Unearthed elephant ring from Cleethorpes' Marineland Zoo will be preserved under barn at new Pleasure Island farm attraction
WORKMEN have unearthed historical artefacts dating back to when enormous creatures roamed Cleethorpes – but we're not talking dinosaurs.
The old elephant ring from Cleethorpes Marineland Zoo has been discovered deep underground during work on the new Furry Friends Farm attraction at Pleasure Island.
The ring has remained in perfect condition since the zoo closed in 1974 – but its discovery will unearth fond memories for many.
Pleasure Island owner Melanie Wood – whose father, Robert Gibb, coincidentally worked for the zoo – is thrilled by the discovery.
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She said: "It is like the site has gone full circle now the Furry Friend's Farm is being built. They may not be elephants and bears but it is going to house animals. It is funny how things turn out."
And Melanie is confident more historic treasures will be found.
Cleethorpes Zoo and Marineland was founded by Pentland Hick in 1966 and was run as a satellite zoo to Flamingo Park, which were both later owned by Scotia Leisure. It had elephants, brown bears, a killer whale, monkeys and the popular Hercules the Hippopotamus.
The then Cleethorpes Council took the site over in 1975 and opened it as a safari park with a difference – the animals, including elephants, lions and zebras, would be made from fibre glass.
The elephants would have detachable trunks and steps where their tails should be and the park had its own Tarzan, but sadly no Jane.
Local historian Dr Alan Dowling recalled: "A lot of people will remember the zoo, particularly Hercules the Hippopotamus, who was a great favourite. People would love to watch him bask in the sun. He even had a birthday party once. He was very popular.
"The zoo had a varied life, it was great to begin with, but it started to decline. The council had the idea of replacing the animals with models made of fibreglass. They had a Tarzan but no Jane on the grounds of public morality – they couldn't have those two 'carrying on' shall we say."
The safari park closed and the animal models were sold on – the last sighting was a Rhino in Tealby.
Barns for the Furry Friends Farm – due to open on March 29 – will be built on top of the ring next week.
Melanie continued: "Unfortunately the ring does not fit in with the new design which is a bit of a shame, but we will not destroy it, the barn will go over the top of it and there it will stay for another 50 years."