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Dartmoor Zoo

Dartmoor Zoo is located in Dartmoor, South England. It has been operating since 1968.

The zoo is most famous as the subject of the book, We Bought a Zoo and the 2011 film of the same title. It was also the subject of a four part documentary screened in 2006 showing the work to reopen the zoo.


The zoo has an onsite play area where kids can play.

Talks and feeds

Each day there are a number of talks and feeds including some where you can get up close to the animals.

Dartmoor Zoological Park




United Kingdom

Year Opened


Land Size

12ha (30acres)

Number of Species



Dartmoor Wildlife Park as it was known at the time opened in 1968.

In 2001 the Captive Animals Protection Society raised questions about conditions at the zoo. The council wouldn’t revoke the licence due to concerns over the future of the animals. The owner was charged with breeding Siberian tigers outside of an organised breeding program.

In April 2006 the zoo was forced to close to the public. During August 2006 the zoo was brought for £1.1 million. It was purchased by the Mee family. Benjamin Mee became the director and went on to write a book on the purchase titled We Brought A Zoo. This was later made into a movie. A TV show was also filmed titled Ben’s Zoo.

After a £500,000 refurbishment the zoo reopened on 7 July 2007. It was renamed at this time as Dartmoor Zoological Park.

In 2011 the zoo was accepted as a member of the British and Irish Assocation of Zoos and Aquarium (BIAZA).

During 2014 a crowdfuding campaign provided the funds to turn the zoo in to a territory.

Star Animals

Sovereign the jaguar

Sovereign featured in Benjamin Mee’s book on purchasing the zoo, We bought a Zoo due to his escape into the neighboring tiger enclosure. He was eventually recaptured and returned to his enclosure. He has since passed away.

Main Exhibits

African Paddock

The zoo has a large paddock housing zebras and ostrich.

Big Cats

The zoo is most famous for their collection of big cats. Species housed at the zoo include African lions, Amur tigers, jaguars and cheetahs.


Dartmoor Zoo Website –

We Brought A Zoo Book

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