Paradise Park carries out conservation work on native UK species, including the Cornish Chough, Otters, Owls, and Red Squirrels. It is also home to rare and endangered parrots, and is an excellent and informative day out for any family.
When Mike Reynolds (formerly the Milky Bar Kid!) bought Glanmor House in Hayle in 1973, he thought it was the ideal place for a tropical bird garden. The Victorian walled garden, containing tropical plants which thrive in Cornwall's mild climate, offered an ideally sheltered area for his favourite birds, and the house was a great family home.
In the early years, the bird collection included owls, eagles, cranes, peacocks and lots of parrots, and very soon Paradise Park became the country's leading centre for the promotion of parrot welfare in the wild and in captivity. The World Parrot Trust, a charity raising funds and awareness, is based here. But this is only part of the work undertaken by the Park.
Educational projects in St Lucia and Dominica have been funded, in addition to local schemes such as the research into the re-introduction of the Cornish Chough. Paradise Park is also committed to improving local populations of Barn Owls. During its existence, Paradise Park has kept about 400 of threatened species of birds and has bred just over 200 species. Since 1992, the gardens have been completely redeveloped, aiming for a sub-tropical atmosphere particularly in the Victorian walled garden. Today there are palm trees, bamboos, tree ferns and a host of exotic plants.
Children visiting the park can feed and pet friendly animals in the Fun Farm, including donkeys, goats and pot-bellied pigs. There is a guinea pig village within the Fun Farm, in addition to rabbits and chipmunks. Fort Paradise has a Tarzan slide, swings and climbing frames for more energetic children whilst parents can sit in the nearby picnic area while their children play. A miniature railway can be used to travel to various parts of the park.
The red-billed Chough is the symbol of Cornwall and is pictured on the county's coat of arms. It is also the subject of several old Cornish legends. Sadly, it was believed to have died out in the 1970s but, in 2001 three birds returned to the Cornish cliffs. The team at Paradise Park hope to raise and release chicks to swell the local wild population.
Of course the main attractions here are the hundreds of beautiful birds, including parrots, penguins, eagles and flamingos. There are also a number of animals such as otters, red pandas and red squirrels. A group of alpacas have recently joined donkeys and rabbits on the Fun Farm. Feeding time for the penguins, otters and rainbow lorikeets can be enjoyed and the Free Flying Bird Show allows visitors to admire the colourful beauty and intelligence of the parrot family.
The Jungle Barn indoor play centre opened in 2005, offering fun for children even cold or wet weather. The Paradise Park Gift Shop has a wonderful collection of gifts and souvenirs mostly with a wildlife theme. The Otter Pool Caf' is open throughout the summer months and offers a wide range of snacks and meals. The 'Bird in Hand' is opposite Paradise Park, offering a selection of ales and food. Paradise Park is open throughout the year.