A Closer Look at Chester Zoo’s Wild Experience Days
Chester Zoo is one of the most popular zoos in the UK and one of the largest in the world, boasting 12,000 animals in 125 acres of award-winning zoological gardens. They enjoy 1.4 million visitors per year, some of which are able to get up close and personal with the animals in the zoo’s famous Experience Days. These experience days let you into the enclosure and behind the scenes as you work with the zookeepers and get the encounter of a lifetime with some of your favourite animals! The experience days include:
Going Behind the Scenes with the Elephants
Look at that little honey up there. She is just adorable. As part of the “Elephants Behind the Scenes” experience, you could go into the zoo before it is open to the public and get to shadow the zookeepers as they go about their daily duties. You can photograph them up close, and ask the zookeepers any questions you like about the elephants, their care and the zoo.
The Meerkat Encounter
If you’ve ever wanted to say hello to these highly sociable, intelligent animals, now’s your chance! You’ll get to hand-feed the meerkats from a keeper feeding station, and talk to the zookeepers about anything you want to know. It’ll last about half an hour and make your trip to the zoo an unforgettable one!
Feeding the Giraffes
From a special feeding platform, you’ll be able to hand-feed the endangered Rothschild Giraffes at their head height! Grab a handful of branches and watch them go – up close they’re goofy, friendly animals that love the attention! You’ll be up there for about half an hour, and as with all the animal experiences, you’ll get a certificate and can take any pictures you like!
Meeting the Lemurs
Made famous in the film “Madagascar”, Ring-Tailed Lemurs are a species of primate found only on the island of (you guessed it) Madagascar. When you sign on for the lemur experience, you’ll be getting in with the lemurs to say hello, to hand feed them and spend half an hour getting to know them. They are just as odd as the above picture implies.
Feeding the Fruit Bats
If you’ve always been more of a fan of bats, or if perhaps you have a secret identity as a bat-themed superhero, you’ll jump at the chance to enter the Bat House and hand-feed two different species of free-flying fruit bats. Living along with the tiny, nimble Seba’s bats are the massive Rodrigues bats, found only on one tiny island in Mauritius. They’re inquisitive, intelligent and friendly animals that are perfectly at home in their darkened forest home.
Playing with the Penguins
If mammals that fly aren’t quite your thing, maybe birds that don’t will be more to your taste. With the Penguin Island Experience, you’ll be allowed on to the penguin’s home island, where you can hand-feed them and interact with them, with a zookeeper there to tell you anything you might need to know. They’re adorable and very keen to get to know the person with the fish bucket, so you’d better be ready to make plenty of new friends!
Be a Zookeeper for a Day
This is the big one – the all-day, 8am-5pm Zookeeper for a Day experience. Choose your animal group, suit up and spend the day working with another zookeeper one-to-one with the animals of your choosing. You’ll be involved in every aspect of zookeeping, from preparing food and cleaning the enclosures out, to dealing with whatever surprises might come along. Tea breaks and lunch are included. Chester Zoo is the only zoo in the UK to offer an experience like this, so why not make the most of it?
The animal groups you can work with are:
- Carnivores – tigers, lions, painted dogs, giant otters, cheetahs and more;
- Reptiles and Amphibians – komodo dragons, reticulated pythons, poison dart frogs, giant tortoises, horsefield tortoises and lots of snakes as well as the Butterfly House;
- Rhinos – black rhinos, capybara, zebras, antelope and tapirs;
- Giraffes – Rothschild Giraffes, buffalo, antelope, pudus, red river hogs, warty pigs and Asian short-clawed otters;
- Bats and Spectacled Bears – spectacled bears, fruit bats, sloths, porcupines, anteaters and coatis;
- Elephants – one of the largest herds of African elephants in Europe!
- Birds – penguins, cranes, birds of prey, flamingoes, pelicans, parrots and macaws, condors and many more;
- Primates – chimps, orangutans and several monkey species.
It’ll be a hard choice. Too hard, in fact. Maybe you should do the zookeeper day once for each animal group.
You can speak to Chester Zoo about booking any of these days, or ask them for more information, by calling this number or visiting their website!