Newquay Zoo Pocket Pictures 2001

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThere must be few sets of these Newquay Zoo Pocket Pictures from 2001 remaining intact.

Produced by our enterprising zoo photographer and Marketing Manager in 2001, Michelle Turton, these were sold in the zoo shop.

The fact that my complete series one set includes a free ‘Special’ Ronnie and Lizzie the Lions card  marked in red ‘this card only available with the full set’  suggests that Michelle’s attractive mini-photograph cards might have been on sale individually too in our zoo shop.

Set One header and special Ronnie and Lizzy Card 2001

The cards as you can see were highly educational as well as highly collectable with a few animal facts on the back.


Mammals and reptiles card fronts …


… with educational facts  on the back.

A wide range of species were featured in Set One of 18 cards (plus Special).

Mammals and birds …
… with mammal or  bird facts on the back of each card.  

I photographed these cards in low light to prevent glare from the shiny cards and their protective plastic sleeves. This makes them a little fuzzy, whilst respecting the copyright of Michelle Turton’s original pictures.

Something links these 10 of the 18 cards – they are all animal species here in 2001 that have moved on or are no longer found at Newquay Zoo today (2017).  

The cards show the changing species at Newquay Zoo since 2001.



It is interesting to look at the cards close up. Snowy Owls or Hedwigs were highly popular in 2001, several books into the Harry Potter series (which began around 1997).




Problems with pet reptile keeping or unwanted pet reptiles at this time (c. 2001) are reflected in the message on the back of the Iguana. Both these common reptile pets  grow quite large, become strong  and even grumpy and so were then frequently offered  to Newquay Zoo by their despairing or even desperate owners.

Our Tropical House used to be full of Common Green Iguanas. Only one of those, no doubt called Iggy, was friendly and chilled out enough to use for animal encounters, if you wore a protective leather jacket to protect your skin from claws. Responsible reptile pet ownership or reasons for not having one was a frequent theme of our reptile based talks, events and animal encounters between 1996 and 2001.


Big Cats, Beasts and free ranging Cotton Top Tamarins …


In 1996 we started preparing our Cotton Top Tamarin small monkeys for release from the Tropical House out to free range in the trees along the Maze Road and Tarzan Trail. They remained free-roaming like this for several years, presumably at least until about 2001, until several years of births later, they were becoming increasingly tame in the trees and venturing down to inspect visitors on the ground.  Unfortunately some naughty visitors kept trying to photograph them up close with a bit of food bribery. Later I think they might have moved onto one of our tamarin islands.

The Puma card also mentions ‘The Beast’ stories that were prevalent at the time circa 2001. Two pumas Tina and Shane arrived from Haigh mini zoo which closed somewhere around 1993-96, to live in the old Lion House whilst we fundraised to build the ‘Puma House’, where our lovely Carpathian Lynx now live.  The last of these now elderly Pumas died in the mid 2000s.

Many were the tales or sightings of exotic big and small cat species roaming the Cornish and British countryside. Almost forty years on from the Dangerous Wild Animals act of 1976/77, which allegedly saw many exotic big cat pets released into the wilds of Britain, people telling me of these sightings after a big cat talk here at Newquay Zoo is quite unusual and rare occurrence now.

Free spirited Raccoons …


Our Newquay  raccoon  story was told in an earlier blogpost


The ‘Special’ Series One card in 2001 tells a little bit of our Lion Story here at Newquay Zoo – Ronnie and Lizzy – our lions being a subject surely worth a future blogpost in itself.


Sadly I don’t think there was a Series Two of the Newquay Zoo Pocket Pictures. If there was, they sold out in our zoo shop before I could buy them.

Many thanks to Michelle Turton for permission to show these images – a tiny snapshot of Newquay Zoo 2001 – again.

Blogposted in July 2017 by Mark Norris  for the –   sharing tasty nuggets and tiny morsels of Newquay Zoo history as we head toward our 50th Anniversary in May 2019.

Got something interesting to share or celebrate about a past visit to Newquay Zoo since 1969? Contact Mark Norris  via the Comments page or via the website.










A Tyger at Newquay Zoo?

