Thousands of visitors, tourists and residents are taking part in Chester’s popular Rhino Mania trail every week. JIMI WATKINSON reports.
THERE are 62 rhinos installed in and around Chester as part of the popular Rhino Mania trail.
Ever since the public art project was launched in July visitors have come from all over the world to see the imaginative designs.
Rhino Mania is an initiative launched by Chester Renaissance in association with Wild in Art supported by Bank of America, BiG Storage and Cheshire West and Chester Council.
I thought I would join in the Chester Rhino Trail to see the fibreglass replicas for myself and to canvass people’s opinions.
Grabbing a camera and a map, I began my trail at Chester railway station where I met Silvia from Manchester.
Silvia has visited Chester for the first time and thought the rhino trail was ‘brilliant’ – particularly ‘Elvis’.
She said: “I have never been to Chester and they helped me find new places. I will be coming again mainly due to the rhinos”.
Chester resident Gez thought the students and artists have done a fantastic job which helps to bring in tourists.
She said: “It helps sightseeing around Chester.”
On the trail I bumped into Cheshire residents who were taking their children on a day out.
Joseph Endacott, eight, and his sister Jasmine, four, near the Regal Rhino, Eastgate Street, thought they were ‘fantastic’ and had seen 60 rhinos.
Kelly Biggins, who I spoke to next to ‘Romeo the Rhino’ on Frodsham Square, said: “They are cute for the kids and good for the summer holidays.”
Visitors had travelled further afield to see the rhino trail. I spoke to Mary and Rebecca Simmonds who came from Guilford, Surrey, by ‘Linda’ on St Werburgh Street.
They both thought the rhinos were a ‘good idea’.
Mary said: “It gets the children involved and interested”.
I spoke to Chester artist David Heke who was admiring the ‘Banana-Rhino Split’ by The Guildhall, Watergate Street.
He explained that he was originally cynical about the rhinos, but now they are in place he thinks they are excellent.
He said: “It engages well with the public and it is great to see how they interact with them. It has definitely created an enhanced visitor experience to Chester.”
The Katton family were visiting Grosvenor Park and it was good fun seeing how fascinated the children were with the rhinos, especially the Black and White ‘Extinct’ Rhino.
Mum Victoria Katton said: “They make Chester even more magical and add an element of intrigue.”
Kate, from Essex, and her son James, three, have seen the elephants in London and find Chester’s rhinos much nicer. Kate said: “James was buzzing about the rhinos telling me how much he liked them.”
Each of the rhinos has its own, unique character and individual design, though a couple of rhinos were ‘poorly’ and had to see the ‘vet’, people still flocked to see them and make a fun day out of touring Chester and seeing new areas they may not have thought about.
Robert, Rachel and their children stood near Rhino Mosaica by The Cross and chatted to me as the rain was beating down and praised the rhinos with high spirits, telling me they brought ‘character and life to Chester’.
Robert said: “It connects the zoo and Chester perfectly and it is a great form of accessible art.”