BIRDWORLD’S doors opened for the first time on June 15, 1968, when it was owned and run by the Harvey family.
The site was originally an old farm and was bought with the intention of opening a site to showcase the family’s passion for birds, which grew from a hobby to an attraction open to the public.
Starting from small beginnings, the park expanded over the years with the introduction of penguins, Underwater World in 1977 and later the Jenny Wren Farm.
In 1996, Birdworld changed ownership to become the third division of Denys E. Head Ltd, owners of Forest Lodge Garden Centre and Garden Style Plant Centre.
Development of Birdworld continued with exhibits such as Parrots in Flight and the Crescent Aviaries, while more recently Flamingo Cove, Penguin Beach and the Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament have become popular with visitors.
Over the past five decades, many local people have grown up with Birdworld and now conservation, education and entertainment are at the forefront of a family day out.
To coincide with the park’s 50th anniversary and to continue its history of education and conservation, Birdworld has already completed the initial instalment of several new homes for Citron and Yellow-crested Cockatoos. The new aviaries and its continuing development will aim to raise awareness of the rapid decline of critically endangered Yellow-crested Cockatoos in the wild.
This year, the park has also completed the build of important new aviaries to highlight the plight of Asian Songbirds. The Silent Forest Aviaries are supporting the first European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) campaign, focused primarily on birds to address and reduce the ongoing songbird extinction in Asia. This project is an opportunity for visitors to learn all about these amazing birds and the threats they face in the wild.
On the park’s official 50th anniversary last Friday, annual pass holders were invited to Birdworld’s exclusive annual members’ evening to celebrate 50 golden years in style.
The festivities will continue into the summer holidays with Birdworld’s 50 Days of Summer Fun. Alongside a special heritage trail everyday from July 16 to September 3, Birdworld will be hosting fascinating ‘Animal Extras’ with the park’s keepers and hilarious ‘Entertainment Sessions’ with performers from Chubby’s World of Magic or special entertainer Crazee Hazee.
Mark Anderson, general manager, said: “We are extremely proud of the popular family destination that the park has become throughout the years and of the contribution we have made to raising awareness of conservation. Many local people have grown up with Birdworld over the decades and we are delighted to be inviting visitors to join us in celebrating our summer activities during our special 50th anniversary year!”
For more details, including opening times and tickets, visit birdworld.co.uk, or call 01420 22140.