Newquay Zoo’s only ever Tyger …

This Tyger poem by William Blake was one of several animal poems put up in 2003 just before or whilst the Zoo Federation  (now BIAZA) held its AGM here at Newquay Zoo in 2003 (the same year the Fossas arrived).

Fourteen years later this poem and its Rousseau painting of a Tyger has survived, the other animal poems from Walker Books’ anthology Birds Beasts and Fishes have all faded and gone, whilst  our last Fossa Harry left for the UAE this year …


An ivy clad aviary wall with Tyger … just round the corner from Tippy’s,  Penguins / Lions / Former Fossa house areas  June 2017.


Bye Bye Harry marking Harry the Fossa’s departure for the UAE Summer 2017.


This summer  Tippy’s  our top small cafe was renamed the Lazy Lion(s) Grill (c. June 2017) .

Another bit of Newquay Zoo history …


Tippy’s is named after the white tipped ears of our first male Tapir who arrived c. 1995/6 and lived next to Tippy’s where our Tapirs still live and breed.

tippys 1999
Tippy’s the small cafe as it was when first built c. 1996


I have  tracked down a picture of Tippy the Tapir to post here from our 1996 Guidebook


tippy the tapir 1996 guidebook
Tippy our first young male Tapir who arrived c. 1995/6 gave his name to our smaller café – based on the white tips on his ears!


Blogposted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo History blog, June 2017.

Newquay Zoo in the early 1970s

1976 NZ listing Int Zoo Year Bk
International Zoo Year Book Listing for Newquay Zoo,   1976  (vol 16) Curator Norman Marshall. 8 staff.


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.

1975 SW listings book
1975 SW listings book cover: Is the lion on a car a jokey reference to The Lions of Longleat, rather than ours in Newquay Zoo?


The Zoo entry for Newquay in 1975 is brief:

1975 NZ Newquay listingOur 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.

1975 NZ advert

The 1970/75 zoo advert is simple and very 70s. Lions and monkeys again!

1975 listings SW foreword

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.

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 blog, 25/26 May 1969.

Monkeys, zebras and snakes: Changing Newquay Zoo logos

NZ zoo business card logos
Some of the changing logos of Newquay Zoo 1996  to 2017 (as shown on badges and business cards) – Top two Newquay Zoo zebra logos 2007ish onwards on orange backing,  late 1990s Newquay Zoo with green paw print logo, short lived zoo snake logo (c. 2000) and a striking and stylish  zebra stripe backed business card (issued interim c.2004). Bottom – Penguin Club kids club badge has the old ‘Cornish flag’ or rugby colours of black white and gold with green paw print motif.

All change at the zoo again!

The new twelve-sided £1 coins arrived in our tills over Easter at Newquay Zoo, to join the new plastic £5 notes, with their old equivalents soon to go out of circulation. (Historical Note: For readers of the blog in future, this was when people still paid in 2017 with real cash, despite bank cards and digitickets).

It’s all change with the Newquay Zoo’s design logos as well. 

Newquay Zoo’s logo is undergoing a rebrand or a refresh, replacing the running zebra logo that was adopted 13 years ago (c. 2004). That 2004 rebrand reflected  Newquay Zoo becoming part of a conservation and education charity, the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, along with our sister zoos at Living Coasts and Paignton Zoo.

One of the latest documents in our Newquay Zoo archive is this April 2017 pdf document / print out from our Creative Department (incorporating our former Graphics Department), showing the newest logos that have been steadily rolled out throughout 2017 so far.

Once again these “funky” new logos reflect the close family of three zoos with similar informal and fun fonts but different colours for each zoo.


2017 new branding

Interesting to see the Monkey logo return for the 2017 onwards Newquay Zoo Logo, and that the Get Closer strapline / #getcloser hashtag survives.

A small monkey adorns both the Paignton and Newquay Zoo 2017 logos. This monkey proves to have been a recurring logo throughout many years of Newquay Zoo’s design history, almost like the lions who have cropped up on lots of our leaflets since 1969.

A monkey featured on our logo from at least  the mid 1980s onwards. Previous to that, the Restormel Borough Council or Newquay Town Crest was used on zoo letter heads.

1980s zoo logo bus close up
Close up of the 1980s Council Zoo Diana Monkey logo on the 1910 replica bus that toured Newquay, postcard in our zoo archive. 


