Latest News & Offers

Posted on 27th November 2013

Opening Weekend Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th December 2013

Our opening weekend is fast approaching and we can't wait to meet you!  Doors open at 10am and we have some special opening weekend treats running both days - come along and join in the fun.

Posted on 15th November 2013

Bright future for Poole Park cafe, soft play zone and ice skating rink

The new owners of one of Poole’s most iconic cafés and children’s attraction have unveiled ambitious plans to transform them into a spectacular destination for the community.

Local couple, Richard and Sarah de Lisle, bought Central Park earlier this year and are embarking on a major refurbishment programme.

The pair are investing more than £1m into the project which will result in the creation of a new café and leisure complex at the heart of historic Poole Park.

The interior of the existing café will be re-designed to create a light and airy space which will reflect the surrounding landscape.  A new outdoor terrace, incorporating covered areas, will also be created. 

The couple, who have two young children, believe passionately in creating a warm and friendly environment for the local community and visitors of all ages to enjoy.

“Our aim is to transform the building and to put it back at the heart of the park. Poole Park is one of the town’s real gems and is a wonderful amenity - we want to give it the kind of café and play facilities that it deserves,” said Richard.

“The plan is to retain and significantly upgrade the existing ice rink, create an entirely new soft play area for children and to transform the café into a welcoming hub at the centre of the park.

“We want to build a much closer association between the existing buildings and their surroundings, to soften the hard edges and make them much more people-friendly,” he added.

The new design will also link closely to the park’s outdoor play area and provide plenty of space for buggy and cycle parking. 

While renovation work is carried out the café, ice skating rink and Gus Gorillas will close to the public from September 8th and re-open on December 14th 2013.

Posted on 15th November 2013

New Ark in the Park nears completion

Ambitious plans to transform Poole’s old Gus Gorilla’s and Central Park café into a stunning new family destination are nearing completion.

Local couple, Richard and Sarah de Lisle, acquired the old Poole Park site earlier this year and have, with the help of a team of local contractors, undertaken a major refurbishment programme.

The pair has invested more than £1.4m into the project to create a stunning new café and leisure complex at the heart of historic Poole Park – which is set to open on Saturday, December 14th.

The new café and attractions complex, which includes a three-storey bespoke soft play area, café, ice cream parlour and ice skating rink, will be called ‘The Ark’.

The Ark is now embarking on a recruitment drive for key senior management and general staff.

Owner Richard de Lisle said: “It’s incredibly exciting to see the project coming together and we have now reached a stage when we can start recruiting for staff.

“As parents of young children we know what works best for families and The Ark is our vision of the perfect day out! 

“The aim is for The Ark to be a family-friendly, welcoming destination where local people and visitors to the town can meet up, socialise and enjoy great food and drink in a relaxed atmosphere.

“The soft play area and ice rink means you will be able to spend anything from a couple of hours to the whole day here,” he added.

As well as its local recruitment drive, The Ark has also launched an online competition on their website for youngsters to name its new penguin cuddly character and win a pre-opening party on 12th December for themselves and 30 friends.

For the latest news and information about The Ark and to enter the penguin naming competition visit

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