An early 1969 Newquay Zoo Map

Thanks to John Adams of the Bartlett Society  we have received a copy of our earliest known Newquay Zoo map from 1969.

1969 70 NZ map
1969 era Newquay Zoo guide map (courtesy of John Adams)

We had a little glimpse of this 1969 zoo layout in Ernie Littlefield’s photograph taken from the railway viaduct. The Little Western Railway was already established in the foreground along with ample car parking.


Before this, our earliest Newquay Zoo map in our zoo archive was the Newquay Zoo Children’s Guide c. 1989!

1969 70 NZ crop 5
Close up of the animal ‘core’ of  Newquay Zoo, 1969.


A few surprises which aren’t in our patchy record cards from 1969 – otters are marked at map No. 6 where Tippy’s café now stands. I last remember this space with animals  c. 1994-5 as an (escaping) mongoose exhibit, before it changed to become a café named after its new neighbour, our first Brazilian Tapir c. 1996.

tippys 1999
Our first Tippy’s café in 1999, still with the surrounding wall perhaps of the original 1969 Otter enclosure, then aviary 1985, later Mongoose 1990s enclosure. (Photo 1999 Mark Norris)


What’s not on the Newquay Zoo Map in 1969?

The western boundary to the 1969 / early 1970s Newquay Zoo is the stream which now cuts through the zoo.

A few surprises looking at the 1969 map:

No ‘old’ penguin enclosure where Meerkats now dig.

No ‘old’ lion house where Harry the Fossa now sleeps.

According to Roger Williams, one of our longest serving keepers who worked here as a young man c. 1970-1974 (before a long  ‘career break’, returning to Newquay Zoo over 25 years later), the ‘old’ lion house was being built c. 1970/71.  (It is now the Fossa House).

Roger thinks that the Lions which arrived from Bristol Zoo in 1969 (Queenie and Charlie?) occupied one side of the Leopard enclosure (No. 9 on the 1969 map) until their enclosure was finished c. 1971. Pumas replaced Leopards c. 1973 by which time the Lions were in their own house.

bactrian camel 1970s
Bactrian Camel from our 1970s/80s guidebook (Newquay Zoo Archive)


The paddocks for camels (where Carpathian Lynx now live) appeared around June 1973,  when 2 Bactrian Camels appeared from the declining Belle Vue Zoo Manchester.

The Carpathian Lynx (1990s Puma enclosure) and Education Centre now occupy this space.


1970s penguin pool NZ
Humboldt Penguins from our 1970s / 80s guidebook, with in the background the Camel Paddock. (Newquay Zoo Archive)


Probably the ‘old’ Penguin Pool (now home to Meerkats!) appeared by or circa. 1973/4 when 6 more Humboldt Penguins arrived in September 1973.

Roger Williams isn’t sure where the first 2 penguins lived  (donated by Newquay councillor Mr Rogers at the Bay Hotel from off the local golf course, but that’s another story). In some zoos in the past like Rode Bird Gardens and Exmoor Zoo, Humboldt Penguins lived in a freshwater lake with other Wildfowl.

Shetland ponies from the Sherberton Stud moved in over the stream onto paddocks / pasture where our Dragon Maze now stands (to the left of the Flamingo and Waterfowl lake).

For several years the zoo’s edge and natural boundary was the stream.

The 1969 Chester Zoo sourced Bison ‘on the Hill’ left the zoo for Sherwood Zoo in 1973 – look out for a forthcoming blogpost on these animals who lived where the Pitch and Putt now runs.

The Guidebook format is an A3 colour sheet folded over with map on reverse.

1969 70 NZ map 2

Looked at rightways up the Guide Map reveals some interesting clues about the opening season / early years of the zoo.

Animal feeding was allowed  by the public for a surprisingly large number of animals including fruit or nuts thrown down into the Bear Pit.

A surprisingly early warning about the environmental dangers of plastic bags!

1969 70 NZ crop 3
Newquay Zoological Gardens Guide Map c. 1969 Courtesy of John Adams


1969 70 NZ crop 4
Guide to Newquay Zoological Gardens c. 1969 (Courtesy of John Adams)

The photographs such as Bison and Sealions are courtesy of (i.e. taken at) other zoos such as Chester Zoo, suggesting that this is a very early guide map prepared before these animals were properly in place.

Newquay Zoo still opens at 10 a.m. We still open all year round except Christmas Day. The other surprise was the OPEN ALL YEAR ROUND, something I thought was introduced c. 1994 when I first began to work with Newquay Zoo. The debate over the success of year round winter opening appeared in very early press cuttings held at the zoo.

John Adams also sent an image of the 1970s/80s Newquay Zoo guidebook map, c. 1983-85,  which allows you to compare the two and the progress over our first 15 years.

Best looked at sideways to compare with the 1969 version,  you can see much more development over the stream (18-22)  into the Dragon maze area and Tarzan Trail and past the Bear Pit at the top paddock end of the zoo  (9 – 14).

We will feature more comparison maps and guidebooks of the zoo over forthcoming blogposts.

1983/85 guidebook Newquay Zoo version with a map  (courtesy John Adams) – rare beasts like remote radio  controlled boats had replaced sealions!


‘Bison on the hill’ is the subject for a forthcoming blogpost. We mentioned more on our sister blog in 2014:

Just off to obtain some refreshment from our Zoological Café, still there, still serving but slightly bigger …


Posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo History blog, May 2016.


Author: worldwarzoogardener1939

World war zoo gardener and zoo educator at Newquay Zoo Cornwall UK

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