They Must Have Been Fools – Zoo Celebrates 30 Years This April Fools Day

30 years ago on April 1st 1984, the Sampson family in Broxbourne entered into their boldest venture yet, when they purchased Broxbourne Zoo, the worst zoo in Britain. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Paradise Wildlife Park are offering their guests entry to the park at the same price as it was in 1984, just £1.50. They only hope that visitors don’t take it for an April fools prank.

Broxbourne Zoo 1985

Broxbourne Zoo, as it was then known, was privately owned by Cyril Stamp up to the mid 1970’s and then Peter Phipps to 1984. Unfortunately a day out at Broxbourne Zoo was remembered for very different reasons to those attributed to a day out at Paradise Wildlife Park. The zoo was notorious for poor animal facilities and by the early 1980's was widely regarded and documented as the worst zoo in Britain. Thankfully, the Sampson Family saw through the terrible reputation of Broxbourne Zoo when they purchased the site on the 1st April 1984. They could see the potential of the area for creating a Zoo the country could be proud of, with conservation and preservation of both rare and endangered animal species at its heart. With the Sampson's drive and passion for wildlife, the unbelievable transformation had begun.

It was the 1990's when the Sampson Family dream really started to take shape. The changing of the sites name to ‘Paradise Wildlife Park' signaled a new beginning of an increasingly brighter future for the site. This decade was vital to the development of the Park in all aspects; with the introduction of more spacious open enclosures, perhaps the most significant of which was the unveiling of ‘Tiger Lodge' a new purpose built enclosure for Bengal & Siberian tigers in 1994; and positive changes such as the move towards many ‘hands on' activities with the animals at the Park and an extensive on-site and off-site education programme. Three new themed adventure playgrounds were also introduced to make a day out at the site even more memorable for visiting families. All facilities at the site were given modern renovations, and changes were made to better accommodate and fulfill the needs of disabled people, with the happiness of the parks visitors of paramount importance. Unsurprisingly with each improvement visitor numbers to Paradise Wildlife Park soared.

Today, Paradise Wildlife Park is a very different zoo and one of only 14 zoos to be members of all three of the leading zoological associations, BIAZA, EAZA and WAZA. To date, they have raised over £2.5 million for conservation and will continue to raise much more into the future. 2013 was their busiest every year in 30 years, and they are looking forward to a repeat success in 2014.

The offer of a £1.50 entry on the 1st of April is genuine and not an April fool's joke. There is no need to call the park to verify this! Thank you.

Paradise Wildlife Park

For more information about Paradise Wildlife Park, please visit our website at www.pwpark.com or alternatively our phone number is 01992 470490. 


It’s a world of augmented reality at Paradise Wildlife Park!

Here at Paradise Wildlife Park we are the first Zoo in the UK to be exploring the exciting world of Augmented Reality.

So you’re probably thinking, what is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality put simply, allows you to look through your iPad camera and see things that aren’t really there, but looks like they are. The techy bit… Augment reality is the technology that overlay digital content (3D images, graphic or video etc.) onto a live stream of the real world.

Ok, the easy thing is just to show you. So please go onto the App Store or Google Play and download the 'Augment' app.


Once you have downloaded the app it should give you the option to scan something. So why wait, hit that scan button, and scan the image below. Make sure you scan the whole image from straight on.

All going well there should be a very real looking Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton appearing on your screen right now?

Hopefully that worked and you should start to have a much better idea of what augmented reality is all about. It is a brilliant technology that has been around for a little white, but is now becoming much more popular. This is because the technology to use it is available to everyone with an Ipad, Smartphone or tablet.

For over a year now we at Paradise Wildlife Park have been looking into how we can develop new entertainment around the park using augmented reality. We have been exploring different technologies and platform. We were looking for a platform that would allow us to upload our own ideas, graphics and allow our visitors to use it for free.

Our marketing department had almost thrown in the towel in the search for the exact platform until they came across ‘Augment’. It was a unique app created by a very small team in Paris, led by a man called Jean-Francois Chianetta and marketed by marketed by Mickael Jordan.

We were so thrilled to have found the ‘Augment’ guys that we very quickly invited them over to visit Paradise Wildlife Park. It wasn’t too tricky to convince them to come over from France, especially with the enticement of the opportunity to hand feed one of our Big cats.

It worked a treat and very soon after contacting them they were on a Eurostar train. They’re really great guys and whilst here they were able to help us better understand their technology and its capabilities. They were also kind enough to agree to changing the app slightly so it met our requirements.

Jean-Francois Chianetta

Mickael Jordan

Since then, we've used their augment platform to create several different fun and interactive trails around the park. These include, a pumpkin hunt for Halloween, reindeer hunt for Christmas and a penguin trail this Winter.

We also launched our first fully fledged attraction, the 3D Woodland Dinosaur Trail, to coincide with the release of Walking with Dinosaurs, the 3D movie. The virtual dinosaurs we have here are all life-sized so they've had a great impact on those who've seen them so far! There are 9 of them in total, and we are constantly working on them and improving. We hope to add some animation and soft shadows very soon!

So for now keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground as the exciting world of augmented reality is only just beginning. For more information or to explore augment reality further come to Paradise Wildlife Park!