Monday, 24 July 2017

Cornish Adventures Part Two: Newquay Zoo

While we were on holiday in Cornwall last month, we didn't have any of our time planned out, but there were a few favourite places we all agreed we had to visit before the week was up- St. Ives, Perranporth, Padstow, Rick Stein's fish and chip shop, and Newquay Zoo.

On the Tuesday morning, we decided to check another place off the list, and headed out bright and early to visit the zoo, set on the outskirts of the popular seaside town of Newquay.

We arrived at the zoo just before opening time, but we were able to park up, and happily waited for it to open. When 10am came and went with no sign of the gates opening, my first thought was that they must had suffered some damage during the storm the night before. We'd had a full day and night of heavy rain and 100 MPH gale force winds on the Monday which felt borderline apocalyptic, so it seemed like the most plausible explanation.

When the gates finally opened twenty or thirty minutes late, my suspicions were confirmed. They'd had to close half of the zoo to the public because of damage from the storm, but they were offering half price admission, and free entry if we returned again with our tickets during the following seven days. Since we had all visited Newquay Zoo countless times before, we were happy with that, and decided to go in anyway, which only cost us about £7 each. Result! Cheap day out!

My sister and I have been visiting Newquay Zoo since we were kids, and have probably paid a visit to the place during every holiday we've ever taken to Cornwall (which is many), so we know the zoo well, and didn't mind that we couldn't see everything because we'd done it all before. They'd said about half of the zoo was cordoned off, but it was more like a third, and luckily turned out to be the area with few animals and more plant life, so we didn't miss out on too much.

We spent about two hours wandering around the zoo enjoying the sunshine that had finally put in an appearance, and of course, all of the animals that we saw- monkeys, macaques, lions, capybaras, penguins, lemurs, warty pigs, parrots, lizards, snakes, farmyard animals...  to name but a few. My favourites had to be the adorable slender loris in the nocturnal house, the armadillos, and the tapirs, which are one of my most favourite animals. What can I say? I like the weird ones! Did you know tapirs are closely related to rhinos, and that they can whistle? No? Well, you do now!

I was a little disappointed that we couldn't spot the lynx, and that the area with the otters was cordoned off, but we did get to see a peacock displaying his pretty feathers when we stopped for a drink at the kiosk. I would've liked to have got closer to him to take some better shots, but he wasn't a happy peacock, so it was safer to keep my distance, and make do with these crappy photos instead. (Sorry for the quality of these photos; I was using an old point and shoot because Rosie had broken my Canon with her teeth, and I couldn't afford to replace it).

Newquay Zoo doesn't have many large animals- lions, lynx, and tapirs are about it- but they have a wonderful menagerie of smaller animals, and enough variety to keep a visit interesting for people of all ages.

It's quite a small zoo- smaller than The Cotswold Wildlife Park and Twycross Zoo, to give you an idea- but it's a lovely little zoo, and beautifully designed with lots of trees, plants, and flowers everywhere, and even a small lake. It only takes a couple of hours to walk around the entire zoo to see everything, but it's the perfect amount of time for a day trip by the coast because it leaves you more time to spend at the beach afterwards! You could stretch it out to a full afternoon if you took your time watching all of the animals, stopped for a bite to eat, and took your kids to the playground, but it usually takes us no longer than three make it out the exit after an enjoyable visit.

You have to exit through the gift shop, so of course, we gave it a good browse before we left. I came away with a couple of small dream catchers- one for myself, and one to take home for my younger sister.

We all had such a great time at the zoo, and I don't think any of us felt our visit was spoilt just because a good chunk of it was inaccessible. We were more than satisfied with all the adorable animals we did see.

As a huge animal lover, I've always loved  a good day out at the zoo. I've even done work experience in a couple! I just love being around so many weird and wonderful animals. Whenever I take a trip somewhere and there's a zoo nearby, you can be sure I'll find time for a visit; even if I've already been there before, like I have Newquay Zoo.

When I was seventeen and planning to go to uni once I'd finished my National Diploma in animal care, I was actually all set to study a foundation degree in Newquay's Cornwall College very close to the zoo. The course would have actually involved some work with the zoo, and part of my interview involved doing a project there with a few others. I can't remember exactly what it was about, but I think we had to evaluate or come up with improvements for a habitat. I just remember that we chose the tropical house because it was February and fucking freezing outside! I ended up getting cold feet about moving away from home a month before I was due to start the course because I was so incredibly shy at the time, so I dropped out, and I still regret it all these years later, even though I know I wouldn't have coped. While we were at the zoo, I couldn't help thinking what could have been, and what my life could have been like now if I had gone through with it, but I guess I'll never know. I just know I would have loved it if it meant I got to work at Newquay Zoo now and then!

We did consider returning to the zoo again later in the week to do the sections we missed out on, but we never made it back in the end. We were too busy visiting lots of other awesome places. After our trip to the zoo, we headed back to the holiday park for a rest, and later Marie and I went in to Perranporth, browsed the seaside shops, and sat looking out over Perranporth beach with the most amazing Snickers ice cream from a local ice cream parlour. It was heavenly.

If you're an animal lover and you're ever in Cornwall, you need to pay Newquay Zoo a visit! I promise you'll love it as much as we do.

Look out for the next post from my Cornish adventures, which will be all about our visit to Padstow. Coming soon...

Do you enjoy a trip to the zoo? Which zoo is your favourite?

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  1. Great that you managed to get half price admission, but a shame about the storm damage.

  2. What a fun zoo visit - I always think Tapirs are kind of fun. My Dad's side of the family lived in Cornwall before they moved to NZ (back in the 1800s) I'd love to visit one day - the beach photo is so pretty.

  3. That pink bird is so pretty! I think your photos turned out fantastic, I actually really love the one of the peacock! I adore Tapirs, but no, I didn't know they could whistle! I find capybaras so fascinating, I can't say i've ever seen one in person, I'm unsure if any zoos have them here. Something I'd have to look into!


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