'We Bought a Zoo' is the much-awaited film from world famous director Cameron Crowe (who also brought us Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky). The 20 Century Fox film is an adaption of a memoir by Benjamin Mee, a specialist in animal behavior and once columnist for the United Kingdom’s Guardian.
It’s the story of how he moved his family to the English countryside to own and operate a zoo with over 200 exotic animals. Each step of the way there were hazards – ones of major proportions. There was some family discord as Ben and his brothers and sister struggled with the idea of their Mum giving up her comfortable 5-bedroom house on acreage in Surrey for a decrepit zoo and a 13-bedroom falling-down mansion dating back to the 1800s.
Amongst their concerns were the financing of the zoo, which needed major renovations, re-staffing and re-stocking. There were 200 animals to begin with, and the family’s inexperience with hands-on zoo operation made every day both exhilarating and frustrating. Aswell as this, Ben’s remarkable wife had suffered from a brain tumor while in France and remained in ill health when she returned. The house needed work to make it livable, but the zoo had to be the priority, for the animals living quarters were in dire need of immediate fixing. The movie is set for release in December 2011 and Matt Damon is to play the role of Benjamin himself.
The zoo itself is set in Dartmoor Zoo in 33 acres of beautiful woodland with some stunning views surrounding countryside in Plymouth. If you decide to visit the zoo yourself you can expect to see tigers, lions, jaguars, lynx, cheetahs, bears, wolves and monkeys to name but a few.
If you want to visit where ‘We Bought a Zoo’ is based, and are looking for a stay in Plymouth, check out Jurys Inn hotels in Plymouth.