Newest Review: ... We spent around 3hours in the park but could have spent longer had our son not been exhausted from all the walking! I would give Blackp... more
Author Name: WackoStepho
Advantages: Reasonably priced to get in.
Disadvantages: Enclosures need a serious re-think. :(
As an animal management student I am required to visit various zoos and animal exhibits as part of my course and one of my trips recently was to Blackpool Zoo.
On entering, the first area that me and my friends explored was the "Dinosaur Safari," this attraction basically entails following various paths and coming face to face with large models of dinosaurs, which I thought looked a bit shabby in all honesty; the paint was faded and peeling off some of them and they were hardly realistic looking. There were some impressive water features granted, such as a large volcano that water erupted from, a couple of pools and also a waterfall that you could walk behind. On paper this sounds rather impressive but in my opinion it is a waste of space in the zoo; apart from some naff models and a bit of water there was little else apart from grass and a few plants. There were no interactive displays or anything to get you involved and in my view it would be so much better if the space was given to the animals - they certainly need it.
The first animal that we went to see was the tiger, I was bitterly disapointed in the enclosure and felt that the space was extremely small; even for a zoo. The entire outside area consisted of grass and nothing more, from what I could see there was no enrichment of any kind available and if the tiger had wanted to do so much as run, it would have found it difficult to do so in such a confined area. There was a path worn down around the perimeter of the enclosure close to the fence, and the one tiger I could see was relentlessly pacing up and down. There was nothing for it to climb on, nothing for it to hide in, no trees or foliage at all. It was plain to see that the animal was stressed - in my opinion, enclosures in zoos should be as near to the wild as possible, for a tiger this means that lots of trees and cover should be available as well as a lot of space as they are naturally creatures that love to roam. This of course would make viewing more difficult for the public but why should an animal's welfare be compromised just for the benefit of visitors?
Other enclosures that really made my blood boil were the giraffes and elephants. The giraffes (of which there were at least five or six of them) were standing in a small yard huddled together, they are huge animals and barely had the room to walk about and I am not exagerating here! They also had an indoor house that consisted of metal and concrete with some hay scattered on the floor; I thought perhaps that this might be temperary and that they would have some grassland or another area to roam in, further exploration of the zoo revealed no, that was all the space that they had. The elephant enclosure was frankly a disgrace. The zoo has five asian elephants and the outside area that they had could barely fit 2 of them in it; it was an extremely small paved area that left room for little more than a slow amble. The other 3 elephants were inside their house, most of which was closed off for reptile and inveterbrate exhibits. The little space that the elephants had in their own house was bare concrete and metal bars; the only enrichment they had were a few small sticks of wood on the floor. I am no animal rights activist but is this any life for an elephant? A life were they are unable to do so much as run about or even move freely.
Some exhibits were better, the sea lion tank was pretty to look at and was certainly a lot bigger than most enclosures I had seen there. This I am sure, is due to the fact that shows are performed daily and of course, it has to look good to the public. The "beach" area that the sea lions had was simply painted concrete and the water wasn't particularly deep so diving properly would be difficult. However, even so, this was by far the best enclosure the zoo had to offer. One of the funnest parts of the day was being able to walk through an enclosure of various monkeys and birds; the squirrel monkeys were very curious and loved jumping on people! Though keepers were always at hand with bottles of water to squirt them with and shoo them away.
I realise that this review may seem incredibly biased but I am not particularly against zoos at all, some zoos and safari parks such as Chester Zoo and Longleat are incredible, it's only visiting other places like Blackpool Zoo that make you realise how much better the other establishments are. Blackpool Zoo would be so much better if they just utilised the space available to them; are a load of fibreglass dinosaur models really necessary when the space could be used for the animals? Other bits I was not impressed with were the dining areas that looked really shabby and cheap but expected £2.90 for 1 slice of limp pizza! The gift shop was extremely overpriced as they often are in these places and the whole zoo gave the impression that it could do with a tidy up, a lick of paint and a serious re-plan! At £14.99 to get it, it's certainly cheaper than some zoos, but I would recommend saving your money and giving it a miss!
Summary: See review.
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