Abandoned Bowmanville Zoo | Urban Exploration Photography | Abandoned Zoo

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Exploring the Abandoned Bowmanville Ontario Zoo | Urban Exploration Photography | Abandoned Zoo

The now abandoned Bowmanville zoo was founded in 1919 and was once the oldest private zoo in North America. Another interesting fact is that this zoo was also a large supplier of animals to the U.S. film industry.

Attendance at the Bowmanville Zoo was around 100,000 people each year, this figure dropped by more than two thirds in its final year. The Zoo officially closed late in 2016.

The land now abandoned that was once occupied by the zoo was originally a campground and park for tourists, shortly after a small petting zoo was added to the park.

Over time, the zoo aspect of the business became more prominent, and the cabins were turned into animal shelters and storage buildings.

In 2016 the zoo was consumed by controversy when the owner was filmed abusing animals, this footage was secretly recorded by PETA and released to the media which cause a fury of bad press and bad coverage which ultimately led to the closure of the zoo, just short of its 100th year of service to the community.

Now, 2 years after its closure the entire property of the former Bowmanville Zoo lay in ruins.  Inside, fences have broken and collapsed, the entire property is overgrown with weeds, long grass, brush and more.  Just inside the park, a small section of children’s carnival rides looks like a post apocalyptic scene.  Nature has taken over the old abandoned carousel, weeds have grown all over and the wooden structure is giving way to time.  Two other small rides, entirely consumed by weeds and decay sit slowly settling into the ground as time and weather slowly reclaim them.

The animal enclosures all sit empty and silent, electric fencing once used to keep the animals inside have let loose and fallen, hanging and flapping in the wind.

The only wildlife I saw were dozens of squirrels running about, seeking out nuts for their winter and salmon swimming upstream for the mating season.

At the back end of the park, the auditorium where the fate of this park was sealed in 2016, back stage I found dozens of whips, a can of bear spray incase one of the carnivorous animals got unruly, chains and collars and leaches.  Cages stacked atop cages and the many cruel and unusual props used to entertain 100,000 people per year.  The platform that an elephant would stand on, the round hamster cages where the tigers and lions would walk endlessly to entertain the masses all in hopes they would get rewarded with a piece of meat of fish for their efforts.

It was truly a strange experience seeing the behind the scenes of an abandoned zoo, seeing the empty cages where the animals were held captive instead of being out free where they belong.


Abandoned Ontario Zoo – The Rides

Abandoned Zoo Urban Exploration – The Zoo Grounds and Animal Enclosures


The Abandoned Zoo Amphitheater


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