This month’s Newquay Zoo History blogpost celebrates our 48th Birthday, marking the opening of Newquay Zoo on May 26th 1969.
First is a short listing in the International Zoo Year Book 1976 with visitor figures for Newquay Zoo 1973 of an impressive 300,000, almost twice what we see now! Our sister zoo since 2003, Paignton Zoo saw only 341,743 (1974/5?) at the time, today they might see almost three times our average 150,000.
Why the change in visitor numbers?
The answer partly lies in a slightly more colourful publication, no doubt read by many of the 300,000 paying visitors to the zoo in 1973. The listings book “Where to Go, What to Do in the SW” was subtitled ominously “500 places to visit in the wet or dry“. This popular guide by R.L. and M.J. Elliott was already in its 6th annual reprint edition by 1975.
The Zoo entry for Newquay in 1975 is brief:
Our Zoo listing: Newquay Zoo. Daily, 10 am to dusk. Trenance Gardens. Attractive selection of animals, birds and reptiles in ten natural acres.
Looking through the listings book it is no surprise tht we had such record visitor numbers as there were in 1973/75 very few of the familar visitor attractions that we know today.
The 1970/75 zoo advert is simple and very 70s. Lions and monkeys again!
Interestingly the 1975 foreword announces the imminent arrival of the M5 motorway.
For many visitors to Cornwall, this cut the original two day journey from upcountry to a more manageable one day for the growing car-owning, holiday making families of Britain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M5_motorway
Only two years now until our 50th anniversary on 26 May 1969.
Look out for more random monthly Newquay Zoo history snippets each month.
Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo for the newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com blog, 25/26 May 1969.