Living Coasts is Torquay’s coastal zoo and conservation charity. The zoo is also part of the Whitely Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT) and supports conservation projects in the UK and around the world. Living Coasts also has just won a Gold level award for being a green tourism site – the highest award possible in the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS).
The Living Coasts zoo is a place where the coasts of the world can be explored. Here you will find birds and mammals in their specially designed naturalistic habitats. Living Coasts offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits for all to see. One of the most popular exhibits is the Penguin Beach, which is designed to look like coastal habitats near Cape Town, South Africa. The penguins are able to roam freely. They even have their very own ‘Penguin Crossing’, which enables them to explore the visitor broadwalks, which means you can walk among the penguins whilst you visit. There are African penguins, Bank Comorant penguins and the famous Macaroni penguins.
There is also the Auk Cliff, an award winning habitat, and the only outdoor Auk exhibit in the world. The birds can dive, play and feed in their beautiful environment, and you can see them both above and below the water, which moves to mimic the rough seas of their natural environment. In this exhibit, you can see the Tufted Puffins, Common Guillemot and the Pigeon Guillemot.
The Waders Estuary is home to 150 Wading birds of which include Pied Avocet, the Common Redshank and the Black-Necked Stilt. Then you can visit the Sea Ducks habitat. Here you will find the Spectacled Eider, the Common Scoter and the Kind Eider.
But that’s not all!! The Mangrove exhibit opened in 2008, and explores the roots of the sea with a giant aquarium containing 20 new species. Mangroves can be found in places as diverse as Bangladesh, Florida, Philippines, Thailand, Guyanna and Sri Lanka.
There is also the Local Coats indoor exhibit, which opened back in July 2009. This internal feature explores the wildlife and habitats found along our coasts.
Then we have the Kelp Forests which range from tranquil estuaries to wave pounded rocky shores, and colourful reefs. Lastly but by no means least, there is the Octopus Odyssey and Discovery Zone. Here you can submerge yourself in discovery, from the UK shores, all the way to South East Asia. The environment consists of a sunken ship theme with one large tank and three smaller tanks.
Living Coasts is a wonderful day trip. It opens every day (except Christmas day) at 10am and last entries are at 3pm. Times are also dependent on the season, and the zoo tends to stay open longer in the summer. It is an attraction ideal for families, especially for half terms and summer break. It is also a fantastic experience for all lovers of nature/wildlife. All entry prices and feeding times for the animals can be found on the website. Visit www.livingcoasts.org.uk for more information.