This Timeline content used to be on our Wikipedia article but is now illustrated and updated with fresh research https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newquay_Zoo
The ‘first’ Newquay Zoo?
Pre 1969 – a small petting zoo is established by Charles Trevisick and help from Ken Smith in the Rose Gardens area of Trenance Gardens and boating lake.
This closed in 1968/9 as the more permanent site was built on former dairy farmland in the Trenance Gardens / valley area
Newquay Zoological Gardens 1969
Whit Monday 26 May 1969 – Newquay Zoo opens to the Public, two days late. It is opened and operated by Newquay Urban District Council later (after 1974/5) to become Restormel Borough Council.
The opening day is covered in this blogpost:
Peter Lowe was the first Curator, formerly at Chester Zoo, and designed the overall plan of the site. He had the helpful advice of his former boss George Mottershead, letters between them have survived in the Chester Zoo archive, copies now placed in our archives:
Record cards have survived from the first 6 years giving an idea of some of the species involved.
As you can see in this map, Newquay Zoo is much smaller here. The whole top section and anything over the boundary of the stream running through the zoo was not part of the zoo at this time.
1970/1 – Lion house added (this is still standing in 2016 housing Fossa)
Norman Marshall became Curator / Manager in the mid 1970s when Peter Lowe moved on.
By 1983 Newquay Zoo had expanded over the stream edge with the Maze, tarzan Trail and Waterfall and Water garden areas.
In the 1983/ 85 some areas noted in the guidebook are still waiting to be developed such as the Japanese Water Garden.
More details are referred to about development and rebuilding in the 1988/9 Children’s guidebook to the Zoo.
The remote control model boats (!) in the old Sea lion pool would soon give way to Penguins in 1988.
This 1988/89 Map and Guide gives further clues to devel;opments or redevelopments, especailly devloping the area over the stream where the maze and Oriental agrden now are and in the top paddocks area. Numbers refer to the 1988/89 Guidebook Map.
1982/ 83 – Dragon Maze (Map no 21) designed by mazemaker Adrian Fisher http://mazemaker.com/
1983 – 1988 – Oriental Garden (Japnaese Water Garden) developed, still in use 2016/17 and now home to Asian birds, Asian Otters and Owston’s Civets
1983 – 1988 – Activity play park area added at top part of Zoo (opposite camel paddocks.). Still in use 2016
1983 – 1988 – Tarzan Trail and big slide added (still in use 2016)
1983-88 – Monkey Walk redevloped into three enclosures (as it still is 2016/17) from its original 1969 design.
1987 – Tropical House rebuilt with second storey, aquarium and education centre.
1988 – Penguin Pool rebuilt (16) where Sea Lions once lived. Capybaras briefly move into the former Penguin Pool area, before moving to the main lake c. 1993/4.
1988 – The children’s zoo redeveloped marked as Pets Corner (4) on the 1988/89 map.
1989 – Walkthrough Rabbit warren established, now Toad hall and the Red Panada enclosure.
The Zoo was briefly renamed in its later Council years ‘Newquay Animal World’ for a number of years (late 1980s to c. 1994/5) to match the new swimming pool / leisure facilities of WaterWorld next door.
1989 – Redevelopment of the Lion Enclosure (10 – Donkey Paddock ) opposite the 1970/1 original.
On the 1996 Map (top left at 18) a new Puma enclosure was being planned to replace the camel paddock, opening c. 1998 They were temporarily housed in the Old Lion House (13).
Wildlife at Night has by 1996 replaced the coati house on the 1988/89 map.
A Pheasant enclosure (27) had been built in the Oriental Garden c. 1994/5
In 1996 there was no second cafe at Tippy’s (named after our first tapir) at Map No. 22, in 1996 it was still a Mongoose enclosure. There were no top toilets or baby changing facilities. These were developed over the next 2 to 3 years.
Pumas from the closed Haigh Mini Zoo in Wigan arrived C. 1993 and went into the old lion house until a new enclosure was built C. 1998/9 after extensive fundraising, the nclosure being opened by Jenny Agutter.
Around 1998/9 purpose built Portakabin classrooms were erected next to the new Puma House to run the Education Service, school workshops formerly being offered in the humid and steamy Tropical House!
Cornwall College Newquay courses at FE and HE level began to be offered from September 2000 onwards on former golf driving range on separately leased land adjacent / opposite the top part of the zoo. https://www.cornwall.ac.uk/campus/cornwall-college-newquay
2001 – Newquay Zoo closes its doors for 3 to 4 weeks to visitors c. February / March during the UK wide Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.
2003 – Fossa arrive to take up residence in the Old Lion and Puma House.
August / September 2003 – Mike Thomas retires and Newquay Zoo becomes part of a scientific and educational wildlife charity, the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust http://www.wwct.org.uk/ with sister zoos at Paignton and Living Coasts.
We shall add more to this section 2003 – 2016 onwards over time.
2009 – As part of our 40th birthday year celebrations, opening of the Savannah area on the field next door and a new Asian / Phillipine deer, warty pig and fishing cat area redeveloping the 1994/5 African Plains mixed enclosure.
December 2016 – Gems of the Jungle walk-through aviary opens on site of the original leopard house (see 9 on the 1969 map).
This timeline is being freshly updated from December 2016 using our archive materials.
A brief summary of Newquay Zoo’s recent history is given here at our website.
- from 1993 onwards under private ownership by Mike Thomas and Roger Martin
- from 2003 as a charity by the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust :
An extensive and very personal view of Newquay Zoo from 1993 to 2003 is given in former Director Mike Thomas’ well illustrated book Strange Things Happened On My Way To The Zoo (Alison Hodge, 2010) available from bookshops or online sellers.
Posted by Mark Norris on the Newquay Zoo History WordPress blog, December 2016 .