Newquay Zoo is 50 this month – and over half a century, the Cornish zoo has gone from a modest council-run seaside leisure attraction to a conservation charity with international connections.

Today (Thursday 23 May) the anniversary celebrations will include a time capsule burial and a tree planting with pupils from Newquay Junior Academy. Guests will include Trustees of Wild Planet Trust (the charity that runs Newquay Zoo, along with Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts in Devon), as well as current and former members of staff.

On Sunday 26 May the zoo will be one big birthday party, with special talks, a BBQ, live music from 60s band 19Sixties, giant games, face painting and raffle. Education Officer Mark Norris will talk about the history of the zoo during the years when it was run by the local council, former owner Mike Thomas will talk about his time in charge and Curator of Animals John Meek will talk about the zoo as it is now, in charity ownership. There will be special animal feeds and talks on the day. Guests will receive a special map showing the zoo as it was in 1969 and the zoo as it is now.

Wild Planet Trust spokesperson Phil Knowling says: “Congratulations to Newquay Zoo on reaching this landmark, and congratulations to everyone – staff, volunteers, guests and supporters – who has helped make Newquay Zoo such an amazing place. It started as a small local zoo but it has made its mark nationally and internationally in conservation, education and the breeding of rare species.”

A set of exhibition panels has been created to tell the story of the zoo – these can be found near the Dragon Maze. In addition, there’s a Then and Now trail highlighting how the zoo has changed and evolved over 50 years. For more information go to

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