Become A Real Life Animal Keeper
Have you ever wanted to find out what it is like to be a wild animal keeper? Now you can at the Keeper Academy at Port Lympne Reserve in Kent.
The Keeper Academy offers young people aged between 13 & 17 the chance to become a trainee keeper for a day in a hands-on and educational experience.
A typical day will involve studying animal observation, cleaning out animals, food preparation and feeding, learning the principles of enclosure design and enrichment, captive breeding and conservation with our expert keeping staff.
Your day starts at 10am, when you will meet your guide and they will tell you about all the things you can and can’t do (the Health and Safety talk).
Then we start off with a guided VIP tour and animal observation from a specially adapted Land Rover out on the African Experience Safari. This will be your first chance to encounter the endangered wild animals, but do watch out for the rhinos!
We talk you through the principles of animal enclosure design, as those fences aren’t there just to be lent on!
You will get to find out what is on the menu, not for you, for the animals of course, by learning about nutrition. You'll do some food preparation, for those of you who don’t spend much time in the kitchen at home, we appreciate this might be the hardest part of the day!
Throughout the day you will have some close encounters with the hairy and furry types, which might involve going into the vet hospital.
And here is the best bit, you will get to muck out the animals’ bedrooms and learn how to manoeuvre a wheelbarrow full of manure and find out what we do with it all!
As you got up so early, no doubt you left yours in a mess, so we get you to make the animals’ beds instead!
Today our keepers are cleaners, health and safety advisors, teachers, designers, managers, scientists, biologists, conservationists plus of course animal experts who have good customer care. So throughout the day you will learn tonnes of animal facts about zoo management, captive breeding, conservation and the role of the Aspinall Foundation. It’s a tough, smelly job, but every one of our Keepers will tell you that they love every minute. Let’s hope you really are up to the challenge, and never forget your experience, as you really have enjoyed being one of the team of Animal Keepers.
I just wanted to drop a quick message to let you know how amazing our day was!!!! When we arrived the two lovely ladies at the gate made us all so welcome and my daughter felt so special as it was her birthday :-) My daughter adored the tapir experience she had :-) again the man giving the experience was wonderful happy and made my daughter feel very at ease! She had the best time EVER!! All the staff we encountered today were amazing!!!
Would like to say a huge thank you to all the gorilla zoo keepers. I was a keeper for the day with them (today) I had an amazing day the keepers were all great, nice friendly and most of all shared the same love I have for the gorillas thank you so much I really hope to see you all really soon
Prices & Booking
The day costs just £156 per person. Includes a keeper academy hooded sweatshirt and a certificate (lunch is not included).
The price of this experience DOES NOT include entry to Port Lympne Reserve UNLESS you are an overnight guest of Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve OR a Member (excludes season ticket holders). If you are not an overnight guest of Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve or Member then a valid day entry ticket will also need to be purchased either on arrival at the gatehouse or online 24 hours in advance of your visit.
Important Things To Note
Keeper Academy is offered to young people aged between 13 and 17 and is a practical and academic insight into the role of the Zoo Keeper.
The itinerary is subject to change and the animals that the students will be working with may differ from the published itinerary. We would also like to stress that we will be working very closely with wild animals and the students' good behaviour is of paramount importance. Any students expressing undesirable behaviour will be asked to leave the course. The Health and safety of our students is of highest concern. Our students will be subject to "messy" situations so suitable clothing and footwear is required.
Available on selected dates only. Also available at Howletts Wild Animal Park. Please note this is a group experience and up to 5 individuals may be booked onto a keeper academy day.
Terms & conditions apply.