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Junior keeper

Do your little ones fancy walking in the boots of a zookeeper?

Our junior keeper for a day experience gives the next generation of zookeepers the chance to get up close and personal with some of their favourite animals, while getting an insight into the day-to-day life of caring for some of the world’s most endangered species.

What is included?

  • free entry to Belfast Zoo for the junior keeper
  • free entry for an accompanying adult
  • a ‘zooper’ schedule of behind the scenes fun including animal encounters, feeding times and enrichment from 10.40am to 2.45pm
  • friendly and experienced zookeepers to act as your guide
  • a voucher for the photography station
  • an exclusive junior keeper for a day goodie bag
  • animal poster and 'zoovenir'
  • a junior keeper for a day certificate

Lunch is not included in this experience. You have the option to buy lunch in one of our cafés or bring a packed lunch. You should check opening times in our cafés. We open reduced hours from October to March. 


The junior keeper for a day experience costs £125 per child.

Who can take part?

  • You must be aged between eight and 16 to take part in our junior keeper for a day experiences. You will be required to present valid documentation with proof of age.
  • We cannot accept participants who have relevant phobias or allergies.
  • We cannot accept participants who suffer from fits, have autoimmune conditions or any other relevant medical conditions. If you have a medical condition or disability which you would like to discuss, call our team. There may be different options available for you.

The junior keeper for the day is an up-close and personal experience for the signed-up participant. Due to Health and Safety and for the wellbeing of the animals the experience is restricted to the sole participant only.  Any deviation from this condition can see the experience activities cancelled.

When is keeper for a day available?

The junior keeper for a day experience can take place on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (dependent on availability). The experience starts at 10.40am and finishes at 2.45pm.

You must book your experience in advance.

How to book

Book junior keeper experience online (link opens in new window)

You can also email, or call 028 9077 6277 for more information.

Buy a junior keeper experience as a gift

You can buy a gift voucher for the junior keeper for a day experience. 

Buy a gift voucher (link opens in new window)

The experience is also part of our junior gift pack.

