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Blackpool Zoo

Address East Park Drive, Blackpool FY3 8PP
Telephone 01253 830 830
How to Find it: By Train Trains run to three stations in Blackpool: Blackpool South Station is about 3 miles from the Zoo, (there are usually plenty of taxis available), Blackpool North Station and Blackpool Central Station, which are a short walk from the Tower, from where you can take the bus to the zoo. Visit the links below for timetable and ticket information. www.thetrainline.com By Bus Blackpool Transport Service no 20 runs from the Tower (bus stop in Adelaide St, next to Sport City). This service runs from 12th April 2008 at weekends and Bank Holidays, and then from 24th May 2008 it runs every day until 2nd November 2008. By Road Follow the M6 to junction 32 and take the M55 to junction 4, then follow the “brown elephant” signs to the zoo
Open: Blackpool Zoo is opens at 10am every day of the year except Christmas Day. The zoo closes 45 minutes after the last admission which varies through the year – check their website before planning a visit.
Prices: 1st March 2008 – 28th February 2009 Daily Visitor Annual Member Disabled / Carer Adults £13.00 £40.00 £7.00 Juniors (Aged 3 – 15) Under 3s : Free – JUNIORS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT £9.50 £26.00 £5.50 (Carer : £7.00) Senior Citizens & Students £11.50 £33.00 £7.00 Family ticket (2 adults and 2 juniors) £40.00 £114.00 N/A Family ticket (2 adults and 3 juniors) £48.50 £129.00 N/A
No of Species No of Animals Star Rating
Mammals 36 185 Conservation
Birds 70 259 Enclosures
Reptiles 4 63 Education
Amphibians Recreation
Fish 1 36 Research
Total 111 543
Click here for a Link to the Zoo’s own Web Pages
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This critique last updated:  Nov 2010

Official Description

Visitor Reviews

Review submitted by David Lomas, October 2010

Blackpool Zoo has come of age. Set up by Blackpool Council in 1972 and now owned by Parques Reunidos, here is a zoo that has rapidly matured in the last couple of years. This zoo has many of the traditional zoo animals, as befits its host town. It has social groups of African Lions, Californian Sea Lions, Giraffes, Asian Elephants, Mountain Zebras, Reindeer and Bactrian Camels. Besides Bornean Orangutans and Pileated Gibbons there's a a respectable representation of monkey species. It has a pair of Lowland Gorillas – who have access to an island which has uninterrupted viewing across a wide moat. It was a magnificent sight to observe the silverback responding to his scatter fed, picking his way over rocks and taking time out to beat his chest at his observers in the distance.

One thing that marks this zoo is out are the species that you won't normally find in a UK zoo, namely: Pigmy Mongoose; Pigmy Marmoset; North American Tree Porcupine; Long Nosed Potorro (a small marsupial); Cuscus (an Australian Possum) curled up in its hollow log; and Magellanic Penguins. There's plenty of evidence of successful breeding from Red Titi Monkeys to the more common Capybara and African Lions.

The Zoo is well laid out, the enclosures are spacious, naturalistic and flat – making it accessible to all. There's an excellent guide, available for £2. The keeper talks seem to come from the Zoo's Education department and this comes through in the knowledgeable and engaging manner of presentations. Indeed the Zoo's commitment to these presentations is shown in the recent construction of several seating areas for audiences of these talks.

In short, here's a zoo that is worth the 2 to 3 hours it takes to stroll around the zoo gardens. In an unscientific sample of the UK zoos I've visited in the past 12 months, Blackpool Zoo gets my 2009 vote for 'Zoo of the Year'!

Review submitted by K Smith, March 2008

My family had a wonderful day at Blackpool Zoo. The animals looked very happy and well cared for. My children were amazed by the lions, and being able to get so close to them, with only a sheet of glass between us was truly awesome! They also loved the little train. It was excellent value for money, we were there all day and still didn't see it all.  My dinosaur mad son loved this new section.We will definately be back. Highly recommended.

Review submitted by Steve Lowe, March 2001

 Blackpool is a hardworking small zoo that has a nice range of species and is quite user friendly and does not over play the conservation hand it admits to being a tourist attraction whilst  I believe its management is preservation orientated  which must be difficult given the constaints of being local authority owned and financed the animals are niceley presented  and ongoing improvements are evident it has  a nice collection  of lemurs set off in a brand new walk through enclosure  an excellent elephant  exhibit  and good work is being done with primates this is a pretty good small zoo  with good facilities both for animals and visitors. with a limited  budget they have acheived a fairly high standard  they need help in taking their acheivments  a few steps forward but if recent trends continue advancement is unlikey and rumoours suggest an uncertain future if indeed there is a future at all

Review Submitted by Steve Park, April 2001 (visited: 31.3.01)

