Very Happy Birthday at Blackpool Zoo

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Blackpool Zoo is hailing its 40th anniversary year as its busiest yet with visitor numbers, revenue, internet sales and school visits all hitting all-time highs!

Blackpool Zoo Anniversary logo

Blackpool Zoo Anniversary logo

Della Belk, PR and Marketing Manager at Blackpool Zoo said: “We are delighted to announce that despite the unpredictable weather we have enjoyed our busiest season on record during our 40th anniversary year!

Blackpool Zoo is hailing its 40th anniversary year as its busiest yet with visitor numbers, revenue, internet sales and school visits all hitting all-time highs!

Visitor numbers are up one per cent on the previous year, revenue saw a four cent hike, internet sales were boosted by 16 per cent and 12 per cent more schools came through the doors of the award winning attraction.

The addition of new species, a £500,000 new Wolf Ridge enclosure, significant births and the introduction of a new tigress all contributed to a very ‘Happy Birthday’.

Giant anteaters arrived in Blackpool at the start of the season and their striking appearance caused a real stir amongst visitors.

As its name suggests, it is the largest of the anteater species and from the tip of its impressive snout to its rump it can measure up to four feet, with its magnificent bushy tail adding a further three!

The one year old female, Andina from Madrid, and a male of the same age from Sweden, who is called Eskil, have settled into their new home very nicely.

A family of Iberian wolves also moved into the zoo this year after the completion of a new £500,000 enclosure.

It is the first time that Blackpool Zoo has housed any wolf species they made their zoo debut over the Jubilee weekend. They have been an extremely popular addition and visitors have flocked to see them through the huge glass windows and from the specially elevated walkway that has been built to overlook the spacious paddock and wolf den.

Friday July 4th marked 40 years since the zoo first opened its doors after TV’s Johnny Morris rode to the new attraction in front of the Mayor’s car on Tower Circus elephant Katsula.

Pupils from Stanley Infants School in Marton, which in 1973 became the first school to take part in an educational visit, attended a special birthday party and were entertained by Mooky and Mr Boo from the Tower Circus.

The festivities were also attended by Russell Catlow, former Assistant Director at Blackpool Zoo, who has been involved with the attraction throughout its 40 year history.

He started as a trainee camel keeper and worked his way up to Assistant Director before retiring in January of this year.

Just a couple of months later Russell returned to the zoo as weekend duty manager! He works most weekends and loves being back.

A new tiger roared into town in September to form a breeding pair with the zoo’s resident top cat Zambar.

Alyona, who is four years old, arrived from her birthplace SafariparkBeekse Bergen in the Netherlands and has been getting to know her new mate since.

November saw the birth of two hugely significant animals. A Western Lowland Gorilla, whose sex is yet to be determined, arrived to first time mum Njema and Benni the male Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra foal was born to Betti.

Western Lowland Gorillas are critically endangered and Hatrmann’s Mountain Zebras are classed as vulnerable, with around 9000 left in the wild.

Both babies are vital to their respective breeding programmes and are proving very popular with visitors.

Della Belk, PR and Marketing Manager at Blackpool Zoo said: “We are delighted to announce that despite the unpredictable weather we have enjoyed our busiest season on record during our 40th anniversary year!

“We believe that this is a reflection of the continued investment in Blackpool Zoo as well as positive word of mouth, innovative marketing and fabulous support from our local, regional and national press.

“It is absolutely fantastic to see families thoroughly enjoying themselves despite the weather and current financial circumstances and, as we are open every day of the year apart from Christmas Day, we look forward to seeing everyone over the winter.”

Blackpool Zoo is open at 10.00am every day of the year except Christmas Day. From Monday 5th November 2012 to February 2013 closing time is 3.45 and last admission is 3.00pm. Visitors can save on admission prices by booking online at http://www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk.

Ends

Pictures show: A selection of key moments from the anniversary year. For higher resolution versions of the images please contact Paula Holden on 01772 679383 or email paula(at)icgonline(dot)co(dot)uk

More information about Blackpool Zoo:
Blackpool Zoo celebrated its 40th anniversary on Friday 6th July 2012. It was in 1972 when 3543 visitors attended the launch, which saw TV’s Johnny Morris ride in front of the Mayor’s car on Tower Circus elephant Katsula.

Blackpool Zoo is owned by ParquesReunidos, the second largest European leisure parks operator and a leading world-wide player. The zoo is home to over 1,500 mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates set amidst thirty-two acres of mature woodland and lakes.

The zoo’s signature animals include elephants, giraffes, big cats, gorillas, orang-utans, sea lions, primates, zebras and kangaroos. It is open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, from 10am.

For further information please contact:
Paula Holden or Julie Hackett at ICG PR on 01772 679383 or email paula(at)icgonline(dot)co(dot)uk or julie(at)icgonline(dot)co(dot)uk
Out of office hours contact: Paula Holden on 07772268378

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Paula Holden
ICG PR
07772268378
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Julie Hackett
ICG PR
01772 679 383
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