Join our zoo community

United Kingdom Skegness Zoo , Butlins Amusement Park , Skegness , Lincolnshire (1933-1940)

Discussion in 'Zoo History' started by zoowhosewho, 26 Jan 2020.

  1. zoowhosewho

    zoowhosewho Well-Known Member

    22 Mar 2019

    Billy Butlin had opened this Amusement Park approx 1929 / 1930 ... He was looking to add attractions to his "Empire" and in June 1933 Skegness Zoo was opened at the Amusement Park ...
    By May 1937 2 Lion Cubs were born named George and Elizabeth at the Zoo
    By December 1937 practically the entire Zoo from the Skegness and Bognor Zoos (run by Butlins) were crated up and removed to the Olympia London as a supplementary attraction to Bertram Mills Circus for the Winter season ... This shows how large the Zoo at Skegness was crated and sent were ... 5 Lions , 27 Parrots , 2 Cassowaries , 2 Leopards , A Black Panther , An Ocelot , 220 Monkeys , Hyenas , 7 Himalayan and Russian Bears , Raccoons , Pelicans , Kangaroos, Wallabies , Chimpanzee and Zebras .... Butlins Bognor Zoo animals were also all transferred ...
    By April 1938 another Lion Cub called Liz was born at the Zoo
    By July 1940 an advert was placed by the Zoo to try and rehome "Nicholas", the Polar Bear, as the Police had ordered his evacuation (due to the War) and Mr Butlin stated that he would pay for its keep ... If there was no home found within a week Nicholas would be shot ... Already the Zoo had to Euthanise 2 Lions , A Panther and Black Bears .. 4 Leopards had been sent to Chessington (although many of the Chessington Animals were transferred to Paignton during the war years ) ... Dudley Zoo had offered to take in Nicholas but then they stated that they already had 2 Female Polar Bears and to take in Nicholas would lead to the certain death of him as they would tear him to pieces .. they stated that the Polar Bear would be safer amongst bombs than with the 2 female Polar Bears .... Fortunately Chester Zoo stepped in and Nicholas was saved ... He left on 17th July 1940 ...

    By 24th July 1940 this Zoo was closed and this particular Butlins Zoo was no longer ...
    From what I understand there were a few animals kept at the Skegness Holiday Camp from 1946 but it was never on the scale of the Amusement Park Zoo .
    Image is of Billy Butlin
  2. zooboy

    zooboy Well-Known Member

    13 Jan 2008
    Billy Butlin was said to have a particular fondness for lions so it is not surprising that they featured quite prominently in his holiday camps. Despite the thousands of people who stayed at Butlin's, recollections and photographs of the zoos and his other animal attractions are rare, even on websites devoted to Butlin's. Does anyone have a record of which camps had zoos and which years they were opened? There were Butlin zoos after the war and I have a few, poor photographic quality, postcards from Bognor Regis. There was also "Mushie" the (said to be old and toothless) lion that was presented, un-caged, to the visitor's and, most famously "Big Charlie" the male Asiatic elephant at Butlin's, Filey Camp. There were other elephants, but records about them are not good.