Keeper for a Day - FAQ
ZSL London Zoo
The animals you should expect to be working with include: giraffe, penguins, meerkats and monkeys or lemurs.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
The animals you should expect to be working with include: elephants, tigers or lions (not on Wednesdays), Indian rhino, giraffe, wolves or wolverine, otters or meerkats.
Please note the Introduction to Zoo Keeping experience is only available at ZSL London Zoo.
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.
You will get to go in with some animals, where appropriate. You will still get a behind-the-scenes experience with the animals that you don’t get direct contact with.
Activities vary from mucking out enclosures, to preparing food and devising enrichment activities, to feeding and meeting some of our animals.
Some of the work is quite physical, but anyone of reasonable fitness should be able to cope.
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.
The full day session will last approximately 7 hours and the Introduction to Zoo Keeping will last approximately 4.5 hours depending on the day’s activities.
There will be a maximum of five people taking part in the experience, so there will be plenty of opportunities for all to get involved.
Yes, a qualified Keeper will be with you at all times to explain and supervise the activities.
Working with any animal always carries a degree of risk, but you will be fully briefed on what you should and should not do in any situation and you 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.
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.
You 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. At ZSL Whipsnade Zoo it can be cooler than you might anticipate as it is up on the Downs, so ensure that you have warm layers.
All participants will be issued with special keeper overalls that they can wear over their clothes for the day. In addition, gloves will be given for the more mucky jobs.
At both zoos, the full day includes complimentary lunch plus morning and afternoon refreshments. At ZSL London Zoo, The Introduction to Zoo Keeping includes complimentary lunch plus morning refreshments.
- Complimentary lunch and refreshments (breakfast is also included in the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo experience)
- A t-shirt, bag for life and a certificate
- Free car parking
- 20% discount on entry tickets for spectators
Entry to the zoo is also included so you are free to have a look around afterwards. Please note that this is not always possible, as the experience may finish after the zoo has closed.
By purchasing a Keeper for a Day experience, you will be helping us to protect endangered species, conserve natural habitats and bring learning to life for all ages.
Although spectators are not able to accompany you on the experience, there may be opportunities during the day for them to see you completing the tasks with the animals. The experience does not include admission to the zoo for 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. Please note that the zoo does not open for guests until 10.00am. You will receive instructions on how to book spectator tickets once you have booked a date for your experience.
We recommend that you bring your camera to capture some memories of your day.
Unfortunately participants need to be 16 years or older to take part in a Keeper for a Day session. We do offer a Junior experience for 11-15 years old at ZSL London Zoo.
Sessions run all year round at ZSL London Zoo, and from April to October at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Participants are advised to book their session as early as possible to ensure the widest possible choice of dates. The sessions always run on weekdays.
Please see Detailed itinerary information for further detail.
Book directly onto a date
Or purchase an open-ended voucher - please purchase on Keeper for a Day main page. Open-ended vouchers are sent out in the post within 7-days.
Buying a voucher: A voucher in a gift card will normally be sent to the delivery address specified during the shopping process within 7 days. These are not put in anyone’s name and can be personalised. Be careful not to put the recipient’s delivery details unless you want it to be sent to them directly.
Booking direct onto a date: You will be sent an email confirmation. The participant will need to bring this with them on the day. It is the important that the purchaser completes the details at www.zsl.org/participant so that we know who to expect on the day.
We offer VIP animal encounters at ZSL London Zoo. Please click here for more information.
If you have a question which is not covered in this list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond as soon as we can. Please call 020 7449 6274 if you have any urgent queries about your purchased vouchers.