Zoo Academy (15-17 year olds)

ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are pleased to announce the return of our exciting animal based courses designed for 15-17 year olds who wish to become vets, vet nurses, zoo keepers or complete other animal related studies.

ZSL Zoo Academy is an eight-day course which includes study sessions on different exotic species and more than twenty hours practical experience.

zoo academy

Who are the courses aimed at?

These courses are designed to enable young people to gain practical experience in a zoological collection. Supported by the education and keeping staff, students will complete an evidence portfolio of their work. On completion of the course to a satisfactory level students will receive a certificate and reference statement.

Students will be able to keep their portfolios as evidence of their time at ZSL London Zoo or ZSL Whipsnade Zoo and hopefully use them at future university or college interviews and to aid their career with animals.

Theory sessions

These sessions will focus on the animal groups the students will be working alongside during the course, covering elements of anatomy, classification, behaviour, nutrition, handling and restraint. The students will complete written activities to add to their portfolios.

Practical sessions (ZSL London Zoo)

Session 1: Induction & Invertebrates

Session 2: Reptiles

Session 3: Birds

Session 4: Mammals 1

Session 5: Primates

Session 6: Mammals 2

Session 7: Conservation & Aquatics

Session 8: Carnivores & Graduation

Practical tasks at ZSL London Zoo will include handling invertebrates and reptiles, cleaning out the giraffe enclosure, preparing food for a variety of species, making enrichment for carnivores and completing a behaviour study of squirrel monkeys.

Practical sessions (ZSL Whipsnade Zoo)

Session 1: Induction & Invertebrates

Session 2: Small Mammals

Session 3: Birds

Session 4: Primates

Session 5: Reptiles

Session 6: Carnivores

Session 7: Large mammals

Session 8: Conservation & Graduation

Practical tasks at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will include handling invertebrates and reptiles, cleaning out white rhinos, preparing food for a variety of species, making enrichment for carnivores and carrying out a behaviour study of chimpanzees.


On the final day of the course, family and friends of the students are invited to attend ZSL Zoo Academy Graduation. One of our senior animal department staff will present certificates and there will be a short presentation about the course. Two complimentary zoo tickets will be given to each student so that family and friends can gain free entry on the graduation day. Additional friends and family can attend the graduation, but they must pay the full admission price.

Course dates

Following the success of the 2014 Zoo Academies, we have added six more dates for 2015. At both sites there will be three term-time courses held on Saturdays and three weekday courses over the summer holidays. Full dates below:

London & Whipsnade

  • Spring term: 17th January – 21st March 2015 (Saturdays only. Half term break 14th and 21st February).


  • Summer term: 25th April – 27th June 2015 (Saturdays only. Half term break 23rd May and 30th May).


  • Summer holiday course 1: 20th – 29th July 2015 (weekdays only).


  • Summer holiday course 2: 3rd – 12th August 2015 (weekdays only).


  • Summer holiday course 3: 17th – 26th August 2015 (weekdays only).


  • Autumn term: 26th September – 28th November 2015 (Saturdays only. Half term break 24th and 31st October).

To apply for a place on one of these courses, please follow the link below and fill out the online application form. Applications will be open until Friday 10th October. Please see Terms and Conditions for further details.

ZSL London Zoo applications are now closed.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Application Form

Terms and Conditions

We aim to acknowledge your application within one week of receipt. Due to limited space on these courses we cannot guarantee that all applicants will be successful. Payment instructions and further details will be provided to successful applicants by email. Once payment has been taken, refunds cannot be given. 

Frequently asked questions

After another successful year, 2015 Zoo Academy dates have now been confirmed! Please follow the relevant link at the bottom of this page to apply to for a place.

£575 per student. This must be paid in full to secure your place on one of the courses

15-17 year olds