I'd heard on the local news programme that Blackpool Zoo was due to reopen on 31st March, so I thought I'd go along for the day. I was actually the first person through the gates on a cold, wet, and windy Saturday morning. I had to answer a few simple questions and walk on disinfected matting, because of the foot-and-mouth problem. This also meant that the children's zoo was closed when I visited.  It was 4 years since I last visited Blackpool, and quite a bit has changed since that time.  The first thing I noticed was that the elephant paddock has been increased in size, now covering the area formerly occupied by both elephants and giraffes. Inside the elephant house are some nice reptile and invertebrate exhibits, including the only pair of Yacare Caiman in Britain. All the herbivores: zebra, camels, antelopes, tapir, etc all have spacious paddocks. In fact, the sub-species of zebra at Blackpool, the Damara Zebra, is the only group of its kind in the UK. Other ungulates not normally seen in zoos include Yak, and Markhor.  The penguin pool is now occupied by a pair of European otters. An island near the ape house has been converted into “gorilla mountain”, an additional outdoor area for the gorillas, providing the zoo with more space should they wish to enlarge their existing gorilla group.
  Another new attraction is “lemur wood”, where the public can walk on a raised wooden walkway through an area containing 'free-range' black, red-ruffed and ring tailed lemurs. This allows people to get close to the lemurs without any barriers.   One thing I noticed about the zoo was that a lot of the exhibits are geared towards children. The invertebrate tanks in the elephant house are all placed at a child's eye view. Another example is in the ape house, where some of the indoor viewing areas are low down to allow children a good view of the gorillas and orang-utans. Next to the ape house is a climbing area for children. The guide book is also aimed primarily at youngsters, with the character Professor Wilde talking about various habitats, and detailing interesting facts about the zoo's collection.
  All the exhibits have detailed information boards, which stress the continued need for conservation. There are also plenty of talks given about the animals. In fact, you could plan your day around the zoo, by going from one talk to another ! The keepers will gladly answer any questions you may have during these sessions.  Blackpool isn't a large zoo, when compared to some, but it certainly makes the most of the space it has. It's well worth a visit, and this reviewer will definitely be returning during the summer.

GoodZoos.com Reviews

There has been a zoo in Blackpool since 1874, twenty years before the Blackpool Tower opened. Then for nearly eighty years the zoo was within the famous tower itself, and it was presumably the Tower Zoo that featured in Stanley Holloway’s ‘Albert and the Lion’. But the Tower was a wholly unsuitable home for a zoo, and in 1971 Blackpool Corporation set about moving the zoo to a new home two and a half miles from the Golden Mile. The site had been the location of Stanley Park Aerodrome, and since 1953 it had been the showground for the Royal Lancashire Show. When the show moved in 1971, it seemed an ideal opportunity to use the site for the new municipal zoo. But municipal zoos are rare in Britain, and a special Act of Parliament had to be passed to enable the new zoo to be built. 

The zoo opened its doors to the public in 1972 to general public acclaim. It is a simple, open, zoo, and occupies 32 acres. Twenty years after its opening, the landscaped zoo has matured, and there are bank, copses, and shrubberies that give interest to what was once flat grassland. Some of die original airport buildings are still in use; the old airshow stand is used by the excellent education department and zoo offices, and the elephants and giraffe occupy a large, converted hangar. The zoo is modestly sized, and easy to walk around. There is also a good miniature railway which goes half way around the park, and a children’s adventure playground. 

As you might expect from a resort zoo, Blackpool zoo keeps most of the popular ‘ABC’ species — animals like elephants, gorillas, sealion, lions, tigers, and penguins. It is a non specialist collection, but seems to keep all of its animals well. The enclosures are adequate, and clean, although some are rather unimaginative in their designs. The big cats have large, grassy, square pens, the elephants have a rather cramped compound, and a good herd of camels occupy a fairly small hardstanding. More imaginative is a rocky precipice that dominates a central lake, and is home to markhor, a vulnerable mountain goat with magnificent spiral horns. There is a rocky penguin pool where gentoo penguins breed, and an attractive, modern monkey house with very good groups of capuchins, squirrel monkeys and vervet monkeys. Gibbons and spider monkeys have a new house with access to small islands in an oval lake, and the orang-utans, chimpanzees and gorillas have modern, although fairly simple, enclosures. 
The sealion pool at Blackpool is one of the largest in the country. The sealions here are entertaining and look well, although they might benefit from more natural beaches. 

If Blackpool specialises at all, then it is with marsupials. Once there was a good collection of tree kangaroos here, and although these are now gone, there are Panna wallabies, wallaroos, red- necked wallabies, and marsupials as unfamiliar as potoroos, quokkas, and cuscus. 

There are good paddocks for grazing animals, represented by bisons, llamas, zebus, damara zebras, and several cranes; and there is a good group of delicate Arabian gazelle. There are good waterfowl ponds around the zoo, and an aviary full of African grey parrots. 

Blackpool is still Europe’s busiest seaside resort, It deserves a good zoo, and it is a credit to the town corporation that they have succeeded in creating one. 

Species List


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