Newquay Bus 1980s zoo logo
The 1910 replica London Bus Postcard in full with Zoo and Gardens on the header board and twin Newquay zoo Diana Monkey logo sign boards 1980s. 


1980s zoo bus logo back
Postcard back for the serial number collectors amongst you. 1980s Newquay postcard.

The 2000 zoo snake logo

This snake logo was used around the Millennium and featured on the Millenium 2000 / ZOO0 New Year, New millenium cake and banner, 1st January 2000. It is based on an idea from a great zoo design book (possibly from an American zoo van graphic?) but was only around for a couple of years, alongside the Newquay Zoo ‘flag’ logo.

The Newquay Zoo Logo That Never Happened

There are some logos that never quite made it into circulation.

The 2004 Diana Monkey proposed logo was quite popular at the design stage with many staff. Unfortunately, like the Newquay Zoo  ‘Cornish flag ‘colours logo (c.1996 – 2003/4) that was being replaced, it had a landscape orientation. It had a lovely seaside vintage feel, GWR brown and cream vintage train colours and again featured a popular Newquay Zoo animal at the time – Diana Monkeys.

The Zebra logo was finally chosen partly because it was portrait, the right way up, matching the other WWCT zoo logos and keeping the Cornish Black White and Gold (orange) colours. However being the “back end of a zebra” at the “back end of the country” (I paraphrase very politely) got us a a bit of jocular comment from staff at other zoos!

We could and did argue back that, despite being one herd animal amongst many almost identical stripy animals, the most individual part of a zebra, its unique barcode is on its back end, flanks and legs. One suggestion is that it helps a young zebra recognise its mother amongst a lot of other stripy animals using their disruptive dazzle camouflage. This makes this particular zebra on our logo our unique Newquay ID stripes, our barcode, what makes us stand out amongst a host of other good zoos and visitor attractions. Here the stripy bottom / zebra / zoo metaphor begins to creak …

The Zebra logo also looked forward to an important redevelopment project at Newquay Zoo. Within a few years (2009 – our 40th year) the African Plains Savanna project would see a slightly delayed move for our zebras  and other African hoofstock onto the new Savanna field.

Slight delays are inevitable in zoos. We even first opened Newquay Zoo  two days later than planned, finally opening on the 26th May 1969 allowing the newly arriving anaimals to settle in.


NZ unused monkey logo 20056
One of the logos suggested for 2004 but instead the portrait zebra logo was chosen.
diana monkey unused logo NZ 2006
Refused, Replaced, Now Used (instead of Reduce, Replace, Recycle!)  – previous, almost and finally chosen logos for the Newquay Zoo Rebrand (c. 2004) Unofficial Staff Awards Certificate for Sam Harley, still showing ‘grace under pressure’ over ten years later! 

The unused Diana Monkey logo reappeared unofficially for our irreverent staff awards after our Staff Christmas Dinner for a number of years. Some of these certificates are still proudly on office walls!

Who knows in ten to fifteen years time what our next Newquay Zoo logo and branding will be? 

Previous related blog posts

The curious pelican 1970s Newquay zoo van logo?

Lions on leaflets 1969 to 2015:

Newquay Zoo Timeline


First Blogaversary – first year of monthly zoo archive posts!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, using the Newquay Zoo archive and personal collections, for the Newquayzoohistory blog, April 2017. Another happy evening of research …

Cornish National Piskey Reserve and Cornish animal name trail at Newquay Zoo, 2002


Myttin Da!

Our March offering on our Newquay Zoo History and Archive monthly blog is timed ready for St. Piran’s Day (March 5th), the nearest Cornwall has to a national / patron saint’s day.

Happy St Piran’s Day  or Gool Peran Lowen in Cornish!

For over ten years this “unofficial” Piskey Reserve sign from 2002 survived in place at Newquay Zoo, until recently cleared in a resignage programme.  I thought it best to preserve it on this archive blog online. I’m sure the Piskeys are still there unseen and unphotographed.

What Happened Was

Back in 2002 Cornish speaker and musician Matthew Clarke and I put together a Cornish animal names trail at Newquay Zoo, probably in the days before the new unified Cornish language. Matthew is very active in the Cornish Language Fellowship, even broadcasting on radio regularly in Cornish.

