Multi-million pound attraction Seaton Jurassic has scooped a major architecture award for the best leisure and hospitality project of the year.
The flagship centre, designed by Plymouth firm Form Design, cost £4 million to build and has smashed visitor expectations in the year since it was opened.
It stands at the heart of the world-renowned Jurassic Coast and was praised by judges of the prestigious Michelmores Property Awards.
It is owned by the council and operated by Devon Wildlife trust, with East Devon District Council putting more than £2 million into the project.
Graham Lobb, architect and designer of the centre, said:
“It’s really rewarding to see the success of the project after such a long gestation period. People believed in it right from the start – the local community believed in it and it’s exceeding everyone’s expectations now.
“Devon Wildlife Trust were very brave in doing it and operating it and it is a unique offer for Natural Seaton and the Jurassic World Heritage Site. It has taken a long time, a lot of people believed in it, wouldn’t let it drop and now it’s there it is really doing its job. It is a great reward for us seeing it being so successful.”
The attraction has seen thousands of visitors taken on an unique interactive journey back into time, travelling 250 million years into the past when life on the Jurassic Coast was very different.
Included in the experience are holograms, a trip on a time-travelling ship, a ghost, interactive games, books, treasures and puzzles plus a chance to investigate a local rockpool, dress up as underwater sea creatures and witness the evolution of life on earth.
Seaton Jurassic also received substantial funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It has already won a clutch of honours gaining second place in the ‘Best UK Day-out for Families’ category at the annual Family Traveller Awards and a silver award for ‘Sustainable Tourism’ in the prestigious Visit Devon Tourism Awards.