Dudley Zoo opened to the public in May 1937, constructed over 40 acres within a 200-acre densely-wooded site which includes an 11th century castle.
The idea to convert Dudley Castle’s grounds into zoological gardens came from its then owner, the third Earl of Dudley, who chose a team of Modernist architects to design the zoo. Using reinforced concrete they created a revolutionary new design of building: Tectons.
The structures have stood the test of time and seventy five years on Dudley Zoo has the world’s largest single collection of Tectons, which in 2009 received World Monument Status.
Today the Tectons are boosted by a variety of animal housing, paddocks and enclosures which are home to nigh on 200 species.
Much of the animal collection is linked to international conservation and breeding programmes and several of our global projects have received awards. Endangered species include Asiatic lions, Sumatran tigers, Bornean orang utans, Tibetan red pandas, Rothschild giraffes, Madagascan lemurs, and Humboldt penguins – DZC has the UK’s largest parent-reared colony.
Nearer home we co-ordinate a range of native species projects and have gained success with programmes including ladybird spider, Barberry carpet moth, great crested newt and red squirrels.
DZC is unique: a zoo with Planet Earth’s rarest species set around an 11th century castle incorporating the world¹s largest single collection of Tectons and the country’s only vintage chairlift . . . all sited on a 40-acre wooded hillside with a rich geological history – the limestone of Castle Hill is composed of a 420 million-year-old prehistoric seabed!
And these are exciting times – we’ve received an incredible £1.15 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the restoration of four of our iconic Tectons and chairlift, plus an ERDF grant for further development across the site, so there’s lots going on.