As well as creating trail boards featuring Cornish animal names, we also declared part of the zoo around the stream,  Maze and wooded areas to be the Cornish National Piskey Reserve or  Gwithva Genedhlek Pyskiow Kernewek.

Cornish National Piskey Reserve or  Gwithva Genedhlek Pyskiow Kernewek.

After all, if zoos are about the conservation of endangered species and their habitats both here and abroad, then why not offer sanctuary to some of Cornwall’s legendary creatures? We have had a Cornish Dragon Maze since 1983.

It’s basically creating good spaces for ‘Native Wildlife’ in all its forms!

If Newquay Zoo’s home of Cornwall and its local culture is celebrated both at home but also internationally throughout the Cornish diaspora, a good modern zoo is also outward looking and multi-national,  working in partnerships around the world with hopefully a good understanding of the local cultures around it. Which includes our own …

From Sulawesi where we support the Selamatkan Yaki project to protect the critically endangered macaque monkeys (or Yakis) to projects in Vietnam and Colombia, staff from Newquay Zoo as part of the wider Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust have had to learn a smattering of some unusual languages to gain local support.

So what is a scientific research and conservation charity to do with a once almost extinct language and strange superstitious tales of piskeys? To be fair the Cornish National Piskey Reserve was established at Newquay Zoo almost a year before it became part of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust in Summer 2003.

A Cornish flavour to Newquay Zoo?

As well as using local produce in our retail outlets on sustainability grounds, we have also explored our Cornish location in interesting ways over the years. Cornish explorers and planthunters  like Richard Lander or Thomas Lobb have featured on family activity trails in the past, whilst Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle southwest  and Cornish connections were celebrated in his bicentenary year in 2009.

The zoo’s past and its present ‘sebra’ logo has kept the black white and gold of the St. Piran’s flag (and the black, white and gold of the Cornish rugby team?)

St. Piran’s Day itself has been marked at Newquay Zoo in a variety of ways over the years from St. Piran family activity  trails to recently the World Cornish Pasty Flinging  competition invented and held here for several years until 2015.

The famous Lowender Peran Celtic and Cornish music and dance  festival is now held in Newquay each year

Penguin – arguably one of the few Cornish or Celtic animal names to survive and make it into modern English?

Naming the Cornish Animals 

Creating a ‘Cornish animal names’ trail posed a few problems. Many of the exotic animals had never as far as we knew  been officially named in Cornish before its use  declined throughout the 18th and 19th century, despite Cornwall’s many people who explored and mined  far flung places.

Cornish is a Celtic language and closely related to Welsh and Breton. It is also connected to Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Manx in the Celtic language family.
Latest research shows Cornish did not completely die out as the last native speakers lived up until the start of the 20th century, when the revival was already well underway.

(Matthew’s  website 

Matthew Clarke and I sat down at Newquay Zoo in 2002 with several Cornish and Celtic dictionaries, along with a list of what the animal’s scientific or Latin names meant, in order  to explore what a new or old Cornish name might be. We were trying to put ourselves into the mind and naming tradition of   any Cornish speaking person who had ever encountered and tried to name  a South African  Meerkat or a South American Coati in their own local langauge.

My own few months of Cornish language lessons at evening classes with Cornish Bard Jori Ansell, amongst a great class of dowsers and proud sons of bal maidens  c. 1995/6,  were by 2002 already a fading memory. So Matthew must take 99% of the credit for these animal names!

The Blue Reef  Aquarium in Newquay has some local names displayed for the many native fish landed here in Cornwall. A lovely local touch.

MAGA Kernow has done much to encourage  with the Cornwall Council to support the naming or dual naming of streets or little word guides to modern life in Cornish.

cornish trail 2 .jpg

We crafted these trail boards using clip art, photos, a few of my own drawings and line illustrations (some done by Natalie Trotter? Art student in residence c. 1993?) and others from the Newquay Zoo colour in children’s guide c.1987/89.

cornish trail 3 .jpg
Cornish bird names – Papynjay is a great word for a parrot, no doubt named after some made it back home with Cornish sailors!

