Points Of Interest
Brooklands Park Bowl of Brooklands
Pukekura Park The Gables Art Gallery
It may be minimal but it’s quality. The New Plymouth District Council provides Brooklands Zoo, free to the public and you may not see Lions and Tigers and Bears (Oh My!), but you will be entertained and have a great time with plenty to see. Visitors are given a feel of closeness with the animals while they live in more natural realistic environments that just a cage.
Originally, the idea was to provide a display of birds and small animals for public view in 1965. I wasn’t around that early, but even when I was a kid in the 80’s there were caged aviaries and enclosures. I’m sure we could even buy food pellets to feed the animals as we walked around. There was a children’s playground in the middle and family outings and picnics were encouraged. My favorite play equipment was a metal frame in the shape of a giraffe which I could climb, and a 6 person rocking horse, which if you sat at the back you felt you were going to fall off.
Things have changed considerably now though. The enclosures are spacious and made to enrich the life of the animals. They simulate their natural habitat and even things like feeding is not just a case of leaving food, but putting it in interesting places, so the animal has to move around in it’s own manner to eat. Walking around the enclosures you get the sense that the animals are loved and treated well. The enclosures themselves are made to be non-invasive yet still give the public an up close experience with the animals.
The aviary is a walk-through where the brightly colored birds fly around with you in there; the walkway keeps you in an area of your own and the birds have free reign among the trees. In saying that, the animals still have the choice as to whether they are visible or not. I have not often seen the otters, and the monkeys love to climb, but on some days they just want to chill in the trees without being entertainers, and fair enough too.
The animals include endangered Cotton-Top Tamarins, Meerkats, Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys, Brown or Black Capped Capuchins, right down to Kune Kune Pigs, Alpacas and Chickens. There is plenty to see and learn.
The children’s play area has changed significantly, and although they have removed my favorite activities from my childhood, the area is far superior, with slides, bridges, tunnels and all sort of different things to run around on. Picnics are still common and it is still a fantastic family day out.