In the 1930s the Third Earl of Dudley proposed a novel use for his castle grounds by adding a modern menagerie. On May 15th 1937 he opened a zoo to the public complete with some Modernist structures to house animals. It was an outstanding success and became the Black Country’s premier day-out.
The venture struggled in the 1970s until effectively saved with Dudley Council money and the formation of a charity – Dudley and West Midlands Zoological Society (1978). In the last two decades substantial investment in the infrastructures for both animals and visitors has taken place.
2017’s 80th birthday celebrations saw even more animal enclosure improvements and the opening of a new entrance and extensive car parking. However, the original iconic wave entrance (see photograph) can still be used and is a fitting gateway to the attraction.
All age favourites include penguins, meerkats, giraffes, tigers, and chimpanzees, but alas no elephants. More familiar animals can be found in the popular revamped farmyard setting.
In 2016, 300,000 people marvelled at the 900 year old castle surrounded by over 1,500 animals. Check out Dudley Zoo's website for more information.