Keeper for a Day at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Animal Lovers Dream Come True
I got to try this a few months back and can honestly recommend it 100%! Despite getting there late due to public transport problems, the staff were wonderful and very welcoming. There were four people in our group in total and we were asked what our favourite animals were over a hot breakfast and then kitted out (being in zookeeper overalls does make you feel quite special!).
We really did pack a lot into the day; mucking out the rhinos (not as bad as you'd think) and then feeding them by hand (you can put your whole hand in their mouths), watching one of the tigers eat from a private viewing area, throwing food for wolverines, getting climbed on by meerkats, feeding wolves from behind a fence (my favourite animal, incidentally!), tossing fish to the penguins as they swam, acting as a human tree for giraffes (amazingly relaxing), feeding elephants by hand and preparing snacks for chimpanzees (they like hot chocolate with fruit, who knew?!). Think that was everything! Oh, and a very nice lunch too!
Whipsnade itself is beautiful, staff are very friendly and extremely passionate about their work, you get a great sense of family both human and animal. There are wallabies, mara and capybaras wandering free-range (I never knew what a mara was until then - a bit like a giant guinea pig). A little word of advice, you will get so much more from this experience if you're not afraid to get your hands dirty and are not squeamish. Meerkats ate crickets from my hair and my lap and the wolverines eat whole dead mice! However you won't have to do anything you're not comfortable with though, staff are very understanding. I drew the line at picking up crickets by hand, but I would pluck up the courage next time!
overall, this is fantastic value for money and an experience you will never forget. You will never be bored and you won't realise how tired you are until the very end. If you love animals and really want to get stuck in, this is the experience for you!
13 April 2013