervals, something with a bit more bite may come into view. Ichthyosaurs loves to feed at this depth, and diners will have an unobstructed view as fish, otherwise assumed to be the hunters, become the hunted beneath the ocean’s surface.
Along with releasing the new imagery of Base Camp, The London Resort also announced that they are going to take additional time to review and ensure the Resort’s ‘gold standard’ case for sustainability, following Natural England’s recent designation of the site as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). PY Gerbau said:
“Working with the Planning Inspectorate, we have requested further time to prepare for the formal enquiry later this summer. It is absolutely fundamental for us to be leaders in sustainability. We’ve already committed to spending around £150m on remediation, habitat enhancement and providing around 8 miles of footpaths and public rights of way. But since Natural England designated the area a SSSI earlier this year – it is right and proper that we take a short extension to revise our reports and ensure they address the issues raised.
“We are on track to create a beacon of world class entertainment and experiences within a world leading sustainable environment. And we’re very excited to announce details of our progress with a new land, Base Camp.”