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Ongoing updates and improvements

Walk on the wild side

Visitors in the early days of the zoo would have been viewing graceful wading birds and waterfowl as they strolled along the pathway where Tropical Trails now stands. From the 1970s until the early 1990s this area also housed our tigers and lions in large sloping paddocks. The star residents, lions Danny and Elsa, both featured in the 1967 film ‘Born Free’ and moved to Paignton Zoo when filming finished. Arid Lands was a row of pheasantries and aviaries housing native wildlife.

1970s main drive
The 1970s main drive was surrounded by exotic plants.
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Big cat paddocks sloped alongside the walkway. [Credit: Paula Simmons]
native birds desert house
These aviaries were home to a variety of native wildlife.
Danny Elsa
Famous lions Elsa and Danny were star attractions at Paignton Zoo.
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