Blackpool Zoo is a fun tourist attraction these days, which has seen a great refurbishment recently. Walking around the Zoo, you wouldn’t think that it was haunted, but it hasn’t always been a zoo and if we look into the history of the land, we find out why so many people have claimed that they have witnessed some strange things on the premises.
The Airport and Wartime Blackpool
In 1931, the Municipal Airport was first opened on the land where the zoo now stands.
By 1939, the airport had been renamed to Stanley Park Aerodrome. Amy Johnson, who we have already mentioned in The BPL Bible, is known to have flown from this airport. When the war began on September 3rd of that year, the airport was repurposed and became a training centre for the RAF.
Once the war had ended, the airport never reopened. In 1945, Blackpool Council bought the land to be used for storage. For some time, the land was used by the council for storing illuminations and deckchairs.
The Royal Lancashire Show
From 1953 to 1972, The Royal Lancashire Show was held on the grounds where the zoo now stands. This is one of the country’s oldest farming and agricultural shows and it was moved to another site, in Wrea Green in 1972 so that the building of the zoo could commence.
The Zoo is Planned and Opened
The director of Southport Zoo first suggested opening a zoo on the grounds in 1962 when he put forward a proposal to construct zoological gardens in Blackpool.
When the Tower Zoo was closed down in 1969, the council suggested that a zoo should be built on the land. There were other ideas too including a Disney Land and a Formula 1 or horse racing track. The idea of building a Disney Land attraction would probably have been popular amongst locals however, other business owners in the area petitioned against the idea as it would have had a major impact in their trade.
On July 6th 1972. a decade after the idea of a zoo was first suggested, Blackpool Zoo was officially opened. Johnny Morris, star of TV’s Animal Magic opened the zoo, arriving in style on the back of an Elephant. The mayor also attended in a Rolls Royce.
The Hauntings at the Zoo
The ghostly figure of a man wearing a hooded cloak, similar to that of a monk, has been seen walking through the woodlands near the zoo grounds. There have also been numerous sightings of a man in a soldier’s uniform. Could he be one of the RAF pilots who risked their lives during the war and who trained at the site.
There are many haunted walk events that take place at the zoo and there have been a particularly high number of people offering similar experiences at the zoo.