A Royal Visit or Two 2019 and 2010

HRH Prince Edward Earl of Wessex looking at the old zoo record cards, 1969 map and photos – Mark Norris, HRH, Simon Tonge, Edward Bolitho the Lord Lieutenant and his attendant sea cadet –  Twitter feed photos from the Lord Lieutenant’s Twitter account.  24.9.19 

24th September 2019 –  HRH Prince Edward Earl of Wessex visits Newquay Zoo to see our 50th anniversary exhibition and our ‘Gems of the Jungle’ Asian Songbird  exhibit. 

An exciting moment for me as our unofficial zoo historian and archivist, showing HRH Prince Edward our combined 50th anniversary efforts of our exhibition panels and  time capsule burial marker with local school children’s predictions of the zoo in 2069.

Being an unexpectedly  rainy old day, I had also prepared some undercover display material in the ‘bus shelter’ next to the exhibition in case it rained heavily.  With Sophie in the office’s help, we quickly put up some laminated archive photographs taken by Ernie Littlefield our first Head Gardener of the zoo being built in 1968/69 and its early days.

We also enlarged and laminated some big copies of our original record cards from 1969 which  proved of great interest to HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and the Lord Lieutenant, Edward Bolitho.

Unusual animal deaths such as a deer ‘killed by bears’, penguin escapes from the 1970s, and oddest of all, the alligator which ‘drowned’ here in 1970 (!), all proved of interest, as well as showing how animal record keeping has changed since the 1970s.

Edawrd Wessex 2019


Our colourful 50th Anniversary exhibition still up autumn 2019 and now visited by Royalty. 

The site looked superb as ever, despite the rain, thanks to a lot of hard work by all the staff.

HRH Prince Edward met staff, trustees and volunteers then unveiled a plaque marking his opening of the ‘Gems of The Jungle’ walkthrough Asian Songbird aviary which highlights the songbird crisis of the EAZA Silent Forest campaign . 

Once Prince Edward had gone, our ‘zoo family’ of staff quietly gathered in the rain in the Oriental Garden to plant a tree with the wife and family of the much missed Mike Finnegan, our Ops Manager who died suddenly in August 2019. More in our next blogpost.

The very last conversation I had with Mike had been a quietly confidential one about the proposed Royal visit, Mike  asking me to show HRH our 50th Anniversary exhibition, time capsule marker and 50th anniversary tree. These were all activities that Mike had been involved in and was highly supportive of.

Job done and done well. Proper job!

Past Royal Zoo Visits?

Our archive currently holds no record of any Royal visits between 1969 and 1996 – more information may one day turn up. There were no Royal visits to Newquay Zoo that I remember between 1996 and 2010.

In April 2010 HRH Princess Alexandra came to celebrate the zoo’s partnership with Cornwall College Newquay,  tour the site and meet the zoo staff. Here is a battered ex-display press cutting from our archive:

Princess Alexandra 2010

Alvin our late and much missed skunk proved a surprising star of the 2010 occasion.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Education / Archive, 24 September 2019.

20 years ago the seeds of Cornwall College Newquay were being sown 1999

WEndy and early students May 2001 crop
Spring Term 2001 – some of our very first young FE students meet Keeper Wendy Winstanley and a young coati, Newquay Zoo. 

It’s exam results season. Hopefully congratulations are in order. In a few weeks time students will be returning to Newquay Zoo and our partner college next door, Cornwall College Newquay.

Fresh new students will arrive, full of enthusiasm; this new 2019/2020 intake or student cohort will be, if I counted correctly, our 20th intake.

If you want to apply to Cornwall College Newquay today or in the future, try their website: https://www.cornwall.ac.uk/location-pages/newquay-campus.html

Owen Taylor, first cohort of BTec students 2000/01, now Head Keeper of Mammals at Paignton  Zoo.

We look forward to celebrating this long running partnership with the next year’s 2020/21 intake, which will be exactly 20 years since the first intake arrived in September 2000.

Ann Marie FE 2000
Ann Marie, one of our first local FE students, in uniform practising some dog grooming c. 2000/1 A popular session in the early days …

Since then, thousands of young and mature students have passed through our college on their way to careers in zoos, conservation and the wider business world.

PP 24 P8 Spring 2004 student photo crop
Students working with keepers on enclosure rebuilding – Paw Prints Vol 7/1 Spring 2004
PP 24 P8 Spring 2004 student photo crop 2
Newquay Zoo Tropical House – Sara Booth and others in winter 2003 spring 2004 4

Many Cornwall College Newquay alumni and students have worked or volunteered here at Newquay Zoo. Some are still here many years later. All something to celebrate!

