Blackpool Zoo logo
|Location||Blackpool, Lancashire, England|
|Land area||32 acres (13 ha)|
|Number of animals||1500|
Blackpool Zoo is a 32-acre (13 ha) zoo, owned by Parques Reunidos and located in the sea-side resort of Blackpool, Lancashire, England. It provides a home to over 1,500 animals from all over the world. The zoo has recently changed ownership twice – once in 2003, and again in 2007, resulting in continued investment each year.
- 1 History
- 2 Animals and Exhibits
- 3 Miniature Railway
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Opened in 1972, in recent years the Zoo has been the subject of demonstrations by local animal rights campaigners, who allege that the conditions in which some of the animals are kept do not reflect their natural habitat and therefore are not conducive to the animals' welfare. These groups stage peaceful pickets and distribute leaflets, usually on bank-holiday weekends. The Zoo prepares for these events by producing targeted, anti-protestor literature that is distributed upon their arrival.
2005 saw the opening of the 'Dinosaur Safari', a walkthrough exhibition featuring models of 32 life-size dinosaurs around a trail. The exhibition has had a lukewarm reception as the models of the dinosaurs are deemed by many to be unrealistic and the extra cost of the trail catches many guests unaware. The Dinosaur Safari was included in the normal entrance fee starting in mid-2007. "Amazonia" opened in 2006. This is a walk-through enclosure of South American animals and birds including 5 species of monkeys. Giraffes were re-introduced to the zoo in 2008, after an absence of 14 years, and over £0.5m was invested in the new giraffe house and pens.
In summer 2009, penguins were to be added to the list of animals at the zoo, with the arrival of 20 African penguins from two Spanish conservation centres. A£1m sealion pool was opened in May 2010 along with the addition of a male sealion from Spain. 2011 saw the opening of a new Children's Farm and the expansion and refurbishment of the main restaurant.
Animals and Exhibits
Elephant and Reptile House
Blackpool Zoo has kept Asian elephants since the late 1970s, the first of which being two young females named Kate and Crumple, who originally came from Sri Lanka. Initially, the elephants shared their enclosure with giraffes and rhinoceros, but these species were removed to make room for two more elephants, Marcella and Indra, who were rescued from a bankrupt European circus. Kate, Marcella and Indra still live at the zoo. The indoor area of the Elephant House contains the majority of the zoo's reptile, amphibian, invertebrate and fish collections. These include Yacare caimans, poison dart frogs, green anacondas, Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes and red-bellied piranhas, among several others.
Opened in 2000, Gorilla Mountain is home to five Western lowland gorillas: a silverback male named Bukavu, and four females named Miliki, Kena, Njema and Meisie. Meisie is the daughter of Bukavu and Miliki, and was born in 2010.
The zoo's sea lion pool, which houses California sea lions, was first built in the 1970s and is the largest sea lion pool in a British zoo. It has a 250-seat arena that allows visitors to watch the sea lions interact with their trainers, who use positive reinforcement training. The penguin enclosure, which is next to the Sea Lion Pool, opened in 2009 and houses Magellanic Penguins. Blackpool Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to keep this species.
Opened in 2008, Giraffe Heights is home to four female Giraffes, named Ciara, Quiver, Sonia & O'grady. During the Summer months, three blesbok antelopes share the outdoor grass paddock with the giraffes. The enclosure includes a walkway where visitors can book encounters to hand-feed the giraffes.
The zoo's big cat collection comprises a pride of African lions (a male named Wallace and two females named Rachel and Gillan), and two Siberian tigers (a male named Zambar and a female named Alyona).
Wolf Ridge was opened in 2012 and built on land which was previously unused. It houses three Iberian wolves: a male named Diago and two females named Reina and Diamante (Diago's daughters).
Opened in May 2011, this area is aimed primarily at children and offers hands-on experiences with several domesticated animals, including donkeys, pigs, geese, rabbits, cows, llamas, chickens, ferrets, guinea pigs, pygmy goats, reindeer and Ouessant sheep.
Other species in Blackpool Zoo's collection include red pandas, meerkats, Bactrian camels, Oriental small-clawed otters, South American tapirs, aardvarks, mountain zebras, red river hogs, cottontop tamarins, Bornean orangutans, great grey owls, barn owls, Von der Decken's hornbill, rainbow lorikeets, ostriches, Eastern white pelicans, Egyptian tortoises, Nile monitors, royal pythons, White's tree frogs and giant African land snails, among several others.[disambiguation needed]
Dinosaur Safari is a walk-through area opened in 2005. It displays over thirty life-size, fiberglass statues of extinct animals, including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, Tanystropheus, Dimetrodon, Spinosaurus, Smilodon and the Woolly Mammoth, among others.
In 1972, at the time of opening the zoo, the zoo authorities entered into an arrangement with the British railway engineering firm Severn Lamb for the supply of a miniature railway installation. The Blackpool Zoo Miniature Railway has operated continuously since that time. The railway is constructed to the so-called minimum gauge, with tracks of 15 in (381 mm) gauge. This represents a size more commonly used for more extensive light railway systems, rather than so-called 'miniature' railways, although in the case of the Blackpool Zoo line the entire extent of the railway is only a little over 700 yards. Severn Lamb originally supplied two locomotives (diesel powered, but with steam-outline bodywork) designed to be of American external appearance, and four 'toastrack' type passenger carriages. However, half of this rolling stock has since been disposed of, leaving just two carriages and one locomotive operating the public service. The railway is open on zoo opening days, and an additional charge (on top of zoo admission) is payable by passengers.
- "Blackpool Zoo – History". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- "Giraffes return to Blackpool Zoo". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- "Zoo sees return of the penguins". BBC News. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- "Mayor opens sealion pool". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- "Blackpool Zoo's sealions enjoy new home". BBC News. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- "Investment for 2011 at Blackpool Zoo". Retrieved 29 December 2011.
- See details of locomotives and a photograph, here.