Some animals were easier to name than others as certain animal names already existed in Cornish dictionaries and documents. Cornish people had Cornish names for familiar animals such as owl, frog, spider, snake or seal that they would regularly have seen around the county and coastline.

Other more popular zoo animals we found were already named and illustrated in the pages and pictures of animals in Stephen Cartwright’s fantastic book First 1000 Words in Cornish (we had a copy of the first edition),  written with Cornish language teacher Graham Sandercock .

But what about the exotic animal species that had no Cornish name?

cornish trail 4 .jpg
One name that caused us a bit of a challenge … Black Lemur

Some animals like the rare Black Lemur from Madagascar, one of our early oversaeas conservation projects in the mid 1990s, had no Cornish name.

The name Lemur is said to mean ‘ghost’ or spirit, based on local Malagasy traditions. In Cornish a ghost or spirit is a bucca or boekka.Boekka dhu became the Cornish name for a  black lemur.

The more famous Ring-tailed lemurs that we now work with are also known as ‘cat lemurs’ after their cat-like mewing noises and glowing night time tapetum / reflective cat’s eyes. We called them Boekka gath as gath is the Cornish word for cat.

I brought the knowledge of what the animal names meant, Matthew brought his knowledge as a Cornish language speaker and songwriter. Together we created some interesting new animal names in the Cornish language, part of keeping the language evolving,  fresh and alive.

Meerkat was an interesting challenge – eventually talking about their Afrikaans name and their watchful behaviour, we settled on the similar sounding Mirgath or “far seeing  cat “. Meerkat sentries have to keep watch for danger from the sky or land.

cornish trail 5 .jpg
Alongside the zoo’s logo animal, the sebra,  there is the freshly christened or named mirgath – or far seeing cat?

In some ways, Graham Sandercock and others before us and then Matthew and I  in 2002 were carrying on a tradition of doing what people had done around the world such as Captain Cook, many missionaries and other explorers. They pointed at or shot unfamiliar animals and then asked the native guides the native word for this in order to  learn the local languages and names for places and animals.

Kangaroo, koala, raccoon, armadillo, kinkajou and many other animals achieved their strange names by the native words being roughly and sometimes written down by explorers and clergymen.

Sadly some languages and their rich associations with place and animals are rapidly dying out, as Cornish almost did, the language equivalents of the rare animals we work with at Newquay Zoo.

Over the past century alone, around 400 languages – about one every three months – have gone extinct, and most linguists estimate that 50% of the world’s remaining 6,500 languages will be gone by the end of this century (some put that figure as high as 90%, however). Today, the top ten languages in the world claim around half of the world’s population. Can language diversity be preserved, or are we on a path to becoming a monolingual species?      (  article below)

Sometimes it is for much the same reasons as animals die out – the disruption of habitat loss, modern farming and fast changing ways of life for forest Indians or tribal cultures, sometimes the dominance of other alien invading languages like English. Some of these last native speakers will be the same curious attention as comes too late  the last Dodo or the last Passenger Pigeon. The Dolly Pentreaths of the animal kingdom. (Dolly was supposedly the last fluent speaker of Cornish).   Others like some soon to be extinct plants and animals  will pass unseen and unremarked.

Cornish monkey and ape names from the Stephen Cartwright and Graham Sandercock book
A few Cornish naming challenges on this board! Coati, Red Panda, Kinkajou …

Some of the animals we named or featured are no longer at Newquay Zoo. These include  a Coati or Troenji brith in Cornish our name meaning “stripy nose dog” (as part of the Procyonidae or possible ancestors of Canids / dogs) and their cousins the Kinkajous or honey bears, which we made into Ors mel in Cornish.

Red Panda or Panda rudh was easier to name, as Panda was named by Graham Sandercock and featured in the zoo section of First Thousand Words in Cornish, despite Pandas of any colour  not being widely known about in the West (or Southwest!) until the Cornish language was on the decline.

cornish trail 8.jpg
Cornish animal names in the Tropical House  and having to invent a name for tropical rainforest in Cornish  … “glawkoes toemm ” ?

Matthew Clarke and I did not always agree on names – I remember half joking that the Sloth should be called a Dreckly in Cornish.

