Challenge yourself: zookeeping

Wherever you are, try being a zookeeper for a day

The Do Something challenge: Simon Hattenstone, gorilla keeper

Paignton zoo

At this zoo in Devon, you can feed a range of animals, from meerkats up to giraffes. There is also a general keeper experience where you care for the animals, and a vet-for-a-day experience where you can observe zoo medics in action.

Feeding experiences from £49; Keeper/vet for a day £195

01803 697500;

Crocodiles of the World

The UK’s only crocodile zoo, in Oxfordshire, offers half-day keeper experiences, which may include handling juvenile crocs.

£125 an adult; £75 a child. 01993 706990;

Edinburgh zoo

This zoo offers “Magic Moments” with rhinos, big cats, birds and lemurs. For a chance to hand-feed the UK’s only giant pandas, you’ll have to wait until later in the year, after the breeding season.

Magic Moments from £35. 01313 140327;

Chester zoo

The UK’s most popular zoo runs a full-day keeper experience. Choose the type of animal you’re interested in, from bats to elephants.

£250. 01244 650 261;


The keeper experience at the North Yorkshire park includes caring for a variety of animals. It also runs animal-training sessions.

Keeper-for-a-day experience, £150; Animal-training experience, £200

0871 911 8000;

Banham zoo

The Norfolk zoo’s full-day session involves feeding giraffes and releasing colobus monkeys into their outside enclosure.

Full day £180/£270 for two people

01953 715344;

Dudley zoo

Home to many endangered species, the zoo runs “Close Encounters” with access to animals such as snow leopards and orangutans.

Close Encounters from £50 for two people; Keeper for a day, £145 for one person/£190 for two

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