2023 Highlights at Ponderosa Zoo

With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, we would like to take the opportunity to thank all of our lovely customers, old and new, for your continued support. As 2023 comes to an end, we're delighted to share our highlights with you all from the last 12 months!

New Animals in the Nocturnal House

Since 2021, the team have been working hard to renovate the old Bunny Barn into our new Nocturnal House, housing Malagasy Giant Jumping Rats, Cloud Rats and a Kinkajou to name a few! In August this year, we welcomed three new additions to Ponderosa - an Asian Forest Scorpion, a Skeleton Tarantula and a Tiger Rump Tarantula. You can see our new arrivals in our invertebrate area in the Nocturnal House alongside our Mexican Red Knee Tarantula, Giant Budwing Stick Insects and Giant Thorny Stick Insects.

New Enrichment for Venus

Without a doubt, our Serval, Venus, is a firm favourite animal amongst both staff and visitors alike. Over summer, our dedicated team of zookeepers constructed a zip wire and a new feeding platform in her enclosure to allow her to exhibit some of her natural behaviours - jumping, climbing and running! The new enrichment has been a roaring success, have you been lucky enough to have seen Venus using it?

ABWAK Conference 2023

In March, our management team were lucky enough to attend the Association of British and Irish Wild Animal Keepers (ABWAK) conference, hosted by Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster. The 2-day conference consisted of talks, personal stories, networking and practical workshops and it was invaluable to our team. Sharing ideas and experiences with so many like-minded people will help us to keep providing the best care, welfare and husbandry possible to the amazing animals at Ponderosa.

In Memoriam

On September 30th 2023, the founder of Ponderosa Zoo, Howard Cook MBE, sadly passed away following a short battle with cancer. Howard Cook opened Ponderosa in 1991 as Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre, aiming to 'bridge the gap' between disabled and able-bodied people by using animal care as a form of therapy. Now known as Ponderosa Zoo, the initial vision of 'bridge the gap' remains, ensuring the site is accessible to all.

Festive Opening Hours

To ensure our team have a well-deserved rest over the festive period, we would like to advise all of our guests that the zoo will be closed on the following dates:

Sunday 24th December 2023
Monday 25th December 2023
Tuesday 26th December 2023
Sunday 31st December 2023
Monday 1st January 2024

Please note: the zoo is closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until February half term.

The team at Ponderosa Zoo would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


01924 235276 / office@ponderosa-centre.co.uk

Lakeside Restaurant
01924 404604 / lakeside@ponderosa-lakeside.co.uk

Day Care
01924 404154

Ponderosa Zoo,
Off Smithies Lane,
WF16 0PN

 Opening Hours 10am – 4pm on Mondays, Fridays and weekends

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