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Wildlife and more at pioneering Paignton Zoo

British wildlife can be pretty tame, but award-winning Paignton Zoo has plenty of larger animals to excite and entertain. Meet the gibbons, see Asiatic lions, tigers and crocodiles and learn about the ground-breaking hydroponics system for growing fresh food for the animals at this pioneering wildlife centre.
Spread over an 80-acre site, Paignton Zoo is set in a pleasant naturalized area where Cornish lanes meet crocodile swamp, savannah and tropical forest. Not only is it a top tourist attraction, the zoo is also dedicated to the conservation of global wildlife. Paignton Zoo continues to be an educational and scientific charity and recently trialed a new vertical hydroponics system for growing unusual fresh produce for the varied menu demanded by the inhabitants.

The zoo was founded by millionaire Herbert Whitley in 1923 and it continues to update itself, receiving the Gold Award from the Green Awards Green Tourism Business Scheme 2012 and Silver from the Regional and Miscellaneous Devon Visitor attraction 2010. The zoo continues to evolve with the times, constantly catering to changing demands while supporting vital research programs and conservation work. It now has 3,000 animals including elephants, giraffes, gorillas and a host of smaller species.

Sumatran tiger cubs and Zhuri, a rare black rhino, have both been successfully bred at the zoo, providing cute entertainment for the thrilled crowds of visitors. In fact Zhuri’s birth was the first ever to be caught on camera. The zoo frequently features on TV series such as Zookeepers and the Animal Planet channel.

Other unusual creatures include red pandas, meerkats and the orangutans, which are always a crowd-puller. See camels and cassowaries, Chilean flamingos, gibbons and many birds such as snowy owls and parrots. The best way to get the most from your day at Paignton Zoo is to plan ahead and head for the various zookeeper talks, bird shows and feeding times that are scheduled throughout the day.

Once you have exhausted the animals, take a ride on the miniature train through the beautifully landscaped grounds or take five in the onsite restaurant while the kids enjoy the Jungle Fun indoor play area. With face painting on offer, you can even take your own “little monkey” home.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

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