Blackpool Zoo has launched a brand new series of animal experiences, which include some aimed at children and adults with additional needs.

The half-day packages have been devised to ensure everyone can enjoy getting up close and personal with the really wild residents.

‘Wanna be’ keepers will shadow the zoo’s dedicated and caring staff in a thrilling three-hour session where they may mingle with monkeys, lounge with the lemurs and serve snacks to the pelicans and penguins.

The Junior Keeper Experience is available to children and young adults aged eight to 17, while the half-day experience is open to anyone over 18.

The Assisted Keeper Experience will be a unique programme devised by the zoo’s Animal Experience Co-ordinator, Connor Blackburn following a personal consultation.

And, as the 23-year-old keeper took part in the zoo’s first ever Zoo Keeper Academy eight-years ago, he is the perfect man for the job.

He said: “I have been passionate about animals all my life and always wanted to be a zoo keeper.

“The Zoo Keeper Academy cemented my passion for the job and I worked at the zoo in almost every department, from catering to admissions, in the years following while I completed my studies.

“I have just finished my Diploma in the Management of Zoo and Aquarium Animals and was delighted to learn I have been selected for the role of Animal Experience Coordinator.

“The Junior Keeper Experience is the perfect introduction for anyone considering a vocation with animals and the Half Day programme has been launched as a shortened alternative to our full day offering.

“I am very excited that, for the first time ever, we are able to offer the Assisted Keeper Experience for children and adults with a disability or additional needs, and we will work closely with these people to ensure they get the most out of their time at the zoo.”

All experiences include the following:

  • Feeding time at the zoo! Help to prepare and hand deliver healthy meals to the animals
  • Muck in with mucking out – don’t worry, gloves will be provided
  • Get up close and personal with many of our friendlier residents
  • Let your creativity flow as you and our keepers come up with new and exciting enrichment ideas

Each experience is different and visitors could be working with – tortoises, giraffes, anteaters, tapirs, aardvarks, lemurs, lorikeets, spider monkeys, otters, farm animals, reindeer, pelicans or penguins.

Please be aware – the half-day experiences do not include any activities with tigers, lions, orangutans, gorillas, elephants or sea lions.

www.blackpoolzoo.org.uk