We’re dipping back into DZG’s archives today and returning to the beginning, 80 years ago…
It was Monday, May 17 1937 and was the first bank holiday after DZG’s opening and we were once again making headlines when 250,000 visitors flocked to Dudley for a day out at the zoo.
Official records from the day state only 50,445 were admitted inside the zoo grounds and 30,000 people were turned away at the turnstiles.
The zoo also had to temporarily close and re-open later in the day to allow more to enter as people left.
Local newspapers report thousands left without attempting to visit, as the waiting queue stretched a mile long and traffic was diverted away from the area.
Eight turnstiles admitted visitors at a rate of 8,000 an hour and all the zoo officials were working at full capacity.
And bus companies bringing tours to the zoo for the day were diverted to Clent, Kinver and the neighbouring museums.
The last bus left the town after midnight, ferrying zoo visitors home and the crowd was recorded as being nearly four times the attendance at London Zoo.
Fast forward to the present day and we’re looking ahead to next week’s Whitsun half term holiday.
We’ll be celebrating Love Your Zoo Week and have lots of love-themed activities planned for visitors, including a photography competition and a heart trail, as we raise awareness for our conservation, education and research work with some of the rarest animals in the world.
Read our ZooNooz on Saturday when we reveal all the details!
Some of the 1937 Whitsun headlines included…