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New owner at popular family attraction in the heart of the Broads

PUBLISHED: 14:07 13 December 2017 | UPDATED: 17:42 13 December 2017

A meerkat surveys the scene at Pettitts. Photo: Archant library

A meerkat surveys the scene at Pettitts. Photo: Archant library

Archant

The new owner of a popular family attraction in the heart of the Norfolk Broads has a special affection for the park and plans to build on its successful formula.

The broadland village of Reedham on the River Yare in Norfolk.
Pettitts Animal Adventure Park.

Picture: James Bass The broadland village of Reedham on the River Yare in Norfolk. Pettitts Animal Adventure Park. Picture: James Bass

At first visitors to Pettitts Animal Adventure in Reedham will see few changes as Michael Abbott beds in.

But the Norwich-based property developer has fond memories of the park and family days out with his own three children which are helping him to drive the offer forward.

Mr Abbott said he had been talking to its former owners of 17 years Family Amusements for some time until a “close-knit” deal was reached.

He said: “We had our eye on Pettitts for a long time. We have had a lot of property developments in Norwich and around Norwich for the last 12 years but we come from a background in entertainment in the tourist industry.

All the fun of the fair at Pettitts. Photo: Archant library All the fun of the fair at Pettitts. Photo: Archant library

“It is not a new enterprise for us.

““We have been bringing all our children here for years and a lot of people of our age group have done the same. We love the place and it has been reassuring for us that we are buying a well-known product. It is nice now to own the park.”

Mr Abbott said the deal was sealed on Saturday and that plans were still at an early stage.

“We are looking to improve the park in certain areas before we open but the basis of Pettitts we want to leave as it is because it is doing a good job.

“All the staff are staying with us and people will see the same staff and the same friendly atmosphere.

“We want to improve but it wont happen straight away.”

One of the areas being targeted for growth is Christmas.

With so many families seeking something fun and festive for their children Mr Abbott said there seemed to be a “high demand” for seasonal entertainment which could work in the future.

The adventure theme park boasts domestic and exotic animals, children’s rides, live entertainment, and a cafe.

Some 40 years ago its main claim to fame was its feathercraft – pictures, sculptures and flowers made of delicately-curled and brightly-coloured feathers.

There was also a display of taxidermy.

Pettitts is named after Victor Pettitt, who founded a poultry business on the site in 1922 and decided to use the feathers to create “flowers”.

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