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Welsh Mountain Zoo

Address Colwyn Bay, Conwy, North Wales, LL28 5UY
Telephone 01492 532 938
How to Find it: By Car: Just 3 minutes drive from the A55 Expressway – exit at Rhos-on-Sea interchange (Junction 20) – the Zoo is signposted from here. From Bangor 20 mins, Caernarfon 30 mins, Prestatyn 35 mins, Porthmadog 70 mins, Wrexham 50 mins, Chester 50 mins, Liverpool 60 mins, Manchester 70 mins. Using SAT NAV? Our full postal address is: Welsh Mountain Zoo Old Highway Colwyn Bay Conwy LL28 5UY
Open: Hours of Opening March to October: Gates open at 9.30am, last admission at 5.00pm, Zoo closes at 6.00pm November to February: Gates open at 9.30am, last admission at 4.00pm, Zoo closes at 5.00pm Closed Christmas Day
Prices: Standard Admission Rates Adult (16+ years)- £8.75 Children (3-15 years inclusive)- £6.40 Family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children)- £27.45 Seniors- £7.60 Students (NUS Card)- £6.40 Under 3- FREE Tesco Vouchers can not be used on family tickets.
No of Species No of Animals Star Rating
Mammals Conservation
Birds Enclosures
Reptiles Education
Amphibians Recreation
Fish Research
Total 0 0
Click here for a Link to the Zoo’s own Web Pages
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This critique last updated:  Dec 2010

Official Description

Visitor Reviews

Review by David Lomas – Sept 2008

The Welsh Mountain Zoo stands high on the hillside over looking Colwyn Bay in North Wales. There's a courtesy bus from the local railway station, but check the zoo's website (www.welshmountainzoo.org) as it doesn't run all the year round, and the zoo is signposted from the A55 expressway that runs east/west along the North Wales coast. The car park is within the zoo grounds which brings convenience for the zoo visitor who travels by car. The hillside grounds include natural woodland. I had two hours at the zoo and took in most of the pathways, but left just before the 'Bird Shows and Penguin Parade'  and 'Sea Lion Feeding & Training'.  (I'd seen these and listened to the ably presented talks a couple of years ago.) 
This zoo has been established for 45 years and continues to evolve with the times. Over the years, the zoo has adapted its enclosures to their newer occupants (e.g. the former elephant house is now home to a pair of Bactrian Camels, with new born off-spring) as well as completely new enclosures for the zoo's stalwarts Sea Lions (Sea Lion Rock); Chimpanzees (Chimpanzee World); Andean Condors ('Condor Heights'); while Brown Bears (Bear Falls) has been built-out from the original bear pits).  The zoo's next major project is a tropical house to host its alligators and other reptiles.
The zoo is conservation minded and hosts Przewalski Horses, Amur Tigers and Snow Leopards. It also has a Red Squirrel breeding programme and is quite candid about the release a few years back within the zoo and their subsequent demise.
The zoo has some detailed notices explaining to visitor some of its policies (e.g. such as the occasional feeding the meat eaters of part carcases) and conservation stories (e.g. Przewalski Horses).
All in all this is a well run zoo which delivers a strong educational message on wildlife and its conservation. This zoo deserves to succeed.



GoodZoos.com Reviews

The Welsh Mountain Zoo occupies 37 acres of a wooded hilltop overlooking the Irish Sea and the popular North Wales holiday resort of Colwyn Bay. It was the creation of a lifelong wildlife enthusiast, Robert Jackson, and it opened to the public on 18th May 1963. The site of the zoo, Flagstaff Gardens, had previously been open to the public, but Jackson had the vision to see that it could become an attractive and even spectacular site for keeping animals. Tragically, in 1969, Jackson was killed in a fishing accident, and the management and direction of the zoo passed to his wife Margaret, and their three sons, Tony, Chris, and Nick. Since 1983 the zoo has been owned by the Zoological Society of Wales, a Registered Educational and Scientific Charity, but management has stayed with the three brothers. 
Not all the zoo’s acres are used for animals, and about half of the area has been left as wild woodland through which visitors can stroll, and which is kept as a habitat for native wildlife, like grey herons, grass snakes, and badgers. Do not be deceived by the ‘Mountain’ in the name. Admittedly the road up to the zoo winds and climbs a fair bit, but the zoo itself sits quite comfortably on the top of the hill, and the walk around is far from strenuous. The zoo is clean and attractive, with hundreds of tall trees, some open fields, and small but neat gardens. 

The Welsh Mountain Zoo makes fairly conventional use of its small size to accommodate quite a wide range of familiar creatures. There are lions in a green, hilly, enclosure, a pair of African cow elephants in a small but adequate elephant house, Chilean flamingos in an attractive pool shrouded by trees and bushes, and a small group of Humboldt’s penguins in a very good new pool with underwater viewing, and with breeding burrows in the grassy bank. 
At the west end of the zoo are some splendid open paddocks with panoramic views over the Welsh hills. They make an ideal setting for Przewalski’s horses, ostriches, llamas, kulan, and a lovely herd of fallow deer. 

Sealions are considered a major attraction here, and they put on an entertaining display several times a day. They have bred successfully on more than one occasion, but their pool is circular, rather small, and earmarked for improvement. There are also daily falconry displays, and there can be few backdrops quite so suited to watching hawks, falcons, and even eagles flying.  

The zoo claims to have been the first place in Britain to mount public falconry displays. But the displays are just one face of the raptors at this zoo, and several difficult and unusual species have bred here, including American bald eagles, and Australian wedge tailed eagles. 
There is an impressive new enclosure for the chimpanzees, which for many years suffered rather cramped accommodation here. Chimpanzee World, as it is named, is a walled compound where the chimps can roam, and it affords good public viewing. Combined with the chimps is a conservation-education show ‘Chimp Encounter’ which helps to raise money for a chimp habitat project in West Africa. Close by are Persian leopards in a high hooped cage full of a tree. There are black panthers, and several beautiful green winged scarlet macaws. There are lar gibbons too in a long, but fairly simple enclosure, brown bears in a rather depressing pit, a good reptile house, and a new children’s zoo, and tortoise lawn. 
One new enclosure that demonstrates some sensitive and imaginative design is a hilly compound for European otters. It is extraordinarily spacious with a river, a waterfall and dozens of trees, and it provides both indoor viewing so that you can tip-toe inside and see the otters asleep in the semi darkness, and a viewing hide up a chestnut tree to watch the otters at play. 

Like many zoos, the Welsh Mountain Zoo is a zoo in transition. It began life as a small, diverse, seaside collection. Now it has become a serious zoo with real conservation intentions. Zoological Director, Nick Jackson, chairs the Federation of Zoo’s Conservation and Animal Management Committee, and during 1991 the zoo’s offices were the centre of a radical reorganisation of all zoo-based breeding programmes in Britain. The new developments especially the new chimp house, and the otter enclosure, demonstrate the way that the zoo is moving. A new facility for marmosets and tamarins will open in 1992, and the zoo is currently designing an ambitious new bear enclosure which will occupy some of the woodland. At the same time the Welsh Mountain Zoo remains a gently attractive and undemanding afternoon out for holiday makers to the North Wales resorts. Somehow it is managing to address all of its objectives remarkably well. 

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