ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Academy (15-17 year-olds)

ZSL Zoo Academy is a five-day course which allows students to gain experience and knowledge in working within Zoological Society of London.

An Amur tiger climbs a tree to get to enrichment

A packed timetable covers the different aspects of caring for exotic animals in captivity, including nutrition, training and breeding programmes while gaining more than 15 hour practical experience.

Our exciting animal-based course is designed for 15-17 year old’s who wish to become vets, vet nurses, zoo keepers or pursue other animal science related careers and studies.

Culminating in a graduation ceremony on the last day, this course provides an invaluable opportunity to work in the Zoo, meet ZSL staff, see behind-the scenes and understand more about exotic species, their care and conservation. 

Your course includes

  • Five days at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
  • Theory sessions and practical experience in the zoo
  • A digital ‘Zoo Academy’ portfolio and worksheets
  • A ‘Zoo Academy’ certificate of attendance
  • A digital reference on ZSL headed paper
  • A copy of all photos taken on the course
  • A unique ‘Zoo Academy’ hoody
  • Two complimentary tickets for family or friends on graduation day

Dates: availability throughout the year (either consecutive Saturdays or Monday-Friday. See side bar for details)
Course length: 5 days
Time: 10.15am-4pm for the course duration (entry to the Zoo from 10am)
Location: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Cost: £475 (ZSL Gold Members, Patrons and Fellows receive a 10% discount on this experience. Please enter your CRM ID in the Offer Code box.  To manage your booking please visit https://zslwhipsnadezoo.seetickets.com/customerservice)
Capacity: 12 places available per course
Age range: 15-17


The Experience

The Zoo Academy course is designed to enable young people to gain practical experience in a zoological collection as well as learn more about exotic species, their care and conservation.

Supported by the education, keeping and veterinary staff, students will complete an evidence portfolio of their theory and practical work. Students will be able to keep their portfolios as evidence of their time at ZSL and hopefully use them at future university or college interviews to support their career with animals. On completion of the course to a satisfactory level, students will receive a certificate and reference statement.

Please see a sample schedule below (please note this is just an example and is subject to change)

PDF icon ZSL ZA sample schedule 2021.pdf (175.17 KB) (175.17 KB)

White rhino at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

What we've done to keep you safe...

Our Zoo Academy course has been adapted to ensure that you don’t miss out on our usual activities whilst keeping both you and our animals safe. This includes new operating procedures for equipment, ZSL overalls for the duration of the course, social distancing indoor learning spaces, track and trace system and hand sanitiser throughout the course. There are some areas where masks must be worn, however, all PPE will be provided. Please let us know if you are exempt from wearing a mask by emailing us at zooacademywz@zsl.org.

Click here to find out how the rest of the Zoo has been adapted.

Terms and Conditions

Places are sold on a first-come, first-served basis and you will be provided with a parental consent form with your ticket which must be returned to ZSL to confirm your place.  Once payment has been taken, refunds cannot be given, and dates cannot be swapped (unless the student has been instructed to self-isolate and will miss the duration of the course)

If you have any queries or questions about the course, feel free to get in touch with us at zooacademywz@zsl.org.

Frequently asked questions

2022 Course Dates

Saturday course

  • 15th January 2022 - 12th February 2022
  • 26th February 2022 - 26th March 2022
  • 23rd April 2022 - 21st May 2022
  • 11th June 2022 - 16th July 2022 (Excluding Saturday 25th June) -- SOLD OUT
  • 17th September - 15th October 2022 -- SOLD OUT
  • 5th November - 3rd December 2022 - NEW DATE ADDED

Weekday courses 

  • 18th July - 22nd July 2022 - SOLD OUT

  • 25th July  - 29th July 2022 - SOLD OUT

  • 1st August - 5th August 2022 - SOLD OUT

  • 8th August - 12th August 2022 - SOLD OUT

  • 15th August - 19th August 2022 - SOLD OUT

  • 22nd August - 26th August 2022 - SOLD OUT


Select dates for 2023 will be released at the end of September 2022


This must be paid in full to secure your place on one of the courses. Once payment has been taken, refunds cannot be given and dates cannot be swapped.