Monday, 7 May 2012

Zookeeper for a Day at Borth Animalarium

Last summer we were lucky enough to win free tickets to go to Borth Animalarium

Borth Animalarium is a wonderful little zoo full of unwanted exotic pets from other zoo's or private homes. In a small village a few miles outside of Aberystwyth in Mid Wales on the Cambrian Coast Railway line. 

I'm sad to say that I've lived all these years nearby such a lovely zoo and I hadn't realised it! The children all thouroughly enjoyed their day at the Animalarium, even more than they'd enjoyed Chester Zoo... for one simple reason... they had food pots and were able to feed the animals!!! Whilst they got to see a lot more different and more exotic animals at Chester Zoo, that was all they could do... see! This meant they got bored very quickly. At Borth Animalarium it was a more hands-on approach as they were able to feed some of the animals themselves. They loved being able to feed the animals from their little feed pots and watched how the monkeys would break open the shells of the nuts so they could eat them. 

The weather was beautiful and they had such fun feeding the animals, the girls had a short ride on a horse (for an additional fee) and DD1 & DD2 got to hold a snake whilst DS and daddy cowered at the back! We even saw a pair of Beavers, something I'd never seen before in all the Zoo's I had ever visited, and I had never realised how big they were!!!

 The park also had several different play areas for children to enjoy so they never became bored and we stayed all day! There was several picnic areas where you could enjoy your lunch as well as a small cafe and a little gift shop, both of which were reasonably priced.

Whilst walking around the Animalarium, DD1 noticed a poster saying "Be a Zookeeper for the day!" 
"I want to do that!" She cried excitedly. "Can I?" 
We agreed that she could for her birthday and expected her to forget all about it! But she didn't. Every time her birthday was mentioned she would say "Don't forget I'm gonna be a zoo keeper for the day for my birthday! You promised I could!

So last month, a few days before her 7th birthday, DD1 and I set off for our day at Borth Animalarium for her to be a zoo keeper for the day. There was no age restriction, like other zoo's such as Colwyn Bay Zoo and it was also a lot cheaper at £50 for a child and £80 for an adult. 

She was so excited about being a zoo keeper she chatted all the way there, telling me how much she was looking forward to it and trying to guess which animals she would see and feed. 

When we arrived she became a little shy and clung to my leg as she was introduced to the 3 zookeepers. Her first job was to help prepare some fruit before going inside the cage to feed the fruit bats. She actually got to see the bats who were sleeping before helping put the fruit on hooks for the bats to eat. Afterwards she helped prepare some more food for the animals and even sieved the mealworms, although she wasn't very happy at the idea as she's very much a girlie girl. 

Next job was to feed the tortoises and she was facinated to learn the big ones were as old, or even older, than her nanny and granddad. She also got to hold a baby tortoise. 

Then she went to feed the raccoons, who were my favourite, especially as I got some wonderful photos of the raccoon taking the food from her hand! (I will be blowing the top right picture up and putting it on her wall as a reminder of the day). She then fed another animal (which I can't remember but it had a strange name) and she laughed as it tried to eat her shoes!!!

Then she went and joined in watching the reptile encounter where she stroaked a bearded dragon before being called away to help prepare food pots for all the visitors to buy to feed animals.

She then got to feed the baby lamb which she really enjoyed, although she wasn't impressed when other children appeared and took the bottle off her, but she wasn't too upset as she was called away to do another job!

Then it was time to feed the birds. She found the Kookaburra fascinating, if a little gross, when it was fed a baby chick and she watched as it smashed it against a log to break all the bones to eat it whole. 

The chickens she called "greedy" because they mobbed her when she entered their cage with the feed and started eating out of the bucket as she tried to carry it. She enjoyed finding the eggs though

The turkey was a miserable old bird, so she just gave him some water through the fence.

But she enjoyed putting the food in the feed boxes for the birds to eat out of.

She even enjoyed cleaning their cages.

And giving them water. 

At one point she overheard a little boy moaning "Why does SHE get to feed all the animals?" and she just turned to me with a beaming smile!

Then it was time to feed some fruit to some of the smaller monkeys and she enjoyed that, even though they kept trying to steal the food before she could put it out for them.

Then her last job was sieving all the mealworms so they could have clean food to eat as they grew.

DD1 thoroughly enjoyed her day as a zoo keeper and was very sad when she had to go home.  She wants it to become an annual thing now for her to be a zoo keeper for her birthday and she wants to be a zoo keeper when she grows up.

A big thank you has to go to everyone at Borth Animalarium for giving her such a wonderful day and making her feel welcome and putting up with her endless questions.

Borth Animalarium is a fun day out for all the family and I would recommend it to everyone, in fact DD1 can't wait until she can go over again for another visit and this time show her daddy and her siblings all the animals she fed! She also wants to make it a birthday tradition that she becomes a zoo keeper for the day!

For more information visit

To see more of the pictures I took, or to see the ones I took clearer, I've created a movie of all the pictures for you to enjoy!

Our first visit was courtesy of a prize we won in a raffle that had been donated by Borth Animalarium. DD1 was also given a free zoo keeping experience on the understanding that I would review their zoo and share what we thought of the experience. The above review is written in my own words and is my own honest and unbiased opinion of the product. I have not been paid for this review or influenced in any way.

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