In other world languages that we use in schools MFL sessions at Newquay Zoo  a Sloth is a paresseux in French (for  sleepy, lazy) or in Spanish, a perezoso (which sounds both lazy and languid). We settled on ‘diek‘ in the end, though dreckly remains my jokey favourite.

Another newish Cornish animal name – the Asian Otter, a water dog or  dowrgi, not to be confused with a Celtic Little Welsh dog or Corgi.

These Cornish name trail boards were put together before different forms of Cornish were recently unified into one working language for a modern age, so I’m not sure if Matthew and I would create slightly different names today.

The trail board signs were only displayed for one season in 2002/3 and are not currently on display, residing in our archive.  So I thought this archive blog is a good way to give them a wider audience.


The maze, designed by Adrian Fisher in 1982/3 featured in a zoo style graphics sign (see below)  by Michelle Turton that we put up c. 2002/3 at the entrance to our Maze.

So Happy St Piran’s Day  or Gool Peran Lowen in Cornish!

Find out more about the Cornish language at the MAGA website pages.


Luckily we do not have a Baby Changing Room at the Zoo within this Piskey Reserve area at Newquay Zoo. Maybe the Zebra stables need the odd upturned horsehoe too.


Piskey or Piskie?

Pixy, Pisgie, Piskie or Piskey – the spelling often depends on where in Cornwall and Devon the stories were collected from.

I have sometimes sat late at night by a Cornish granite fireside when staying in an old house down far west reading some of these stories collected in Victorian times by Robert Hunt and William Bottrell.

With the wind whistling around the house and down the chimney, the old roof creaking, I sometimes thought of what spoken versions of those old written stories would have told in dialect or Cornish around that fireside for fun or as a gentle warning many years before.

Piskeys seem to me a Cornish or West Country  version of the modern “gremlin”, something convenient to blame mysterious events or curious losses on. These “blame it on the Piskeys” tales also no doubt covered up a bit of smuggling and black market activity too!

Many of these stories were collected from the areas where my Cornish ancestors came from,  some of the last Cornish speaking areas around Penwith and far west Cornwall. Whilst Dolly Pentreth may have been one of  the last native speakers of Cornish when she died in 1777, I’m sure that the Cornish language and dialect did not die with her.

I’m sure that many dialect words survived with Cousin Jacks, Cornish families like mine who left to find work upcountry or overseas from the mid 19th century onwards.  Even today areas of the zoo have some odd local names that have survived several re- buildings such as our “Crib Room“, our staff room where you eat your lunch or crib. A place to eat the odd pasty,  naturally.

So if anything do go wrong at the zoo or on this blog, we know who to blame, don’t us?

Dyw genes!

More mis-spent evenings turned into blogposts by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo History project, Newquay Zoo, March 2017









Newquay’s 1980s Zoo World of Leisure

Animal World Leaflet mentioning Conservation (c. late 1980s / early 1990s) with our Education Centre within the Tropical House and the newly rebuilt Lion House. Flamingos, Diana Monkeys, Kinkajous, Penguins and our Tarzan Trail rope bridge.



Our monthly Newquay Zoo history snippet for February 2017 focusses on the late 1980s and a rather unusual renaming of  Newquay Zoo.

When I first started work at ‘Newquay Zoo’ in the mid 1990s, under the new private ownership of Mike Thomas, it still bore its Council Zoo renaming of Newquay Animal World. So did our letter heads, leaflets, vehicles and uniforms.

This strange name, presumably chosen to match  the Water World swimming pool name, led to some odd telephone conversations in the zoo office.

People would phone up and ask to buy a guinea pig. We would then have to explain we were a zoo, not a pet shop, despite our name.

Mike thankfully changed the name  back to Newquay Zoo about 1996/97, despite the extensive criticism of ‘zoos’ and the word Zoo flourishing at the time.

The posters and leaflets show the joint marketing of 2 major ‘world’  attractions ‘Animal World’ and ‘Water World’ along with the other surviving elements of the original 1960s and 1970s Trenance Leisure Gardens.