Blue Eyed Cockatoo student Tracy Hawken 1999 Neale and Neale
Local student Tracy Hawken at a college taster day with our Blue Eyed Cockatoo, probably Ladybird or Bird-Bird   1999 / 2000 (Neale and Neale press photo print in our archive).

First discussions 1999

early 1999 Mike Kent to Mike Thomas letter
Early 1999 letter (date and personal address removed) from Mike Kent to Mike Thomas 

20 years ago in  August / September 1999, when the letter above was written, we were still a year way from enrolling our first students and busily working towards getting a college building and a syllabus approved to run 16 to 19 (Further Education) and 18+ (Higher Education) courses in place.

first A5 leaflet 1999
1999 and a scrappy ‘piece of paper’ leaflet announces our new course details and contacts.

Many of the early leaflets have the dreaded words ‘Subject to validation’, the long and intricate process of having your course, staff and venue judged suitable to offer courses. With lots of goodwill and lucky timing, we amazingly cleared validation in the record speed of 18 months.

Taster day advert
Taster Day local press advertising Autumn 2000 – Recruiting for the HE 2001 intake. 
Taster Day students CorGaur 230300
Taster day students, British Science Week  in the Tropical House and Walkthrough Aviary,  Cornish Guardian, 23rd March 2000

TES 31032000 student Matthew Stevenson penguin

Taster Days were run in the year 2000 to promote the new courses to students, often pictured in the local and national press with animals very close up to students at the request of press photographers.

We already had experienced zoo staff ready to share their knowledge of animal management, business, marketing and animal health either onsite in our classroom or around the zoo, working with students on section.  However lots of other things were needed to be ready by September 2000.

Would the courses be approved and ready on time?

Would we recruit sufficient college staff and students to run the courses?

Would we have a college building offsite in time?

First A4 leaflet 1999
1999 – our first A4 leaflet with course details for the old HNDs (now Foundation Degrees)

The 1999  leaflets promised the wonders of up-to-date teaching, taught by experienced staff with practical knowledge from zoos and conservation. We looked forward to using  IT wonders such as videoconferencing (tricky then in 1999) and making links via WWW (the World Wide Web as it was known in its younger days)!

First A4 leaflet 1999 inside
Details of our first HND courses (now Foundation Degrees) in 1999

We had a few leaflets, initially photocopied sheets to hand out at the Zoo, at careers and science events to those interested in being the first ‘guinea pig’ cohort to see if this zoo college project would succeed.

HND St Austell College Connie yawn

For our Newquay Zoo 50th anniversary NZ50 in May 2019, we reunited three of the foundersMike Thomas The Zoo Director at the time, Dr Mike Kent (who wrote the letter above) and myself (Mark Norris, still teaching at college on behalf of the Zoo). We talked on camera  to talk about the ups and downs of starting a conservation and zoology college. You can watch this 25 minute YouTube video here:


The college project was announced in our November 1999 edition of Paw Prints the Newquay Zoo newsletterhttps://newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com/2019/05/05/paw-prints-november-1999-eclipse-edition/

Within the first year or two, plans were underway to build a purpose-built College building on land next to Newquay Zoo.

Press Cutting January 2001
The old disused golf driving range (and large zoo animal burying ground) pictured at top is now the college buildings. Cornish Guardian, 18th January 2001.

I remember Mike Thomas the Zoo Director at the time being asked by a newspaper photographer to show his ‘vision’ of the new zoo college … so he joyfully flung up his arms with a big grin and pointed around  the empty field. A  wonderful moment!

Digger Mayor Mike Thomas CorGuar 26092002

By 2002  we started digging the college building foundations, with the hands-on support of the college management and then local Newquay Mayor Andrew Waters. It would be another good thing for the town of Newquay and Cornwall.

photos MN Claire Organ Mike Kent 2001
Claire and Ann-Marie, some of our first cohort of students, Cornish Guardian January 18th 2001

As we moved into charitable ownership (now the Wild Planet Trust), we received a national BIAZA / Zoo Federation award in 2003 for this college partnership, one of the first of its type in Britain and Europe at the time.

Recently we received an updated BIAZA award (2017) for over 15 years continual partnership with these courses. The greatest complement (and compliment) to the project is the range of other UK zoos that now run this kind of partnership course for their local students.

