On the edge of Dartmoor lies a zoological park which was the inspiration behind the best-selling book and block-buster movie ‘We Bought A Zoo´, starring Matt Damon. The incredible success of the zoo is a tribute to Mr Benjamin Mee and his family who, despite significant hurdles and obstacles along the way, have created a remarkable setting and home for many fascinating animals. These magnificent creatures are cared and protected for in spacious environments, kept as sympathetic as possible to their natural habitats. Many of these animals have been rescued from cruel owners around the globe and live out the remains of their natural lives in comfort and safety.
To assist with the significant upkeep costs, the zoo has introduced a number of delightful experiences for members of the public to enjoy. These full on days are not for the feint hearted and offer an insight into the tough but totally rewarding lives of the keepers and the animals they care for. The animal experience gifts they have put together are all designed for two people to enjoy their day together.
‘Meet The Tigers´ is probably one of the most popular activities and brings you face to face with the zoos magnificent Sumatran Amur tigers. Although the shortest of the experiences on offer, it is 2 hours of absolute joy for those who participate. You learn much about the regular day to day work involved in caring for these mighty carnivores and get fully involved in the paddock cleaning, meat preparation and finally feeding of the tigers.
Another similar but much more involved option is the ‘Big Cat Keeper´ experience. This full day activity will see you caring for, feeding and learning about not only the tigers but also the lions and jaguars as well as other ferocious carnivores including wolves and bears.
For those with a less courageous outlook to life but still keen to get stuck into some hard and rewarding work, the ‘Shadow A Zoo Keeper´ option would be perfect. A typical day would involve working with Meerkats, Reptiles, Coatis and the South American paddock animals. No two days are ever the same but total satisfaction is definitely on the agenda. All of the full day experiences include a complimentary lunch in the restaurant.
But zoos are not the only place you can find animal experience days. Falconry, for example, is also a top favourite day out. Choose either a half or full day and spend time at one of the regions finest aviaries. Learn all about the art of husbandry - the caring, weighing, cleaning, feeding and flying of up to 7 birds of prey including hawks, owls, falcons, kestrels, eagles, kites, buzzards, kittyhawks and many many more.
Another hugely popular experience with animals is ‘Husky Dog Riding´. Set within the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside lays one of the country´s best Husky centres. Here you can spend a couple of enchanting hours meeting the dogs, and learning the skills involved in riding a dog sled. You don´t need snow as they have specially adapted wheeled karts. Once trained up you will even get to ride the sleds on your own.
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