Blackpool Zoo Park, Blackpool
Zoo/Wildlife Park/Centre - Address: East Park Drive, Blackpool FY3 8PP
25 reviews from the community
Review of "Blackpool Zoo Park, Blackpool"
Bit worried about my wife's driving. She told me the other day that she nearly ran over a squirrell on her way to work - hey, this is an animal that LIVES IN A TREE!!
Blackpool Zoo is arguable the closest to where I live (with South Lakes Animal Park a close contender for nearness). We’ve visited a few times, and revisited a couple of weeks ago.
The Zoo isn’t far from the town centre - apparently about 2 miles from the “Golden Mile”, and close to Stanley Park and Blackpool Victoria Hospital. For those with satnav, the post code is FY3 8PP. It’s well signed, and there is no need to negotiate town centre traffic and road vagaries to get there.A bus service apaprently operates, and there is a bus stop just outside the Zoo's entrance.
Car parkingWe found the car parking adequate; it should be noted, however, that there is a separate charge for car parking. In fairness, this is because the Zoo does not own the car park.
Getting inWe visited on a weekday in August. The queue was not overly long; pre-booking on line facilitates fast-track entry with minimal queuing. Unless visiting on an exceptionally busy day, the entrance “gates” are inside the entrance building, and the queue is effectively indoors.
The website gives more detail about prices. Here is a summaryAdult: Advance on-line FROM £13.99; on the gate £17.99
Senior Citizen/Student: Advance on-line FROM £11.99; on the gate £15.99Disabled adult: Advance on-line FROM £8.50; on the gate £10.75
Various family/group tickets are also available.
At my age, these are increasingly important, hence their inclusion at this point! There are toilets in the (indoor) entrance area, and several others around the zoo. We found them to be fairly clean and adequate, and both male and female toilets contained baby changing facilities.The snack bar/restaurant that serves basic but decent fodder and, depending on the time of year, ice cream/confectionary stalls.
On the day in question there were plenty of benches available for sitting and eating. We didn’t notice any provision for eating a packed lunch under cover. I’m not saying there was no such provision, simply that we didn’t notice any.As is to be expected, the gift shop sells everything from pocket-money tat to gifts such as prints and tee shirts.
Like many zoos, various offers, deals and experiences are available, ranging from discounted tickets, “keeper for the day”, feeding, and having a photograph taken. These are advertised on their website and within the Zoo itself.There is an “dinosaur safari” with life-sized models of various dinosaurs, and a “Children’s’ Zoo”.
Shows and talksA parrot show takes place daily, as does a bird of prey display. A roofed area with benches has been thoughtfully provided. The parrot show was fairly brief, with each bird doing a trick or two, and little information is given about the birds themselves, which is a slight pity.
A sea lion show takes place daily; we missed this. It’s easy to see this purely as an entertainment for the paying public; I reckon that, provided that it’s done responsibly, kindly, and using the animals’ natural movements, it’s in fact a good way of providing exercise and stimulation for them.One area of improvement could easily be made to the information talks that take place at various times of the day, for instance about the lions, tigers, and elephant. The P.A. is of poor quality, and the talk was hard to hear and to follow. I feel that it would be helpful for the keepers who undertake this to be given some mentoring about how far away to hold the microphone, speaking more slowly, and pronouncing word endings more clearly so that words don’t run together. This is no disrespect to the keepers who speak, but it would be very easy to improve. We found the two talks we heard not to be helpful at all.
The animalsBlackpool Zoo has a number of iconic species: Amur (Siberian) tigers, African lions, Asian elephant, gorillas, orang utans, giraffes, zebras.
Some of the lesser known species we saw were Asian short-clawed otters, several species of lemur, Iberian wolves, American porcupine, bongo antelope (almost bright red in colour!) and blesbok antelope. There is a reasonable sized collection of reptiles and amphibians, and a few invertebrates. We failed to see the giant anteater (a shame, as we discovered later that there was a baby anteater), probably because we didn’t look closely enough.In my opinion, the animals are well looked after; the Iberian wolves were sleek and lean, as they should be. Although there is only one Asian elephant at present, signs advised that the animal is carefully monitored for signs of stress, and that a new enclosure and building are under construction, and plans are well under way for introducing other elephants.
The animals appeared to be healthy, and many were very active. Some of the animals’ behaviour is stimulated by feeding methods; the lions and tigers are given varying amounts of food on different days, and on some days, are not fed at all. This replicates their natural behaviour. Their food is also hidden in the enclosures, and one male lion was clearly trying to catch the scent of its food, its nostrils flaring and its mouth opening and closing to draw scent onto its tongue.The enclosures were, in my opinion, of adequate to generous size, and were clean. As with any responsible zoo, Blackpool Zoo is committed to conservation, including captive breeding. Gone are the days when zoos were collections of animal species, one-of this, and two-of-that. In some ways it’s a pity, as it’s nice when visiting a zoo to see lots and lots of species, but I’d far rather see fewer species in generously sized enclosures and, where possible, with a group of others of the same species.
A comparison with other zoosWe spent about 4 hours at Blackpool Zoo. We enjoyed viewing the animals at a leisurely pace. We found the number of animal species satisfying, the Zoo itself fairly compact (we love Chester Zoo, but it’s far more spread-out; the gardens are gorgeous, the range of animal species very large, but there’s no denying that it can make for a tiring day!) Apparently, Blackpool Zoo covers around 32 acres.
Although we visited on a weekday in summer holidays, we didn’t feel crowded or jostled at any time.We enjoyed the walk-through lemur enclosure, which provided some great photo opportunities, and quite enjoyed the walk-through “Amazonia” enclosure/aviary, though some of the animals and birds were elusive and we felt that it could have housed more free-flying bird species than it did.
Overall commentsWe had a very enjoyable day and will visit again. Whilst we would have liked to see more animal species, we enjoyed leisurely viewing of the animals that the Zoo has, and we appreciated the Zoo’s compactness.
Whilst it was a little disappointing to have to pay for car parking, this is entirely due to the car park not being owned (or needing to be maintained) by the Zoo, and it wasn’t unduly expensive (£2.00 or £2.50 for the day, from memory).I’ve deducted one star for the difficulty we had in listening to the talks. It’s not that big a deal but would be so easy to remedy, at least in part, and sadly although a lot of information was given, very little of it could be heard.
Assorted factsWebsite: http://www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk/
Opening times: from 10.00 a.m. daily (closed on Christmas Day – “our reindeer are busy”), closing times vary seasonallyThe Zoo website doesn’t contain readily available statistics; another website states that it is home to about 1500 animals (mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, and invertebrates, but doesn’t confirm the number of species. dependent
Product Information : Blackpool Zoo Park, Blackpool
Manufacturer's product descriptionZoo/Wildlife Park/Centre - Address: East Park Drive, Blackpool FY3 8PP
Address: East Park Drive, Blackpool FY3 8PP
Type: Zoo/Wildlife Park/Centre
Listed on Ciao since: 29/06/2005