Open today 10am til 4pm   |  01752 837645

We Bought a Zoo 

Dartmoor Zoological Society is a charitable zoo with a unique history

Created in the 1960’s as a private exotic animal collection, the Zoo fell into disrepair and was threatened with closure in 2006. Along came Benjamin Mee, who with his family bought the site and set about creating the Zoo we have today.

His story, and that of his family, both humans and animals, is portrayed in his best-selling book ‘We Bought a Zoo’, which was also turned into a hit movie by Cameron Crowe, starring Matt Damon as Benjamin Mee and a host of other stars, including Scarlett Johansson.

After nine years in private ownership, during which Benjamin developed the collection, rebuilt the reputation of the Zoo, launched the Education and Research Department, he and his family donated the Zoo to a newly created charity, Dartmoor Zoological Society (DZS). DZS is now operated by a dedicated team of specialists that report to the trustees who have overall responsibility for the running and development of the DZS. 

DZS is funded by a combination of donations, visitor entry fees, experiences and educational and trading income. The economics of operating a Zoo means that fundraising is key to the survival of not only our endangered animals, but also DZS itself.