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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

It’s an extra special Easter as Belfast Zoo turns 90!

Arrival of Daisy the elephant in 1930s

Arrival of Daisy the elephant in 1930s

Belfast Zoo turns 90 on 28th March 2024 and will be kicking off a year of celebrations for this milestone birthday on Easter Sunday to Tuesday 2 April.

The zoo is hosting free family fun and activities to interest the whole family, along with the chance to win some fantastic prizes as zoo memberships, animal adoptions, family passes and super souvenirs!

The zoo originally opened in March 1934 and was home to tigers, polar bears, baboons, kangaroos, camels, brown bears, and leopards among other species. Today the zoo remains on the scenic Cavehill site and is home to over 110 species of animal including elephants, lions, giraffes, Andean bears, penguins, sea lions and much more.

Opening of Belfast zoo in 1934

Opening of the zoo in 1934

Julie Bryans, Commercial Support Officer, said:

“At 90 years old, we’re one of Northern Ireland’s oldest visitor attractions, and we’re delighted to be hosting an event where everyone can come together to enjoy a family day out and share their memories of Belfast Zoo.

"Sunday 31st March is the first day of the zoo's summer opening hours, 10am to 6pm, so visitors can enjoy a longer stay at the zoo! They can drop by the history hub and chat to our education team who will be sharing interesting facts about the zoo, and there will be a display of pictures of the zoo throughout the years, the little ones can dance along to the bubble bike and get an animal themed glitter tattoo!”

Julie continued:

“On Monday and Tuesday, visitors can pose for photographs with one of the walkabout characters who will be popping up around the zoo, explore the zoo site and complete our Easter trail competition to be in with a chance of winning a fabulous prize!

"We’ve arranged additional parking at the Valley Centre car park and an accessible shuttle bus will run every half hour between 11am and 6pm. Zoo members and visitors with accessibility needs can also avail of priority entry between 9am and 10am.

"We have special events and activities planned throughout this year, so keep your eyes peeled on our social media accounts for updates!”

The lake at the zoo in 1930

The lake at the zoo in 1930

John Fisher, zoo Education Officer, said:

“As well as being a fantastic visitor attraction on the spectacular slopes of the Cave Hill, Belfast Zoo has other vital roles. An important role of any zoo is that of education: instilling an appreciation of the magnificence of wildlife and habitats, helping people discover what is happening to habitats and animals and encouraging everyone to do something for all wildlife.”

John continued:

“This year also marks 40 years of education at Belfast Zoo! So this milestone year we want to celebrate both the past and the future. The role of the zoo has changed significantly over the years, and zoos are now seen as an essential place where many species which are under threat can be preserved and maintained. We are dedicated to continuing our conservation efforts both locally and globally to protect wildlife that is increasingly under threat.”


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