Paradise Wildlife Park

Paradise Wildlife Park is a family-run animal park located in Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, England. Previously known as Broxbourne Zoo, it was renamed Paradise Wildlife Park after it came under the management of the Sampson family in 1986.

Paradise Wildlife Park
Date opened1960s
LocationWhite Stubbs Lane
Broxbourne, Herts EN10 7QA
 United Kingdom
Coordinates51.742124°N 0.053988°W / 51.742124; -0.053988


The park was previously known as Broxbourne Zoo,[1] which opened in the early 1960s.

In 1984, the Sampson Family purchased the site with the intention of re-housing the animals into larger enclosures which mimicked their natural habitat, making them as comfortable as possible. The zoo was closed down for two years to undergo this transformation, and re-opened as "Paradise Park and Woodland Zoo", which was then shortened to Paradise Wildlife Park (PWP) in the 1990s.

Since the Sampson family took over the Zoo, the team at PWP have continued researching, expanding and improving upon the animals' living conditions. Paradise Wildlife Park has developed a reputation through its conservation efforts, including The Wildlife Heritage Foundation (the sister site in Kent) which specialises in research and breeding of endangered species.

Continued work and investment to improve the animal enclosures and public facilities and a drive to enhance the public perception of the park continued throughout the 1980s. The second stage of development included building new animal paddocks, improving the pathways, and increasing tree planting around the site.

1980s to 1990s

The Sampson family, now dedicated to the park, chose to sell their "Sampson Coaches and Buses" company in 1989 and "MOT testing centre and garage" in 1990 to allow them to concentrate solely on the management and finance of Paradise Park and Woodland Zoo.

In the early 1990s, the site's name was changed to "Paradise Wildlife Park" and work continued to improve the facilities. New spacious and open enclosures were built alongside "Tiger Lodge", a new purpose built enclosure constructed in 1994 for the zoo's Bengal and Siberian tigers. Improvements were also made to the park's non-animal areas, with three new themed adventure playgrounds introduced. All facilities at the site were given modern renovations, and changes were made to better accommodate and fulfil the needs of disabled people.

2000 and beyond

Paradise Wildlife Park, like many animal attractions in England, was forced to close by the Foot and Mouth epidemic in the spring of 2001.

Work continued on new enclosures for the animals with meerkats, otters, Brazilian tapirs, red pandas and European grey wolves joining the existing collection. Major work was undertaken to create new sections; "Squirrel Monkey Island", "Wonders of the Rainforest", "Cheetah Retreat" and "Toucan House". The Animal Resource Centre (ARC) is a new development which houses a veterinary and recovery room, animal food preparation areas, an animal records and research room, and large staff facilities. There has been extensive work completed on the paddock areas to improve drainage; overflow car parking facilities have been added; and improvements to the water supply were also made. Included in the upgrade were an electricity sub-station and back-up generator. "The Special Place'", a brand new play area adapted for use by children with disabilities, was also added.

In 2001, Parkside Leisure, the parent company of Paradise Wildlife Park, purchased the site of the Big Cat Foundation in Kent, a sanctuary operated at the time by the Born Free Foundation. A new organisation was established by Paradise Wildlife Park called the Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF).[2] During 2002 the Born Free Foundation and the Wildlife Heritage Foundation held a joint Dangerous Wild Animals Licence to operate the site. The site is now exclusively operated by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, (registered charity number 1104420). The objective of the WHF is to support conservation in-situ and ex-situ projects and to assist with endangered species breeding programmes. Paradise Wildlife Park financially supports WHF.


Paradise Wildlife Park is home to over 500 animals, which include small mammals, paddock and farmyard animals, birds, primates, reptiles, and big cats. They house Siberian tigers, South African cheetahs, snow leopards, ocelot and jaguars. They also house white lions.[3]

Breeding at Paradise Wildlife Park has been successful, with the breeding of endangered species such as marmosets, tamarins, Burmese pythons and lovebirds. Many animals are bred as part of the EEP Breeding Programme.

Animals and wildlife at Paradise Wildlife Park are separated into several attractions including:

  • Big Cat Territory

The big cat territory contains some of the most endangered big cat species in the world, including the cheetah, ocelot, white lions, snow leopards, jaguars and Amur tigers.

  • Hooves and Humps

The hooves and humps section houses ungulate animals such as the endangered Bactrian camel, the African plains zebra, the Brazilian tapir and reindeer.

  • Farmyard

The zoo has a variety of species of farmyard animals including pygmy goats, sheep, pigs and chickens among others.

  • Tropical Rainforest

Paradise Wildlife Park is home to the largest collection of small monkeys in the UK in its natural tropical rainforest house, including over 10 species of small monkeys as well as sloths, armadillos and several other tropical creatures.

  • Angkor reptile temple

The Angkor Reptile Temple houses the largest Anaconda in the UK named Optimus Prime.[4] The zoo also has over 35 different species of snakes, lizards, spiders, alligators, bugs and beetles.

  • Birds & aviary

The section contains macaws, owls, eagles and lorikeets.

  • Small mammals

Houses a collection of small mammals including meerkats, red pandas, otter and wallabies.


  1. "Creating Paradise in Broxbourne". Hertfordshire. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  2. "Home - The Big Cat Sanctuary | Wildlife Heritage Foundation". The Big Cat Sanctuary | Wildlife Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  3. Paradise Wildlife Park
  4. "IS THIS THE BIGGEST ANACONDA IN THE UK?". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
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