A very up-close image of a giraffe's face, peering into the camera that is taking the photo

Perth Zoo Is The Perfect School Holiday Activity

by Emily Prior

Perth Zoo, located in South Perth, first opened in 1898 and plays a huge part in the conservation of our natural world for the preservation of all the different animals and their habitats.

There is a lot more going on ‘behind-the-scenes’ than you would imagine. In fact, only one-third of Perth Zoo’s staff work directly with the animals! So, what is it like to be a zookeeper and what do they do?

I love animals, so I can’t imagine a better career than being a zookeeper. I recently took part in the Keeper Careers program run at Perth Zoo. It was the perfect school holiday activity! This program is suitable for students in Years 9 to Year 12 (however, there are lots of other school holiday programs for a range of age groups).

After meeting Perth Zoo zookeepers Emma and Marty (and the rest of the future Zookeepers) at 7.45am, we set off straight to the Giraffe enclosure. While there, not only did we “muck out” their inside enclosure (picking up their poop!), we filled up their hay baskets, looked at the food they ate and then we then got to feed them. This was my favourite part!

We spent the day at Perth Zoo learning all about the world’s best job, caring for the animals and what happens behind the scenes. We got to visit the Feeding areas (Kitchen & Freezer), and see where they make the enrichment foods for all of the animals. Then, we took some of this food to the enclosures. We saw animals up close and even watched a snake being fed!

A young girl in a wheelchair at Perth Zoo holds up a branch of green leaves to a giraffe. The giraffe is leaning down to eat.
Perth Zoo offers us the chance to learn all about being a zookeeper – the perfect school holiday activity!

I found the Perth Zoo Keeper Careers experience really accessible for my needs. I used my wheelchair and could access both the Zoo and the behind-the-scenes areas. I was able to have a support worker with me, and the Zookeepers ensured that I could see, hear and access everything. 

To find out what amazing school holiday programs you can be involved in at Perth Zoo, visit their website.

This article first appeared in Travel Without Limits magazine. You can subscribe here.

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