Cromer zoo looking for better times...

JAGUARS, capybaras and flamingos were not enough to overcome bad weather, high fuel prices and rising living costs according to the man behind Norfolk's newest zoo.

JAGUARS, capybaras and flamingos were not enough to overcome bad weather, high fuel prices and rising living costs according to the man behind Norfolk's newest zoo.

Ken Sims, who developed Amazona Zoo in Cromer, said visitor figures for the attraction's first year had been “disappointing”.

Mr Sims said: “Fuel prices and food prices were high, the meteorological office said it had been the gloomiest August since 1963 - these things don't help - so, in common with many other attractions, visitation was low.”

The zoo, which officially opened in June and houses about 170 South American animals including piranhas, boa constrictors and an ocelot, saw 15,000 visitors through its gates in August. Mr Sims, who also owns Thrigby Hall, said: “We were content but we would have liked more.”


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He said, because it opened later in the season, the zoo did not have time to market itself as well as he had hoped and was still in the early stages of its development. But he remained hopeful the zoo would become a central attraction in Norfolk as more people discovered them and school parties made use of the site.

And a bright future was already in sight as keepers celebrated the arrival of three baby capybaras, large rodents that can weigh up to 66kg, who were born at the zoo last month.

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Brian, Jasper and Pamela are the park's latest addition and Mr Sims said it would not stop there with several more animals set to be brought in ready for the start of the new season in March. He said: “There is a female ocelot to come, capuchin monkeys and also more marmosets and tamarins.”

Despite low visitor numbers, Mr Sims said he had been pleased with the high number of season tickets sold. He said: “Cromer is popular with holiday makers so we were expecting the bulk of visitors to come from tourists. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of local people signing up.”

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