2003 college award MN SM MK Colour

Within the first year of our college, Newquay Zoo closed for a month or two to the public during the national Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak in early 2001 but we taught on at college. It was a fascinating but distressing real world example of an animal health and disease outbreak, a little too close to home. A lot of foot baths and boot dipping was involved for zoo staff working between both sites.  I remember that my zoo boots rotted and fell apart with the constant foot dipping.

WEndy and early students May 2001
Easter 2001 The end of Foot and Mouth – Coastal footpaths reopen. Cornwall and the Zoo is open! Keeper Wendy Winstanley and coati baby (Lunes? Mardes?) with our first cohort of students including Katie Pound (right)  Mid Cornwall Advertiser April – May 2001 
Mark Stanley Becky Booker WMN 31012002
Cornwall College Newquay HE and FE Students Mark Stanley and Becky Booker with Keeper Jinny Pearce,  Western Morning News, 31 January 2002.

There was a lot of press coverage to do with problems with exotic pets that were widely publicised at the time, another good discussion topic with students and visitors.


Over the years we have had a range of leaflets advertising various courses, including the first colour HND leaflet with our lovely old lioness Lizzie yawning on the first one in 1999 / 2000. An attraction to sleepy students? 

HND St Austell College Connie yawn

HND St Austell College Connie yawn inside page
Colour glimpses of our old Zoo vet Mike King, Wendy Winstanley and Claire Roper in our Wildlife Hospital – HND leaflet 1999
wildlfe hosp Claire Roper Mike King vet 1996
Claire Roper as was and Mike King our Zoo Vet, Newquay Zoo Wildlife Hospital, mid / late 1990s
HND St Austell College Connie yawn back
Many mature students arrived with us at college years after school qualifications: “You should come and tell us about yourself. If you show you can cope with the demands of study, we can offer you a place” – this is the HE HND 2000/2001 leaflet.

Very soon a wider range of courses developed including Marine Biology / Marine Aquaculture and  Wildlife Education and Media. HNDs (Higher National Diplomas) became Foundation Degrees (FdScs). We offered first BTecs, then now City and Guilds at 16-18.

Some of the staff from the first year or so – Lawrence Moores, Rebecca Allen – are still there teaching and undertaking research. Some of our ex-Zoo staff have gone onto teaching at Cornwall College Newquay  such as Ruth Martin and Jamie Strike. 

In time we moved on from being part of St Austell College to being part of Cornwall College. We were proudly part of the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) which, with some European funding, aimed  to bring wider FE and HE opportunities close to home for Cornish students and attract bright minds to the county. Slowly reversing the previous ‘Brain Drain‘ of talent out of Cornwall upcountry!

Eventually we were able to offer a  top-up year to our Foundation Degree to a full BSc degree level, so students can now study in Cornwall College Newquay from the age of 16 through to 21, from Further Education through to Higher Education degree.

I’m sure that local west country species and habitats have benefitted from the close scrutiny and support, as well as worldwide conservation in more exotic places.

FdSc Marine AquacultureFdSc Marine Aquaculture back

FdSc Marine Aquaculture A5  inside .jpg
“What is Marine Aquaculture?” A glimpse of the first college building built next door for 2003 – FdcSc leaflet undated.

If you want to apply to Cornwall College Newquay today or in the future, try their website (on the WWW!) to look at the range of FE and HE courses on offer:



So here’s to the new intake of students and another busy college year or twenty. 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive, 22 August 2019.

RIP Les Beckett of Newquay Zoo – Not Forgotten.

Sad to hear via old staff member Tracy McKenzie from Les Beckett’s Son-in-Law that the lovely Les Beckett has passed away.

Les is fondly remembered as a proper gentleman by those surviving staff from his zoo years (1996-2007). We send out thoughts and prayers to his wife and family.

PP 5 P1 SUM 1997

Les retired from Newquay Zoo back in 2007, having joined us on site and maintenance staff (but like all of us did a bit of everything) as this Paw Prints Vol 1 No 5 Summer 1997 zoo newsletter story testifies (February 1997). I remember typing up this amusing story of him getting wet feeding the Capybaras (this happened to all of us!)

capybara island 1996 SP170

Les was happy around the grounds working with our former Head Gardener Michael Perry, I’m sure I remember both of them working methodically and puffing  away on pipes at one stage. A pipe kept you warm in winter, apparently.

Les Beckett Dave Fred Mike W via Claire T
Les with pipe and fellow staff members (received via Facebook) 
Spot Les Beckett  second from right, back row behind our current  Curator John Meek.


