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About the Centre

The Wildlife Centre was originally opened in 1963 by Norfolk naturalist Philip Wayre OBE and was the first green-field, country park, wildlife collection in the United Kingdom. In November 2000 Philip Wayre sold the Centre to the current owners, Barbara and Stephen Bealey, who had previously been keepers at the park in the 1970's.

Prior to 2000 the Centre had fallen into disrepair over many years and looked rather rundown and tired. As a consequence we have spent most of the last five years trying to revamp, repair and enhance the animals accommodation and visitor facilities. There is still a lot to do and this year we are working on replacing the rendered walls with wooden facings which will be much easier to maintain in the future. Unfortunately this work takes time, so will probably take most of the year to complete. Early Spring is the time of year when we carry out most of our maintenance work as we often need dry, mild weather to paint walls and build fences. We try to keep our visitors updated on the work in progress and why it is necessary. We hope that any construction or maintenance being carried out during the year will not spoil our visitors experience.

The overall aim is to preserve the naturalness of the Centre, whilst improving the animal's environment and visitor experience. Since 2000we have also introduced many new animals, including Wolves, Meerkats, Prairie dogs, Lama, Emu, Storks and Black Swans, and increased the size of our herds and flocks to improve their breeding potential. Some enclosures have been extended and new displays, like our Reptile and Small Animal House have been introduced. We have added many new attractions for children such as trampolines, climbing frames and towers and revamped our shop and Tearoom to help make the visitor experience more memorable!

Another addition is our Bird of Prey centre which we established in partnership with the Wings Raptors flying display team. Here we accommodate one of the biggest collections of birds of prey in Norfolk. Flying displays are held every day between Easter and the end of September weather permitting, except on Fridays when the birds are rested and fed.

Plans for 2006 include a Monkey Pavillion with macaques, vervets, marmosets and De'Brazzas monkeys and we are in the process of building a new Education Centre where we will host talks and presentations on animal care, breeding and the environment.

In our quest to provide better accommodation for our animals we have also started work on new enclosures for our Wild Boar and Arctic Foxes and hope to have these completed before Easter.


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