The newly built or refurbished Water World late 1980s


This was all part of  renewed attempt to market the Trenance Gardens area as a ‘World’ of Leisure, 26 acres of Sports and Leisure.

animal world
Early 1990s Animal World leaflet
Inside the early 1990s Animal World leaflet – llama, monkey walk, lioness, flamingos, walking over the stepping stones of the original Japanese or Oriental Water Gardens where otters now live.

Inside the Animal World leaflet (c. 1993) are visible some staff that I remember when I started at Newquay Zoo – top left, keeper Claire Roper with our then zoo vet Mike King, Claire is also seen with some of the encounter animals with visitors, keeper David Eyre with python (and elsewhere Kinkajou).

animal world nz 2leaflet .jpg
Giant insects and a painted Black lemur (one of our early overseas conservation links) c. 1993


lion leaflets .jpg
I recognise that painted Lion! See where the Lion on the c. 1993 leaflet artwork comes from? Roundels usually covered up at the last minute something on the artwork we had decided against! The hedgehogs were from our Wildlife Hospital section which ran till about 2003/4.

The posters below are from the joint Newquay’s World of Leisure that was (and still sort of is)  Trenance Leisure Parks late 1980s / early 1990s.

Scarlet Macaws feature on this joint advert.  


Pumas, lions and penguins feature here whilst the “new Oriental Garden and renewed Monkey Walk” of the mid to late 1980s are mentioned here as included in Zoo Admission .


Interestingly the Zoo (at only 8 acres)  is branded as a “ZOOlogical theme park”, no doubt to account for the entertainment features such as the recently planted Maze, Activity play park and Tarzan trail all c. 1983.

Zebra(s) feature on this poster.


Interesting in itself to see how styles of zoo posters and general attraction advertising have or haven’t changed over the years, something we look at with students on business and marketing  or leisure and tourism type school and college talks.

More lions of our leaflets here:

Since Animal World and the early Nineties

The 26 acres of the ‘World of Leisure’ that was  ‘Trenance Leisure Gardens’ have changed somewhat after a business dip mid-1990s.

Newquay Zoo is now run as part of a conservation charity, the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust with Living Coasts and  our big sister zoo in Devon, Paignton Zoo. Newquay Zoo expanded onto the nearby ‘Little Wembley’ sports field, growing  a few acres to its current 12 – 13 acres to create the Savannah area which opened in 2009.

We now open all year round, from about 1993/4 as opposed to the original Council Zoo being open Easter to October.

The Toboggan Run has given way to the Wooden Waves skate park.

The golf driving range is now (since 2000)  the site of Cornwall College Newquay

The miniature train and the pitch and putt / crazy golf  still thrive, the Tennis Courts are now part of the Heron Tennis Centre whilst  Water World’s swimming pool and gym is still very busy, its visitors watched as ever by our African Lions.

The Lakeside Café, Boating Lake and Rose Gardens  (home to the original Charles Trevisick’s  Newquay Children’s Zoo – see below) are still flourishing.

The newly reopened Trenance Cottages Museum, Community Centre and Café is also thriving.

Here’s to another  busy season for all the activities of Newquay’s World of Leisure!

Blogposted in February 2017.

Newquay Ladies Circle tree grown up

The Front Lawn and our original Cafe. Post 1969 / early 1970s Newquay tourism brochure – our tree would be off to the centre left of the bush planting.  (Newquay Zoo archive)

We’ve been doing some work on opening up our cafe space this month, which is still centred around the rectangular wooden block you see pictured here.

I was looking at this colour guidebook picture to get an idea of how our front lawn looked when first planted by Ernie Littlefield, the Council Head Gardener or Parks Superintendent.

This front lawn is now quite different, home to a Tortoise House, a Birds of Brazil Macaw Aviary and the Bird Hide covered viewing and eating area, as well as the Volunteer Pavilion and Red Panda enclosure.

Before this building over the years,  the front lawn (seen in early guide maps below) was mostly an open grassy  space near our cafe set aside for picnics.

Several paths run across it, some opened up by the zoo, others informally created by visitors taking a shortcut.

In the middle of one of these paths now stands a celebration tree to mark the Newquay Ladies Circle 21  years of friendship and service  1957 to 1978.

The Newquay Ladies Circle?

The tree site near the Monkey Walk enclosures.
Dedication plaque Newquay Ladies Circle 21st anniversary 1978 tree

Originally this tree must have stood on the lawn, set back from rather than in the middle of the path.

