Welcome to Dartmoor Zoo, winner of the Eden Channel's Top Wildlife Attraction of the Year 2011, and subject of the the Hollywood movie We Bought A Zoo directed by Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous), starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.
Set in 33 acres of beautiful woodland with stunning views of the surrounding countryside, Dartmoor Zoo is a unique, family owned zoo with a fantastic collection of animals including the widest variety of big cats in the south west of England.
Formerly known as Dartmoor Wildlife Park, the zoo was purchased by the Mee family and following major refurbishment work, reopened in July 2007 as Dartmoor Zoological Park. The story of those early days can be found here. It was also captured in the BBC documentary, Ben's Zoo and in Benjamin Mee's book, We Bought a Zoo which has been published in over 20 countries. In the Hollywood adaptation of We Bought A Zoo, Dartmoor Zoological Park becomes, "Rosemoor Wildlife Park" set in California.
The animals here include tigers, lions, jaguar, lynx and cheetah, bears, wolves, tapir, capybara, raccoons, meerkats, monkeys, deer, owls, ostrich, lechwe, a fantastic collection of bugs and reptiles and much, much more.
Our Education Centre is manned by a dedicated team of award-winning staff and volunteers. The animals in the centre include a fascinating variety of stick insects, a great collection of snakes, tortoises, bearded dragons, gerbils, poison dart frogs and geckos, many of which feature in Close Encounters. The team also provides an excellent education programme for schools both at the zoo and as an outreach service.
The special design of our enclosures means that you can feel closer to the animals than at some other zoos, with great opportunities for unobstructed wildlife photography. We have a range of fantastic experiences which get you behind the scenes and even closer to the animals than you would believe was possible. Our Big Cat Keeper For A Day is a firm favourite!
We work very hard to ensure that the development of the zoo does not have an adverse effect on the beautiful woodland environment which makes it quite unique among zoos. As a consequence we have plenty of open spaces for the kids to run free and visitors are very welcome to bring a picnic and simply enjoy the surroundings.
We have regular daily events such as public talks at feeding times, animal encounters and special activities for the kids during the holidays such as quiz-trails and face-painting. Our restaurant is a great place to stop off for a coffee and cake, a snack or a hearty cooked lunch and there's space set aside for the under-fives to roll around with toys.
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