Les Beckett Scrooge 2001
Christmas 2000/1 – Les Beckett as Scrooge, our alternative Santa. 
Les Beckett Scrooge via Claire T
Les as Scrooge our alternative Santa with pet rat (received via Claire Tomaszewski on Facebook) 

For a few  glorious summers in them late Nineties /  early Noughties, Les drove me  around Cornwall in the Zoo van to do animal encounters at many different holiday parks and community venues. Some areas of the County still strongly remind me of dashing between encounters with Les driving the Van. Les was a great driver, getting us from venue to venue on time using his backroads knowledge on a tight schedule. He also showed himself to be a witty, thoughtful and charming man to all the holiday makers and locals who came to hear us talk about and show our small animals. He turned his hand to animal handling as required. He turned his hand to most jobs around the zoo as required.

Les Beckett 1st September 2007
Les Beckett Retires from Newquay Zoo, 1 September 2007

If my memory serves me correctly, having worked with hundreds of people at the Zoo, I recall that Les had many funny stories from his post office days, having recently  retired from the GPO as a local ‘line man’. (Insert Bad Singing of John Denver’s ‘Wichita Line Man’ here). He trained at Bletchley Park when it was a Post Office / GPO training station on a slightly surreal succession of taller and taller telegraph poles, some barely off the ground.

Once Les had retired, we still saw him on the odd Art-y occasion with his wife Sheila as part of the local arts and painting scene, when we hosted art events here at the zoo. However few people knew at the zoo that Les was also a  model!   I remember as we drove, Les talked about sitting for and being painted by a ‘local artist’ over a number of weeks.

les beckett CGuar 29404
Les Beckett, in Desideratum by Nicholas Williams, Cornish Guardian 29 April 2004

This local artist was no less than Newquay’s Nicholas Williams working out of his studio in Newquay’s old Lifeboat House http://www.nicholascwilliams.co.uk/ The portrait of Les as part of a large symbolic triptych (three part painting) ‘Desideratum’ travelled far and wide.

Les Beckett Nicholas Williams Desideratum triptcych-detail

I went to see this portrait in Truro, where he was the cover of the RCM Truro leaflet in 2004.

Les Beckett RCM leaflet Nicholas Williams Desideratum triptcych-detail

No surprise that he was chosen, Les was a handsome and quite rugged, striking looking man. Unlike some of our gardens and site staff in the past, we usually saw Les with his shirt on at work.

Les PP37 P10 Spring 2008 les beckett crop
Paw prints announces his retirement 2007
Leaving do 1996 Geoff Les Bex Courtney
A leaving do with a trio of Newquay Zoo characters now no longer with us – the late Courtney Eustice, Geoff Gerry and Les Beckett. ‘Bex’ (Rebecca Allen) still works at Cornwall College Newquay next door! c. 1996
CRaig Rodham leaving do 1996 97
After work, end of season party – Les Beckett sits next to Keeper Lucy Bennetts as Jon Blount our Curator gives Craig Rodham an unusual leaving trophy award c. 1996/7. The late Courtney Eustice in background.
lemur island Hut 1994
I have  a feeling Les had a hand in this Show Home joke whilst building  over on the Lemur Island c. 1994/5

staff photo Gold Visitor Attraction 2006

Les Beckett will forever be part of the Newquay Zoo staff family – seen here celebrating news of our winning Gold Visitor Attraction of the Year in the Cornwall Tourism Awards December 2006.

staff photo awards 2006
Les Beckett extreme left front, Newquay Zoo, December 2006

Remembering Happy Days!

Farewell Les Beckett, Rest in Peace  – warmly remembered by us at Newquay Zoo.

Many warm memories by staff on my Facebook repost of this news, along with details of Les Beckett’s funeral.

Blog posted by Mark Norris using Newquay Zoo Archive materials, 24 July 2019.

Newquay Zoo is celebrating its 50th Anniversary Year, opening on  26 May 1969.




Newquay Zoo Paw Prints Newsletter April 2000


PP 12 P1 April 2000
An important and controversial topic to address – Why have Zoos? 
WMNews Feb 97 Wendy
Wendy Winstanley and our Busy Hedgehog / Wildlife Hospital still in the news 1997 and 2000


PP 12 P2 April 2000.jpg
Penguin Club and Wildlife Hospital News 


PP 12 P3 April 2000.jpg
Arrivals and Departures and Herb Gardens for Monkeys … we have pictures in our archive of these worth tracking down. 
HND St Austell College Connie yawn
Very shortly in September 2000 the first students would arrive for these courses at the Zoo – Lizzie our lioness 
PP 12 P4 April 2000
Fota Wildlife Park Education Conference 1999
Pelicans Fota 1999
Fota Wildlife Park Pelicans 1999
PP 12 P5 April 2000.jpg
Fota Wildlife Park 


Capybara Fota 1999
Fota Wildlife Park Capybara group 1999 – a zoo with lakes and islands that reminds me lots of Newquay Zoo. 

