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Strange Things Happened on My Way to the Zoo Paperback – 25 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Alison Hodge (25 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0906720737
  • ISBN-13: 978-0906720738
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 1.5 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


`I have spent many happy times walking through Newquay Zoo with Mike, and though I knew how dedicated he was, I had no idea just how much hard work was involved in turning that limping duck of a business into the soaring eagle it became during his ten years' ownership. From broken ankles to escaping apes, from the beast of Bodmin Moor to the devastation of foot and mouth, this is a story told from the heart, by a man with astonishing dedication to the animal world and the wider welfare of our planet and the people who live upon it. Well done Mike, you owned a zoo... not many can say that!' --Phillip Schofield, Television Presenter

`A very enjoyable read, and brought back interesting memories of what must have been one of the strangest applications of DNA identification, even if it failed to identify the Beast. It also brought back very pleasant recollections of the days that my family and I have spent at Newquay Zoo - it might be small, but it is great!'
--Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, Geneticist

`I loved visiting Newquay Zoo with my son when Mike Thomas owned it. There was always something new happening, and the place had a special atmosphere. (I was also extremely grateful when my son's two very small turtles were adopted and given a home at Newquay.) Strange Things Happened on My way to The Zoo, is a wonderfully entertaining and enlightening account of the unusual and circuitous journey Mike Thomas made before eventually owning a Zoo. It is also a joy to discover what being the owner of a Zoo really entails.'
--Jenny Agutter, Actress

Mike Thomas shows the hairy highs and tough-skinned lows ... in a tale that sees the zoo rise from a debt-ridden facility to the success it has become. --Newquay Voice, 05.05.10

real insight into the enormous dedication it takes to revive an ailing business and to create a successful tourist attraction --Western Morning News, 22.05.10

an informative and entertaining book about Mike's life with the rare animals at Newquay Zoo --BBC Radio Cornwall, 27.05.10

a man with vision and stature and very clear, very good ideas. He's an intelligent man and a good thinker --ZooChat, 02-04-10

A great wildlife adventure in his own back yard ... "The happiest decade of my life"
--The Cornishman and The West Briton 15.07.10.

Mike Thomas ... is fortunate indeed to have the ability to narrate his tales in such a charming way ... great read
--Cornwall Today, August 2010

`a highly entertaining book about his experiences'
--Cornish Guardian, 04.08.10.

`Mike Thomas paints a delightful pen portrait of childhood at Siloam... of walking in the forest, of tickling trout and of the activities and characters of Siloam Baptist Chapel. ...
`Mike Thomas has led a remarkable life' --Western Morning News, 17.08.10.

`Former zoo owner's memoir is a keeper... a book that can be really enjoyed' --Falmouth Packet, 17.11.10

About the Author

Mike Thomas was born in Wales. He spent a number of years teaching, and subsequently ran several successful businesses in Cornwall.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Surfingsue on 7 Jun 2010
Format: Paperback
As a fellow traveller on some of Mike's strange journey I knew much of the story but by no means all. He has led a fascinating life full of interesting characters, both human and animal. There's Randy the potato loving raccoon, Peru the streetwise penguin and Exotic Clive the... you'll have to read the book to find out what or who Clive is. Mike has an entertaining writing style that evokes the feeling of a coffee time chat rather than a faceless narration. His passion for education and dedication to the creatures in his care are an inspiration, as are the accolades he achieved whilst at the helm of the zoo.
If you need another reason to buy this book, and you really shouldn't, part of the proceeds will be donated to the wonderful charity Children's Hospice South West Precious Lives Appeal.
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Format: Paperback
Like others who've read & reviewed the book, this was revisiting an earlier part of my working life for me too at the same zoo. It's a highly readable book (and I know a lot had to be left out too in this volume) but doesn't avoid any of the difficulties we went through redeveloping the zoo. Mike crops up in Ben Mee's 'zoo rescue' book too. Money was often very tight and Mike's showmanship, gift of the gab, sense of humour and imagination were often needed. Often you can see how these qualities were drawn from his early life and experiences As a result, the book has its fair share of funny stories and character animals too, many of whom I remember (sometimes painfully, I got bitten by a fair few!) just as Mike describes them.
Researching the challenges facing wartime zoos as I am at the moment, I've read lots of zoo memoirs especially by directors. I know that it must be difficult fitting all one's own viewpoint of complex, funny and difficult situations into one book and how difficult it is to describe to fit all the unusual characters encountered (zoo animal and human) in one volume, so I look forward to book two!
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By Nika on 10 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is a brilliant read. It has everything, once you start reading you won't be able to stop. It's entertaining, interesting, funny and informative. Loved the boat ride joke.
Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Yaaaawwwwwn 6 July 2012
By Likealynx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I thought this was going to be funny. Or at least informative.
But it's just a book of dull little anecdotes.
Trouble sleeping?? Read this...
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