An aviary was first installed in the park in the late 19th century. Since then it has changed location a number of times, been extended and replaced. The current version was built following the great storm of 1987.
In its time it has housed numerous peacocks, a silver pheasant and even a golden eagle. In the 1960s we know there were 200 birds housed in the aviary, including exotic pheasants as well as budgerigars, canaries and zebra finches and a monkey called Minnie. There were also other animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, chipmunks and tortoises.
Standards of animal welfare have changed greatly over time and no one would expect to see a monkey living in the park these days. The aviary remains a very popular attraction in the park with 58% of our survey respondents saying it was their main reason for visiting the park (1509 respondents Dec 2020). Our aim is to improve the habitat for the birds and animals, and use the aviary as an educational tool to discuss conservation and domestic animal welfare. We are working with expert centres around the UK to make the aviary as good as it can be for the birds and animals in our care.