Introduction to Zoo Keeping - Junior experience FAQs

What animals will the participant get to work with?

The experience will include lots of different tasks and animals so it's guaranteed to be a fun packed morning.

Participants will get to feed a giraffe, tickle a Kune Kune pig, throw food in for a meerkat and muck out our llamas, plus loads more. On top of these activities, on selected days the group will meet and feed our giant Galapagos tortoises (Mondays and Fridays), go behind the scenes of BUGS (Tuesdays and Thursdays) or enter the rainforest biome to feed our tamarins (Wednesdays).

The programme may be altered on any given day due to animal welfare or health issues or a change to the zoo's collection, but ZSL will ensure that if this is the case then the activity will be replaced with another similar task.

What animals do the participants get to go in with?

Participants will get to go in with some animals, where appropriate. Participants will still get a behind-the-scenes or feeding experience with the animals that they don’t get direct contact with. Full details of the itinerary will be revealed on the day.

What sort of activities will the participants be expected to do?

Activities vary depending on animal but could include mucking out an enclosure, grooming an animal, helping with enrichment activities to feeding some of our animals.

Do the participants need to be strong to do the tasks?

Some of the work is quite physical, but anyone of reasonable fitness should be able to cope. The experience has been specially designed for 11 - 15 year olds.

What if the participant doesn’t want to do one of the specific tasks?

No one will be forced to do anything they do not wish to, although most find that taking part in the full range of activities is the best way to get the most from the experience. This is why we request that an accompanying adult follows the experience just in case there are any occasions when a participant would rather not partake in a particular activity.

What time can the participant and accompanying adult enter the zoo before the experience?

The experience will start at 9.15am so we ask that participants and accompanying adults arrive promptly at 9.10am. The experience lasts 3 1/2 hours and will finish at 1pm. They will not be able to access the zoo before the experience, but they can explore the zoo after the experience.

Check here for standard zoo opening times .

How long does the experience last?

The experience will start at 9.15am so we ask that participants and accompanying adults arrive promptly at 9.10am. The experience lasts approximately 3 1/2 hours and finishes at 1pm.

How many people will be taking part at the same time?

There will be a maximum of five participants taking part in the experience, so there will be plenty of opportunities for all to get involved.

Will there be someone qualified with the participants?

Yes, a qualified zoo keeper who is CRB checked will be with them at all times to explain and supervise the activities.

Is it dangerous?

Working with any animal always carries a degree of risk, but the participants will be fully briefed on what they should and should not do in any situation and they will be fully supervised at all times. ZSL will take all necessary precautions and as long as participants do as they are instructed by the qualified keeper, then there should not be any particular danger in the activities.

What happens if the weather is bad?

The weather should not affect the experience, although the itinerary may be changed if conditions are unsuitable for any aspect of the day. Besides, ZSL’s keepers work in all weather conditions.

What should the participants wear?

They should wear comfortable, hard wearing clothes suitable for wearing outdoors in sometimes mucky conditions. Sturdy, flat shoes or boots should be worn that are suitable for wearing in mud.

The participants should wear a top which they are comfortable putting a t-shirt over. We do have a private changing room available if needed.

Will they have a uniform?

All participants will be issued with special keeper t-shirt and cap that they can wear over their clothes for the day. In addition, gloves will be given for the more mucky jobs.

Are refreshments included?

Lunch is not included in the experience but there is a complimentary refreshment break at the beginning of the experience.

What's included in the price?

Price includes:

  • Fun packed 3 1/2 hour experience, including various up-close animal encounters
  • Free entry into ZSL London Zoo for accompanying adult and participant for the entire day
  • Morning refreshments
  • Exclusive zoo keeper top and cap (which they get to keep!)
  • Goody bag
  • Free car parking
  • 20% discount on entry tickets for spectators

By purchasing this experience, you will be helping us to protect endangered species, conserve natural habitats and bring learning to life for all ages.

Can the participant bring a guest?

An accompanying adult is required for the initial briefing and should then follow the group around during the experience, but we ask that they to do not attempt to partake in the experience at anytime. Any additional spectators will not be able to attend the briefing and can not access the zoo until 10am. Most of the experience will be on-show to the public so the accompanying adult and any additional spectators should be able to view most of the experience.

The experience does not include admission to the zoo for additional spectators, although a discounted rate is available if booked online at least 24 hours in advance. Alternatively, tickets are available for purchase on the day in the normal way. You will receive instructions on how to book spectator tickets once you have booked your experience.

Check here for standard zoo opening times .

Will I be able to take photographs?

We recommend that the accompanying adult brings a camera to capture some memories of the experience. However the participant will also be able to carry around a camera if they wish, but it should be able to fit comfortably in a secure pocket.

Can my child younger than 11 / older then 15 years old take part?

Unfortunately participants need to be aged between 11- 15 years old, at the time that they participate in the experience. People over the age of 16 years old can participate on our adult Keeper for a Day programme, please visit www.zsl.org/k4d for more details.

How often will the sessions be running?

Sessions run on weekdays in the February, Easter, spring, summer and October school holidays.

What should I expect to be sent in the post?

If you book directly onto a date, then you will only be sent a confirmation email with your ticket attached.

If you purchase an open-ended voucher, you will be sent the voucher and a gift card in the post. We aim to send this to the specified address the next day. We send vouchers in unmarked plain envelopes, just in case the recipient lives at the same address and it is a gift.

Once you call us to book onto a date, we will email the parent or guardian the date confirmation. We aim to email you this within 7 days. The confirmation will have all of the necessary information.

Any other questions?

If you have a question which is not covered in this list, please email keeperforaday@zsl.org and we will respond as soon as we can. Please call 0844 225 1826 if you have any urgent queries.