Junior keeper terms and conditions

  • Permissions
    • “Junior Keeper for a day” experience is available to persons aged 8 to 16 years.
    • The participants must have approval from their parent or guardian to take part in the experience.
    • The participant must be always accompanied by a responsible adult (aged 18 or over) throughout the experience and when on the zoo site.
    • If the identified responsible adult is not the participant’s parent or guardian, a parent or guardian is responsible for identifying an appropriate adult to act on their behalf.
    • The responsible adult will not take part in the experience activities.
    • You are prohibited from taking part in the experience if you have convictions relating to the mistreatment of animals or a prosecution pending.
  • Clothing and footwear
    • Please wear either sturdy wellington boots or sturdy walking shoes. Do ensure that shoes are comfortable as participants will be on their feet throughout the experience.
    • Please wear suitable clothing and footwear that participants do not mind getting dirty. We advise trousers (no shorts, skirts, or dresses).
    • Clothing should be in neutral colours as bright colours can startle some animals.
    • Belfast Zoo is an outdoor attraction. Participants should pack clothing for wet weather and for sun protection.
    • Please do not wear jewellery.
    • Bring a change of clothes for after the experience.
    • If you are not wearing suitable clothing or footwear, you will strictly not be permitted to take part in the experience.
  • Arrival and itinerary
    • The responsible adult should make themselves known to a member of staff in the Visitor Centre on arrival.
    • The responsible adult must bring photographic ID to confirm their identity. Zoo staff will check this ID on arrival. If the responsible adult cannot produce ID, the experience will not be permitted. Your experience cannot be transferred or refunded.
    • The responsible adult is required to sign the terms and conditions and disclosure statement on arrival. By signing these, the responsible adult is confirming that the participant’s information provided is accurate, they are aged 8 to 16 years and they have disclosed all relevant medical information.
    • The responsible adult must display their receipt on the day of the visit as proof of payment.
    • The experience will start promptly at 10.40am. It is your responsibility to arrive on time. If you are late, you will miss the start of your experience, and you must go to the relevant meeting point as per the schedule.
    • A refund will not be permitted in the event of no-show or late arrivals.
    • As part of the experience, the participant and responsible adult will be tasked with making their way between set locations as part of map-reading activity. The participant will therefore not be supervised by zoo staff throughout the entire duration of the experience.
    • “Junior Keeper for a day” itinerary is designed to allow as much time as possible with the keepers whilst not detracting from the running of the Zoo. As such, it is not possible to request activities outside those included in the itinerary or change the times of the experience.   
    • Visitors will be supplied with a ‘Stay Safe’ sheet which they must always follow.
    • Food and drink are not permitted in the experience area.
    • Participants will not be accompanied by staff during the lunch break.
    • Junior keeper experience does not include lunch. During the lunch break participants may buy lunch in one of our cafés or bring a packed lunch. Check opening times for our cafés as we open reduced hours from October to March.
    • The experience will finish at approximately 2.30pm. Visitors can remain in the zoo until normal closing time.
    • The responsible adult agrees to pay any costs of repair or making good any loss or damage that arises from the booking. Any invoice submitted by Belfast City Council for the costs of repairing damages shall be payable within 30 days.
    • Belfast Zoo reserves the right to alter the itinerary, route, or any other element of the experience at any time.
    • Belfast Zoo cannot guarantee that all animals and exhibits will be available on the date of your experience.
  • Health and safety
    • There are several risks relating to this experience. Your Junior Keeper may come in to contact with dust, nuts, hay, or straw in the animal environments. You must make us aware of any conditions your child may have prior to your experience, for example health conditions, accessibility requirements, special dietary requirements, allergies or phobias.
    • Every effort will be made to accommodate visitors with a disability or medical condition however this may not always be reasonably possible. Please contact Belfast Zoo for advice before purchasing.
    • It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to inform us of any medical conditions that your child may have to ensure the safety of the participant, staff, or animals.
    • Responsible adults must ensure any medication, inhalers, epi-pens, for example, are brought to the experience. They are responsible for administering these if required.
    • The experience is not available to pregnant women, people with relevant phobias or at-risk allergies or immuno-compromised individuals. 
    • The responsible adult and participants agree that their visit will be conducted in a safe and responsible manner and in accordance with all relevant health and safety regulations and requirements. You must always abide by staff instructions and safety rules.
    • Visitors must not enter areas which are identified as out of bounds or cross any safety barriers.
    • Staff may have to manoeuvre participants if faced with emergency. This may involve staff placing their hands on the participant to move them. Where possible, this will be communicated to parents in advance, however in the event of emergency there may not be sufficient time for this instruction.
    • There may be times during the experience the supervising adult and Junior Keeper will be asked to wear the face mask provided. This is a COVID-19 safety precaution for at risk animals. You must abide by this, or you cannot complete this part of the experience. If you are exempt from wearing a face mask, you must make us aware before your experience date. Please contact Belfast Zoo for advice before purchasing.
  • Booking
    • All bookings must be made at least 14 days in advance.
    • Full payment is required to confirm your experience date.
    • Tickets and vouchers are non-transferable and non-refundable.
    • Vouchers are valid for 12 months from purchase. If you attempt to make a booking after this date you will be refused, and your payment will not be refunded.
    • All animal experiences include entry to Belfast Zoo. Check our website for up-to-date opening times to make sure you get the most out of your visit.
    • Prices are non-negotiable and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or promotion unless otherwise stated.
  • Cancellations and refunds
    • Once your experience is confirmed, you cannot change the date.
    • Bookings are non-transferrable and non-refundable.
    • Belfast Zoo reserves the right to alter or cancel the experience on any given day. Belfast Zoo will give as much notice as possible, however, this cannot always be guaranteed.
    • In the event Belfast Zoo cancels your experience date, another date will be offered, or a full refund will be permitted.
    • Belfast Zoo will not reimburse travel, accommodation, or any other associated costs if your experience is cancelled.
    • Belfast reserves the right to close or prohibit use of its facilities at its discretion, for example on health and safety grounds or on breach of terms and conditions.
  • General
    • Belfast Zoo or its employees do not accept any liability for any accident, loss or damage, injury or illness to participants, their property, vehicles, and contents or to any other person or property whatsoever, whether caused by their negligence, breach of contract or in any other way whatsoever.
    • Belfast Zoo reserves the right to ask any participant or visitor to leave the experience or the zoo, should they fail to adhere to the instructions of its employees, fail to adhere to health and safety requirements or behave in an inappropriate or unsafe manner.
    • Belfast Zoo reserves the right to refuse admission to the site or facilities.
    • Belfast Zoo provides storage lockers which are located at the Visitor Centre. Lockers require payment.  
    • If a child becomes lost on-site, please contact Belfast Zoo staff immediately or call 028 9077 6266. Staff will implement the lost child procedure.
    • Belfast Zoo visitor code of conduct protects animals and the safety of visitors. The code of conduct always applies to all visitors while at Belfast Zoo:
      • Respect the animals by not banging on the glass of their enclosures
      • Do not feed the animals as they will get sick if they eat too much
      • Be careful when walking especially on steep hills
      • Dogs are not permitted
      • Fires or barbeques are not permitted
      • No ball games
      • No running
      • No scooters, bikes or heelies
      • No drones
      • No alcohol
      • Children under the age of 16 must be always supervised by an adult (18 years and over).
    • Normal Zoo opening hours apply (unless otherwise stated).