Blackpool Zoo

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Blackpool Zoo
Blackpool zoo logo.png
Blackpool Zoo logo
Date opened 1972
Location Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Coordinates 53°48′56″N 3°0′46″W / 53.81556°N 3.01278°W / 53.81556; -3.01278Coordinates: 53°48′56″N 3°0′46″W / 53.81556°N 3.01278°W / 53.81556; -3.01278
Land area 32 acres (13 ha)
No. of animals 1500
Pelican outside the lemur walkthrough

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]


The zoo opened in 1972 on a site which had previously been the Stanley Park Aerodrome.

2005 saw the opening of the 'Dinosaur Safari', a walkthrough exhibition featuring models of 32 life-size dinosaurs around a trail.[1] "Amazonia" opened in 2006. This is a walk-through enclosure of South American animals and birds including squirrel monkeys.[1]

Giraffes were re-introduced to the zoo in 2008, after an absence of fourteen years, and over £0.5m was invested in the new giraffe house and pens.[2]

In summer 2009, penguins were to be added to the list of animals at the zoo, with the arrival of twenty Magellanic penguins from two Spanish conservation centres.[3] A £1m sealion pool was opened in May 2010 along with the addition of a male sealion from Spain.[4][5] 2011 saw the opening of a new Children's Farm and the expansion and refurbishment of the main restaurant.[6]

Animals and exhibits

Orangutan Outlook

Reopened in 2014, following a £1 million transformation, Orangutan Outlook is home to five Bornean orangutans - a male named Ramon and four females; Vicky, Cherie (Vicky's daughter), Summer (Vicky's daughter) and Jingga (arrived in 2017 from Barcelona Zoo). The upper viewing area is also home to a tank with Chinese water dragons and a Philippine sailfin lizard.

Project Elephant

Project Elephant is the single biggest development investment in the zoo's history and was built on previously undeveloped land. The multi-million pound investment includes an outdoor grass paddock, sand paddock, pool and the largest indoor elephant house in the UK.

In 2017, the zoo's female elephant, Kate, moved into her new home. Currently the house remains closed to the public while Kate settles in, but is expected to open in Spring 2018. It has recently been announced the Kate will be joined by four new female elephants, arriving from Twycross Zoo in early 2018.

Old Elephant and Reptile House

Since the opening of Project Elephant, the old Elephant and Reptile house has remained home to the majority of the zoo's reptile, amphibian, invertebrate and fish collections. Species here include: Rhinoceros Iguanas, Reticulated Pythons, Nile Monitors, Red-Footed Tortoises, Leopard Tortoises, West African Mud Turtles, Prehensile-Tailed Skinks, Sahara Mastigures, Jamaican Boas, California Kingsnakes, Boa Constrictors, Bell's Anglehead Tortoises, Home's Hingeback Tortoises, Standing's Day Geckos, Axolotls, Iberian Sharp-Ribbed Newts, African Clawed Frogs, Oriental Fire-Bellied Toads, Red-Bellied Piranhas, Butterfly Goodieds, Goldfish, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Deathshead Cockroaches, Giant African Land Snails, House Spiders, Orb Weavers and Superb Starlings. Yacare Caimans are held in the foyer. The elephant area of the house is currently home to a group of Llamas. No plans have been announced over the future of this area.

Gorilla Mountain

Opened in 2000, Gorilla Mountain is home to six western lowland gorillas: a silverback male named Bukavu, three females named Miliki, Njema and Meisie (the daughter of Bukavu and Miliki, who was born in 2010), Moanda (who is the son of Bukavu and Njema and was born in 2012) and Makari (who is the son of Bukavu and Miliki and was born in September 2017).

Lemur Wood

Opened in 1999, Lemur Wood was Blackpool Zoo's first walk-through enclosure, and houses troops of ring-tailed lemurs, red-fronted lemurs and red ruffed lemurs.

Active Oceans

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.

Giraffe Heights

Opened in 2008, Giraffe Heights is home to four female giraffes, named O'Grady, Evie, Olympia and Tiye. During the summer months, two 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.

Big Cats

The zoo's big cat collection consists of an all male pride of African lions (comprising Wallace and his cub, Khari, who was born in May 2015), and two Amur Tigers (a male named Zambar and a female named Alyona.


Amazonia is a walk-through enclosure opened in 2006. It houses several South American animals, including common squirrel monkeys and a variety of birds such as blue-throated conures, blue-crowned parakeets, black curassows, black-necked swans, blue-throated piping guons, ringed teals, fulvous whistling ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks, comb ducks, cinnamon teals and various other waterfowls.

Wolf Ridge

Wolf Ridge was opened in 2012 and built on land which was previously unused. It houses three Iberian wolves.

Wallaby Walkabout

Opened in 2010, this enclosure displays red-necked wallabies and both western grey and red kangaroos.

Small Primate House

One of the oldest functioning animal houses in the zoo, the small primate house is the centre of the zoo's primate collection and includes: De Brazza's Monkeys, Pileated Gibbons, L-Hoest's Monkeys, King Colobus, Ring-Tailed Lemurs, Red Titis, Emperor Tamarins and Grey Mouse Lemurs. Prevost's Squirrels are by the entrance and inside is a herp exhibit for Graham's Anoles and White's Tree Frogs.

Waders and Waddlers

This is the zoo's wetland bird aviary built on the site of the old Children's Farm's waterfowl lake. The aviary is home to a variety of birds including: Grey Crowned Cranes, Demoiselle Cranes, Sacred Ibis, Scarlet Ibis, Black-Crowned Night Herons, Inca Terns, African Spoonbills, Northern Bald Ibises and Common Eiders.

Flamingo Lake

The zoo has a long lake that is divided into two. One section is for Great White Pelicans; and the other side is for American Flamingos and several waterfowl species including: Red-Breasted Geese, Ruddy Shelducks, Ross's Geese, Greylag Geese, Emperor Geese, Brown Pintails, Red-Crested Pochards and several others. There is also an island in the flamingo part for Emperor Tamarins.

Semi-Nocturnal House

What was once the zoo's nocturnal house, this building has now been converted into the main house for Red Titis which the zoo holds the studbook for. Also to be seen here a Dwarf Mongooses and Emei Shan Liocichlas.

Children's Farm

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, alpacas, chickens, ferrets, guinea pigs, pygmy goats, reindeer and Ouessant sheep.

Other Animals

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, Nile monitors, royal pythons, White's tree frogs and giant African land snails, among several others.

Dinosaur Safari

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.

Miniature railway

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,[7] 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.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Blackpool Zoo – History". Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Giraffes return to Blackpool Zoo". Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  3. ^ "Zoo sees return of the penguins". BBC News. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "Mayor opens sealion pool". Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  5. ^ "Blackpool Zoo's sealions enjoy new home". BBC News. 27 May 2010. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "Investment for 2011 at Blackpool Zoo". Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  7. ^ See details of locomotives and a photograph, here.

External links

  • Media related to Blackpool Zoo at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website
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