PP 12 P6 April 2000

PP 12 P7 April 2000



PP 12 P8 April 2000
Possibly the saddest page in the whole of our Zoo Newsletters … I shall have to track down a photo of Marc from amongst our thousands of photos. 

I remember Marc and his family well, he was a delightful and sometimes exhausting bundle of energy and curiosity! The day we heard that he had died in December 1999  was one of the saddest days I remember at the Zoo.  Mike Thomas also talked about Marc on his Wild Planet Trust YouTube interview and at his 50th Anniversary talk on 26th May 2019

A quiet place at the entrance to the Oriental Gardens area where Marc’s ashes are scattered (taken 2019)  – his parents Anne and Dave  when they still lived in Cornwall used to decorate the middle tree at Christmas! 

When Mike Thomas retired in 2003 he continued work on the Marc’s Arc charity and eventually the remainder of these funds went to Little Harbour Children’s Hospice Southwest. Little Harbour families keep in touch with us at the Dreamnight evening event each year, bringing many of their  children with serious health conditions and their families to the zoo for one special night.

I’m sure Marc and his family would approve!

More news on the zoo in 2000 in our next Paw Prints newsletter reprinted with added colour photographs!

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Education using Newquay Zoo Archive images as part of our ongoing 50th Anniversary celebrations. 

You can still enjoy our popular free “Then and Now Trail” remains up of vintage Newquay Zoo images and a brief colourful history of Newquay Zoo on the Timeline by the Dragon Maze.

Happy 50th Birthday Newquay Zoo 26th May 2019

Happy Birthday to Us! Newquay Zoo is 50 on Sunday 26th May 2019.


It has been great over the past year catching up with so many people involved with Newquay Zoo past and present as visitors or staff – our archive blog here will continue into the future reprinting newsletters, press cuttings, photos and memories.

If you can’t make it down to see us on Sunday 26th May 2019  or during our anniversary year, why not ‘visit’ us via YouTube?

Explore our fabulous new You Tube videos on our new Wild Planet Trust YouTube channel,  interviewing staff past and present including two of our earliest staff or staff families filmed and edited by Oliver Newton-Browne.

  • Mrs Marshall, wife of the 1970s and 1980s Curator Norman Marshall
  • Barry Hyde, gardener, who helped to build and plant the zoo 1960s to 1990s 

On the same YouTube channel you can also see interviews with Mike Thomas on owning the zoo in the 1990s, Dr. Mike Kent on setting up the Cornwall College Newquay zoo college and Jo Topham on events past. They have been illustrated with record cards and photographs from the Newquay Zoo Archive.



Rushing to get Newquay Zoo ready to open 50 years ago 25th May 1969


A chilly Whitsun Holiday in Newquay  1969 

A Thumping Good Start to Newquay Zoo?

50 years ago this weekend keepers and zoo staff led by Peter Lowe, Norman Marshall and others were scrambling to get Newquay Zoo open to the public.

Originally planned to open for Saturday 24th May 1969, Newquay Zoo was still awaiting the arrival of  quite a few animals down windy Cornish and West Country roads, it being still a few years before the M5 opened.

The evening before opening Sunday 25th May must have been an interesting and busy moment. animals were settling in to their new surroundings and meeting their new keepers.

Head Council Gardener Ernie Littlefield’s gardens and grounds were finally ready to be seen and enjoyed by the public, after months of hard work by his team including gardener Barry Hyde, whom we interviewed for our YouTube channel.

Newquay Zoo finally opened two days late at 10 a.m. on Whit Monday 26th May 1969. Admission 3/6 for adults, 1/6 per child and two shillings for parking. 

A date and time to celebrate!

pp-10b-p5-july-1999 opening 1969
New of the Newquay Zoo opening finally 26 May 1969

Reprinted from our 30th Birthday coverage PawPrints newsletter 1999


£30,000 in the making … 4000 visitors on the first day – this seems almost unbelievable!

Then and Now … 50 years later, it’s been tight getting everything ready for our Anniversary on Sunday 26 May 2019 – but we’ve managed most of the things we’ve planned.

