Keeper for a Day and Introduction to Zoo Keeping - What to expect
What it entails
Keeper for a Day is a hands-on experience which offers a unique insight into what life is like as a zoo keeper. As part of a group of up to five people, you will be assigned to one of our experienced keepers, who will be your host for the day. So not only will you be getting up close and personal with some of our most popular animals, you will also have a keeper on hand to answer your questions and tell you more about ZSL's animals, conservation programmes and how our zoos are run.
Once you have been kitted out in your overalls for the day’s tasks, your host keeper will give you a health and safety briefing and introduce your itinerary. You will then head off to get stuck into your first job of the day. At the end of the day you will be debriefed by your host keeper while reminiscing with your group, the highlights of a truly unforgettable day.
This experience is only available to people aged 16 and over. There is no maximum age limit, although participants will need to be reasonably fit and fully mobile in order to make the most of the day. Pregnant women and those who have given birth within the previous six months are unable to partake. Whilst every effort will be made to accommodate those with a disability or learning difficulty, due to practicality this cannot always be achieved. Please contact ZSL for advice before purchasing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What to wear
You should wear comfortable, hard wearing clothes suitable for wearing outdoors in sometimes mucky conditions. Flat, sturdy 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.
At ZSL London Zoo there are secure lockers where belongings can be stored. However there is limited opportunity to return to them during the day. Participants at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo travel between enclosures in our Keeper for the Day vehicle. Belongings can be stored in here but it is advisable to keep valuables to a minimum.
We recommend that you bring your camera to capture some memories of your day.
If you have any further questions please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions .