Bristol Zoo is to build a wildlife park featuring a swamp and a live coral reef on the outskirts of the city.
Endangered species will feature at the new facility
The National Wildlife Conservation Park will recreate threatened ecosystems and feature endangered animals.
Bristol Zoo says the project will be a revolutionary way of interacting with the animals.
The £50m conservation project is expected to draw in crowds of more than 600,000 a year when it opens in 2011.
The animals will be grouped together in specially-created ecosystems, including a central American swamp and a South East Asian tropical zone, housed in futuristic dome-shaped enclosures.
Initial planning permission has been granted for the 132-acre site on the Hollywood Estate, close to the M5 motorway, which will feature an aquarium housing a live coral reef with fish and aquatic creatures from the Indian Ocean.
Dr Jo Gipps, director of Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: "We are the way forward - this will look and feel different to other exhibits.
"This is a new generation of zoological parks, a place where environmentalists and conservationists can meet and share best practice and where visitors can believe they are in the actual ecosystem."
A spokesperson for the zoo said there were no plans to relocate to the new facility and close the Clifton site.
The first £1.5m for the development has been supplied by the South West Regional Development Agency with the remainder to come from fundraising projects.