Whipsnade Zoo - Zoological Society of London: 1972 - 1988


Constructed in 1972 The Water Mammal Exhibit displayed bottle-nosed dolphins.

A Review of Dolphinaria states:

Pools: A: roughly boomerang-shaped outdoor pool; max. length 19.0 m, max. width 5.0 m, 3.4 m deep. B: trapezium-shaped indoor pool; max. length 13.0 m, max. width 5.0 m, 3.4 m deep. C: rectangular indoor isolation pool with stranding shelf; 6.0 x 4.8 m; shelf 4.8 m x 2.0 m x 1.0 m deep, rest 2.5 m deep. Surface areas approx. 95, 65, 20 m2 ; total 180 m2 All pools can be operated and drained separately. Partly indoor, salt mix water.The Society has always exhibited a wide range of species and in the early 1970's it was decided that a representative of the Order Cetacea would enhance the educational value of their collection. A small unit was opened in May 1972, after extensive consultations with other establishments to determine the requirements for 'best practice' of the day. It was intended to be the beginning of a complex showing members of the Order (Manton, 1974), but no further development of the exhibit had been carried out by the end of 1985.

Photos were taken in 2008 with the exhibit now housing sea lions.


Manton, V. J. A. 1974. Some experiences with gas chlorination. Aquatic Mammals
20 ): 1-7.

Manton, V. J. A. 1975. Vitamin requirements of dolphins. Aquatic Mammals 3(2): 1-4.


  1. I recall they had an orca for a while too.

  2. Whipsnade never displayed killer whales only bottlenose dolphins. The first zoo to display a killer whale was FlamingoLand (Flamingo Park) called Cuddles in 1968 which was eventually transferred to Dudley Zoo. Cleethorpes Zoo (also owned by Flamingo Park) also temporarily housed a killer whale named Calypso which was a relocated to Marineland in France. Windsor Safari Park displayed three killer whales during its history – one of these was held for a short period time in the former dolphinarium on Clacton Pier. The Clacton dolphinarium also displayed another killer whale earlier in its history which was eventually transferred to Ocean Park in Hong Kong. There is an unconfirmed story that a small killer whale was displayed by James Tiebor at Southend-on-Sea. Tiebor had transient dolphin shows operating within Europe in the 1970s.

  3. Really nice and informative piece. An interesting read. Find more interesting information about environmental and wildlife sustainability at the zoo at the following link.