From YouTube video interviews and Time Capsules to Zoo Ring Tail Ale, flowerbeds to our Then and  Now vintage photo trail and NZ50 Timeline exhibitions,  lots of things to enjoy, along with entertainment on the day.

It’s been a busy few months for Vicky, Beth and the rest of the NZ50 team getting this all together. A year and a half in the planning seemed to go so fast.


Although there is no formal  planned staff reunion at the zoo, I  hope we’ll see a few old faces of staff and visitors.

Mike Thomas is coming back at 1.30 pm on Sunday 26th May 2019 to talk about his Zoo Years running the zoo from 1993 to 2003, whilst I will be sharing stories from the council years 1969 to 1993.  

Wherever you are on the 26th, I’m sure you’ll join us all in wishing Newquay Zoo a happy birthday and 50 more interesting years!

We are always on the lookout for old Newquay Zoo photos, memorabilia and memories to add to our archive – we’d love to hear from you – keep in touch!

Mark Norris, Education Officer, Newquay Zoo using material from our Archive 25 May 1969/ 2019

P.S. If you want to know what the zoo will be like in 2069, I will shortly feature on this blog some of the interesting and imaginative predictions by Year 4 Newquay Junior Academy. These  are also archived and copied in the 2019 Time Capsule for opening in our centenary year 2069, buried on Thursday 23rd May 2019 in the presence of many of our Trustees and staff.  Have a look for the plaque along the maze road  and the Anniversary Tree in the Oriental Garden. Great fun!


A Bug Free Millennium with Zoo 2000 cake

New Years Day 2000 staff shot
A small gathering of some of the staff working New Year’s Day 2000 at Newquay Zoo.

Our latest Newquay Zoo Archive offering:

Full of hope for the New Millennium? pictured here is a small zoo staff gathering on the café patio on New Year’s day 2000, ahead of serving cake and bubbly to our visitors at Newquay Zoo.

Left to right in the picture, Newquay Zoo January 1st 2000: Zoo Owner / Director Mike Thomas (wearing tie), Happy Keepers Jinny Pearce, Vicky Buscombe, Roger Williams, Chris Farhall, young zoo volunteers and ex-Penguin Club members Ben Pike  and Nick Callender. (Nick later went into keepering).

Holding the banner: left  Craig Rodham  and (right) keeper Mark “Cheski” Tomaszewski.

Our longest serving keepers Mark Cheski and Roger Williams are still working here as keepers 19 years later, as we approach our 50th Anniversary on 26 May 1969 / 2019.

We were all relieved that morning that the  dreaded Y2K Millennium Bug had not wiped the few old computers that we had, crashed our website and caused widespread power shortages, plane crashes, general chaos, the appearance of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse etc.

I remember that much the same ‘tourism apocalypse’ was predicted locally for the 11th August 1999 Total Solar Eclipse a few months before (see previous blog posts). So we thought we were disaster planning  veterans already, but none of us expected the Fuel Strike and Foot and Mouth Epidemic of 2001.

2000 cake Di Eade Maxine
Full of hope for the New Millennium? Past staff members Dianne Eade cutting our Zoo 2000 cake with help from Maxine in the Café, New Year’s Day January 1st  2000.

This  Zoo snake logo that was morphed in to the ‘2000’ on our Millennium banner was based on a US zoo design. It was briefly used around the Millennium early 2000s until no later than 2003, alongside the Newquay Zoo ‘pawprint one from 1996-2003.

NZ zoo business card logos
A selection of our logos from 1996 to the 2000 snake and  the long running 2003 – 2017 “zebra’s backside” logo. Old emails, old phone numbers  …

The Zoo snake logo wasn’t around for more than a year or two c. 2000 but did make it onto a few uniforms, such as this denim uniform shirt in our archive.


I was working at the Zoo that New Year’s Day and am not entirely sure why I wasn’t in the Millennium staff photograph with the others. I was probably off doing a feeding talk.

I also had a pounding headache from one glass of champagne the night before (Champagne, I discovered, doesn’t agree with me!) so I was avoiding the bubbly served to staff and zoo visitors. Go for the cake instead!

 B.P.S. – Blog Post Script

Somewhere in my family bangles, bracelets and jewellery box, we have a quirky little metal Millennium Bug brooch, made locally, that I bought from the Zoo Shop. I will have to dig this out for the blog.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo Archive, on 9 May 2019, as part of the photos released from our Archives as we count down the last few weeks to our Newquay Zoo 50th Birthday Anniversary on Sunday 26 May 2019.