Paignton Zoo turned 100 years old on 1st July 2023 and they celebrated in style with a two-day birthday bash enjoyed by over 5,000 people.
The festivities included live music, entertainment and an array of activities featuring music workshops from The Rock Project and interactive play with The Little Village People, as well as a roaming story teller. Alison Axford Theatre School performed dance routines, Professor Seymour Stuff explored the zoo, Mushy Cow Crafts ran workshops and Andrew Madgwick created sculptures of the zoo’s very own animals.
The weekend’s music was performed by a range of talented local artists. The weekend was started with a performance from Bay Brass, soon followed by Torbay Brass Band, singer Emma McElhinney, Torbay Police Choir, Choir 86 and youth band Combustion. Sunday saw an opening set by Babbacombe Ukelele Strummers, followed by The Chordettes, girl group Risq, duo Graham and Lee and the big ‘End of the Show Show’ by The Rock Project.
The event provided a great opportunity for Paignton Zoo to celebrate its place in the local community – from humble beginnings as one man’s private collection to one of Devon’s top visitor attractions and one of the UK’s best zoos.
Many ex-staff members joined in on the nostalgia including Jasmine Osmond, who had worked at the zoo as a Catering Manager for 20 years up until the early 90’s. Jasmine said: “We’ve had a lovely day. It’s brought back lots of memories and it has been lovely to see the zoo as it is today. It has changed a lot, but it’s really good to see.”
Events and Corporate Relationship Manager Katie White added: “We’ve all had a brilliant weekend. It’s nice to see so many of our supporters come out to celebrate our birthday – the zoo was abuzz all weekend, and we’ve had some amazing feedback so far. We can’t wait to host more events like this in the future.”
Paignton Zoo intend to keep their centenary celebrations going for the duration of the year and have confirmed that later this week they will be releasing details of a big event which will take place later this year. To stay up-to-date, sign up for newsletters or follow their Facebook page.