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Posted on 14th February 2015

Love Is In The Air at The Ark!

In spite of years of vowing she would never re-marry, duty manager Hayley House made a shock proposal to her long-term partner Jerry (The Ark's maintenance manger) when she emerged from a large wrapped gift box earlier today.

The couple, always come in for breakfast while one of their children has ice skating lessons and Hayley decided it would be the perfect opportunity to pop the question.

Tux, The Ark’s mascot penguin wheeled Hayley out in a wrapped box, then, with the assistance of his handler, Tux unrolled a banner saying “Jerry, will you marry me….?” and Hayley emerged!  Thankfully, the reply was a resounding “Yes,” from Jerry.  

The couple, who have been together 13 years, have five children, and Hayley said she decided to change her view of getting married when she overheard their two youngest children, Joshua and Evie saying ‘So, you're not our real Mum and Dad then’.

“I have been quite vocal in the past about never getting married again and in turn Jerry has also adopted this approach. He has never been married before,” said Hayley.

“The reason for doing this now? I want to make my family complete and when better to propose than Valentine’s Day?” she added.

Congratulations Hayley and Jerry – we're looking forward to The Ark’s first wedding!


Posted on 14th February 2015

The Ark Valentine’s Day Surprise

Posted on 27th November 2014

The Ark, Poole Park Charity Christmas Grotto Reviews

Review 1, Sam Palmer: All the children had a fantastic time, your new grotto is really cool & all the elves were great with the children & Santa made each child feel special, was such a wonderful night, topped off with a yummy festive tea which everyone also enjoyed, But then the chocolate yule log came out & then it turned the childen loopy! ha 

I will definatley be recommending your grotto to everyone x

Ps All the penguins are very much loved & enjoying their new homes 


Review 2:

Posted on 27th November 2014

The Ark Christmas Grotto Is Now Open!

The Ark have created a one-off event and transformed Poole Park’s cricket pavilion into a magical winter log cabin, home to Father Christmas and his elves from 27th November to 24th December 2014. Funded by The Ark, the grotto is operating as a not-for-profit initiative, with all profits benefiting Fernheath Play, a local charity which provides specialist free play and short play breaks to fully able and disabled children.

Billed as an enchanting, quality, Christmas grotto experience, The Ark is aiming to put the magic back into Christmas for local youngsters. Children visiting the grotto will meet Father Christmas and his elves, receive a special Penguin soft toy and enjoy a supervised craft activity such as creating magical reindeer food.  

The Ark Christmas grotto: tickets cost £12 per child. Pre-booking is recommended.

For further information, visit

The Ark Grotto:


Posted on 27th November 2014

Father Christmas Visits Local Play Centre

Father Christmas made a special surprise visit to youngsters at the Fernheath Play Centre in Verney Road, Bournemouth on Tuesday, November 25th.

Santa was accompanied by Tux, the giant cuddly mascot penguin from The Ark in Poole Park, and handed out soft toys to the children. Fernheath Play provides specialist free play and short breaks for all children; regardless of their background or abilities.

Paddy Williamson from Fernheath Play said "We are thrilled to have been selected as The Ark’s chosen charity to benefit from their Christmas grotto this year. The children and staff at Fernheath Play were delighted to receive a special visit from Father Christmas ahead of the grand opening of the grotto this week. Together with the friendly Ark team and their resident penguin Tux, the children were treated to a magical afternoon of festive fun. We are so grateful for the support of individuals and local businesses like The Ark who allow us to continue offering invaluable support to able and disabled children across Dorset."  

After the event both Santa and Tux returned to Poole Park to greet the first visitors at the grand unveiling of their new Grotto.

Co-created by Eskimo Jo, who have developed Christmas events, for Selfridges and Westfield shopping centres, and Dorset-based entertainment agency Funnybone, the Grotto has transformed the park’s cricket pavilion in to a magical winter log cabin.

As part of the experience youngsters get to meet Father Christmas and his elves, receive a special plush penguin soft toy and enjoy a supervised festive-themed craft activity like creating magical reindeer food.

Funded by The Ark, the Grotto is a one-off event and operating as a not-for-profit initiative, with all proceeds going towards the Fernheath Play charity.

The Ark Christmas Grotto: tickets cost £12 per child. Pre-booking is advisable. 

For further information, visit The Ark, Poole Park, BH15 2SF.


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