Nostalgia: Looking back at Guilsborough Zoo

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We have dug into the archives to find these photos of one of the area’s most popular family days out.

Guilsborough’s ‘zoo’ first opened its doors to the public in 1971 and it lasted for 20 years, with thousands of people making their way there over the decades.

The attaction was run by the Symington family, and not only featured the various animals, but also the wider grounds of the house for walking, a flower garden, playground, and picnic area.

Based at the Grange on the edge of the village, the park opened up at first with a few birds and family pets.

Over the years the collection expanded, and in the end they housed more than 
400 birds and animals including varieties of big cats, deer, water fowl, birds of prey, 
seals, monkeys, otters and parrots.

By 1981 the park’s promotional material listed animals including macaques, a lion and lioness, pygmy goats, a seal, wallabies, and Arctic foxes.

Among the feathered residents were black swans, African grey parrots, a giant hornbill, Jamaican Mountain Witch Doves, cranes, penguins and peacocks.

The park grew and was eventually known as the Guilsborough Wildlife Park.

It was a popular day out for local families and children, but by 1991 the decision was made to close it.

The park finally closed its gates in November 1991 – the animals were sold or moved to other locations, and other items were auctioned off.