Tel: 01637 873342
About Newquay Zoo
Newquay Zoo is off Edgcumbe Road at Trenance Gardens, Newquay, in Cornwall, on the county’s beautiful northern ‘coast of dreams’. The family attraction provides both an educational and a lively and fun family day out, a ticket to Newquay Zoo granting the visitor access to a 10-acre collection of both exotic and native animal species.
The family attraction welcomes over 130,000 people a year to its innovative conservation programmes and enclosures. Winning more than 10 awards since 1996, including Visitor Attraction of the Year at the Cornwall Tourism Awards 2006, the family attraction began as a small pet’s corner in the early 60s, before opening as Animal World in 1969 within Trenance Leisure Park, with its tennis courts, swimming pool and putting green.
Council-run until 1993, Newquay Zoo’s new owners developed a partnership with St. Austell College to establish an educational facility adjacent to Newquay Zoo, which now boasts over 300 animals. In 2003, Newquay Zoo and Paignton Zoo combined as Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, which takes in Living Coasts, Slapton Ley and two urban nature reserves. Displays about Newquay Zoo’s groundbreaking conservation programmes raise awareness and encourage ticket holders to respect wildlife, the family attraction offering both an informative and engaging family day out.
The all-year round family attraction has a splendid Japanese Oriental Garden, which is home to a family of playful otters in its sub-tropical lakeside gardens, Vietnamese Owston’s Civets, cockatoos and Asian Hornbills.
The Tropical House re-creates a hot, sticky jungle rainforest and incorporates steaming waterfalls and a mock ancient temple ruin. It’s viewed by ticket holders on ground or first-floor levels and houses sloths, toucans, acouchis, pools stocked with a variety of tropical fish, basking iguanas, ribbeting toads, turtles, deer, colourful tropical birds such as parrots, touracos and tropical doves, as well as flitting insects.
Additionally there are pygmy marmoset - the world’s smallest monkey - and darting Squirrel Monkeys, who entertain visitors on a family day out with their antics up in the canopy, enhanced by periodic man-made rainstorms that sweep through the foliage and add authenticity to the experience – not something you’ll get at a run of the mill family attraction.
Another of the highlights of a family day out to Newquay Zoo are the kings and queens of the jungle, the white Lions, which are part of the African Plains enclosure opened in 1995, along with the curious Meerkats, crowd-pleasers who brighten up a family day out as they bob and weave about their reserve.
Additionally, Newquay Zoo’s plains exhibit features majestic Zebra, prickly Porcupines, graceful Antelope, pumas, insect-foraging lechwe, and Black Apes. Other rare mammals include timid Red Pandas, the carnivorous Madagascan fossa – also known as tree cats because of their appearance and ability to climb trees - and their island neighbour, the lemurs, which can be viewed via Newquay Zoo’s Lemur Walk, with daily talks and feeding sessions by their keepers. The lemurs share their re-created island domain at Newquay Zoo with golden lion tamarins, tapirs, maras and capybaras - the world’s largest rodent, which are semi-aquatic and often seen at the family attraction wallowing in their lake.
The erstwhile bear pit was developed after 1994 as a sanctuary for Sulawesi Crested macaque monkeys, who use two eight-metre trees and attached ropes for climbing and benefit from plants with abundant insect life, a two metre waterfall, and a pond where they can eat peanuts and raisins. A large window in the wall of their enclosure means that ticket holders can watch them at ground-level.
Newquay Zoo’s other monkey enclosures feature sooty mangabeys (a rare sight in the UK), diana monkeys, and western black and white colobus, while a nearby nocturnal house has fruit bats and kinkajous.
Another must-see on a family day out to Newquay Zoo are the Humboldt Penguins, which skitter about their pool like the natural performers that they are, zipping through the water and emerging on their beach for feeding by the keepers. Further feathered friends are to be found in a large walk-through aviary featuring ibis and herons - worth the price of the ticket alone if you’re a twitcher!
Other animals for ticket holders to spot on a family day out to Newquay Zoo include the Siberian lynx, skunk, venerable Great horned Owl, slithering snakes, Coatis, wallabies, and Raccoons that forage for food among the rocks and streams of their enclosure and doze in the trees.
Ticket holders can meet the keepers and the animals that they care for, and additionally there are displays about Newquay Zoo’s overseas conservation work and a Mini-beasts Room with skinks, dart frogs and other creepy crawlies.
Newquay Zoo has a host of other entertainments besides, including the Tarzan Trail, a children’s play area, the dragon maze, and animal encounters with domestic species at the children’s village farm, with its hedgehog hospital.
Furthermore, face painting is available during the summer at the ‘Wild Times’ creative club, there are picnic areas, the Capybara restaurant, Tippy’s snack bar patio café, summer barbecues by the lake and a well-stocked gift shop. Among its wares is authentic “zoopoo”, produced with the help of Duchess, an elephant at Paignton Zoo, which is made by composting organic matter and manure at high temperatures, so that it has no malodorous smell.
Newquay Zoo also has a bus service and, during the summer months, a “Surf Rider Train” around the site. The family attraction is open every day except Christmas and it caters for groups and special events such as birthday parties with face painting (details at the website).
Among Newquay Zoo’s packages are spending a day with the keepers, including the opportunity to work alongside them, taking in feeding the Lemurs, going behind the scenes with the Bird Keeper, feeding the Humboldt Penguins, joining the Keepers and Education team for Animal Encounters, working alongside the Big Cat Keeper, feeding the animals on the African Plains, and assisting the Tropical House Keeper. The package includes a lunch, T-shirt, photos and information about the animals, a certificate, guidebook, Newquay Zoo keeper badge and a year’s subscription to the zoo’s Paw Prints Newsletter. Furthermore, school parties can learn about endangered habitats and animals, develop their foreign language skills and gain insights into the tourism business.
With ample parking and a level site that is wheelchair-friendly, Newquay Zoo really is a family attraction that everyone can enjoy on an action-packed family day out.