UK’s wildest £250,000 tourist attraction home of exotic birds and rides has now been left to rot.
The iconic Welsh site popular among families for its penguins, snakes and lions is now a of its glorious self.
Thousands of Brits flocked every year to Penscynor Wildlife Park, one of the biggest tourist attractions in Cilfrew, Wales.
The exotic zoo was once home to dozens of animals living in the hillsides in the Neath Valley.and
Lions, penguins, polecats and rare birds created an immersive experience that transported visitors into the heart of the animal kingdom.
The park was also famous for notorious animal escapes that left zoo visitors in shock.
Armed police were once brought in after a monkey escaped and then chased mechanics in a garage around a car.
In another occasion, a monkey once pulled off a duck’s head in front of horrified schoolchildren.
Founded by visionary Idris Hale in 1971, Penscynor quickly blossomed into a haven for over 300 species from around the globe.
The Park’s education officer Howie Watkins said in the early 1990s: “There was a real commitment to trying to be the very best we could be.
“For a small zoo we really punched above our weight, doing far more than zoos of a similar size.
“We played an active part in global breeding programmes. We ran the UK breeding records for the Humboldt penguin and the European and African breeding records for a number of other endangered species.
“I was really proud to be a part of that.”
However, the dream came to halt when in the late nineties it was forced to shut down.
Financial constraints and a change in regulations hit the park hard.
As maintenance costs skyrocketed. the park struggled to stay afloat and keep up with modern standards in animal welfare.
In 1998, Penscynor closed its doors forever and hundreds of animals were rehoused to other zoos across the nation.
The once-majestic animal sanctuary is now a derelict site with overgrown grass and moulding walls.
Haunting pictures show an eerie damp with broken trails and abandoned animal cages.
Remains include chimpanzee house, a former alpine slide viewing bridge and an old pool.
Idris Hale’s grandson Jonathan Hale-Quant recently opened up about the park’s legacy.
He told ITV: “It was a remarkable thing that he built. To create Penscynor Wildlife Park and to give so many people so much happiness is incredible.
“I have a head full of memories and a heart filled with joy.”