Every tree and dog has its day. It is nice to think that in its planting year, 1978, this was a celebration tree of hope and thanksgiving. As you can now see, it is now wrapped with lights and lit up as part of our winter and Christmas illuminations.

I wonder if the Newquay Ladies Circle still exists?

I wonder if anyone remembers watching the planting of this tree?

In my younger days I  spent many evenings and afternoons driving around Cornwall with a slide projector, giving many talks about Newquay Zoo to  community groups  but cannot recall this Ladies Circle group. Some of the groups I used to visit such as the Newquay Townswomen’s  Guild appear to have quietly faded away with age and years, though the Guild survives in Redruth, Devon and around the UK.

Maybe the Newquay Ladies Circle had gone the same way?

Not so – type in Ladies Circle on a search engine and you will find a modern website

Ladies Circle is a modern, vibrant club for women just like you! With hundreds of members aged 18 to 45 across Great Britain and Ireland, we want to offer the best opportunity for young women to connect with each other, have a great time, and give something back. (Ladies Circle website source)

Part of the Round Table family, the Ladies Circle celebrated its 80th anniversary  year in 2016, having “come a long way from its inception as a club for the wives of Round Tablers.”

A National Movement

The first group, Bournemouth No. 1 Circle, first met in 1932 as a social group for the wives of Round Tablers. … Eight more circles followed in 1936 in Manchester, Hastings, Liverpool, Doncaster, Middlesborough, Wolverhampton and Southampton, and soon after the national association was formed, under the guidance of first president, Win Hussey.

Then World War II hit, and Ladies Circle struggled to keep going. But it did survive, thanks to Edina Headon who kept the movement going and, leading from 1939 to 1948, is to this day Ladies Circle’s longest serving National President.

(Ladies Circle website source)

There is an explanation of the  Ladies Circle 21 years tree planting at Newquay Zoo

In 1947 Ladies Circle went international, with Great Britain & Ireland helping to set up Circles in Denmark and Sweden.

This led to the founding of the Ladies Circle International organisation in 1958 to bring together Circlers from across the globe.

Later that year, to celebrate 21 years of Ladies Circle, the national executive decided to adopt Imperial Cancer Research as the Ladies Circle national charity.

The first donation was £6,607, and we continued to support the charity as our national cause up until 2013 – which itself has modernised and is now known as Cancer Research UK – raising hundreds of thousands of pounds. Clubs now focus on raising funds for their own local causes. (Ladies Circle website source)

The Ladies Circle  now reaches 37 countries round the world, outward looking and international, just like a modern zoo!

So did the Newquay Ladies Circle still exist?

I eagerly checked the Circle Finder page

Sadly the Newquay branch is no longer listed. However  in Cornwall some Ladies Circle branches survive nearby in St Austell, Looe and Liskeard and Launceston with more branches in the Cornwall – Devon border at Okehampton, Bideford and near our sister Paignton Zoo in Torquay.

So whilst nobody from Newquay turned up on the Ladies Circle 80th anniversary in 2016 to celebrate this tree, the Circle continues to grow worldwide. Hopefully a happy tree!

There must be some ‘tree’ and ‘branch’ puns and metaphors in there somewhere too.

The Newquay Ladies Circle tree near The Bird Hide viewing area into the Birds of Brazil Macaw aviary, replacing the original more open sided African Hut party and schools eating hut. This picnic area now has AstroTurf outside to deal with heavy traffic in wet months.


The Tortoise House to the left of the Ladies Circle Tree
The Tortoise House to the left of our Ladies Circle tree

The early Route Map in the early to mid Seventies marks this lawn area as a Picnic Site., no. 25.


The earliest map (1969/70) records our tree site as Picnic Area no. 13 near the grand sounding Zoological Cafe.

1969 70 NZ map

I shall photograph this celebration tree in summer when its leaves are out to work out what sort of a tree it is.

The Newquay Ladies Circle 21st anniversary Tree at Newquay Zoo – another random bit of Newquay Zoo history researched in my lunchtime as we head towards our 50th anniversary in May 2019.

Blogposted / brought to you by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo History blog, 31 January 2017 .