Never before had I thought that one day I would be able to feed a giraffe by hand; however this weekend my dreams came true through the Paignton Zoo Giraffe Experience.
This Sunday just past we made the long journey up to Paignton Zoo. With our Meerkat Experiences passes in one hand and a gleaming smile on our faces, we were greeted at the door by a keeper with some disappointing (and slightly amusing) news: “we are ever so sorry, but we’ve had to cancel your meerkat meet-and-greet as they, err, managed to escape this morning…”. Honestly, if I could count on this happening to anyone, it would be us. They did however offer us a return trip for the meerkats next year, and to instead participate in Giraffe feeding time as an apology. Something that I, had already planned to book in for the future!
The Paignton Zoo Giraffe Experience
Now I’ve seen giraffes in their own native environment whilst in South Africa, which honestly, is hard to beat. However, being close enough to hand-feed and tickle this majestic creatures chin was something else. Yoda and Tilly were keen to come over and say hi to us. We also got to have a guided tour of their indoor enclosure, as well as an opportunity to meet Paignton’s elderly Elephant, Duchess. Who was, of course, rather fabulous!
The keeper answered all of our questions and informed us of their important role of ensuring the continuity of the Paignton Zoo giraffe group for global conservation. The Rothschild’s giraffe survival rate is dependent on the conservation work completed in zoo’s like Paignton. Their finicky personality contrasts well with their questionable intelligence. Also, rather interestingly, these gentle animals carry their own individual fingerprint with their spots and Yoda, much to my surprise, isn’t far off a ton… A TON!
Overall the Paignton Zoo Giraffe Experience was simply incredible, and I am now looking forward to finally cuddling and playing with their meerkats in the new year.
The Rest of the Zoo
The Zoo has a vast amount of animals from Orang-utans to Zebras to Cheetahs. Aside from the Paignton Zoo Giraffe experience, I was most looking forward to finally catching a sneak peak of their recently born tiger cub. And honestly, I could have stood there and gazed for HOURS on end. Cats are by far my favourite animals, and this was one of my bucket list goals to see an itty-bitty tiger cub in person!
Amongst the ever-so cute cub, we also got to see several baby baboons cause havoc, their ring-tailed lemurs and after a long-time of waiting caught a glimpse of the red panda’s (also in my top five favourite animals list).
If you are one to support wildlife conservation and fancy a trip to an amazing zoo, then Paignton Zoo might be the one for you.