We love animals, so when we found out that Folly farm offers a range of really unique ways to encounter their animals through their pre-bookable experiences we were so excited to discover what it’s like to be one of Folly Farm’s giraffe keepers.
Folly Farm is home to three Rothschild hybrid male giraffes called Taharqa, Rian and Sillan and it’s the only place to see giraffes in Wales.
We made our way to Giraffe Heights for our 10:30am zoo keeper experience. As we approached it felt like we were in Africa not Pembrokeshire, with the faint drumming of African music in the background as we watched the giraffes, zebras and antelopes in their enclosure.
As we arrived early we walked across the impressive walkway which extends right into the enclosure so we could stand at head height with these beautiful animals. The vantage point from the walkway provides stunning views of the enclosure where we spent time watching the giraffes and zebras exploring their surroundings.
At 10:30 am our keepers were waiting for us at our meeting point on Giraffe heights walkway. We were warmly welcomed by our two giraffe keepers Rachel and Pippa and after a short briefing we made our way to their tall heated house complete with four separate bedrooms to prepare their mid-morning snack.
The keepers told us a number of interesting details about the giraffes at Folly Farm, what their names were and we learnt about their personalities.
The keepers were amazing and went into lots of detail about their diet, their sleeping patterns and the breeding programme at Folly Farm. Having the devoted attention of two keepers who were so friendly and eager to answer any of our questions made this experience so unique when visiting Folly Farm. We learnt that giraffes only need half an hour of sleep each day, and they sleep standing up with their eyes open.
Walking along the path to the enclosure the giraffes certainly knew it was time for food as they followed us toward the feeding area. In our buckets was a combination of lettuce and pellets and after Rachel showed us how to feed our giraffe Taharqa we had the opportunity to get close to these beautiful graceful animals.
Seeing my daughter’s face as Taharqa moved his elegant long neck and started to eat the pellets from the palm of her hand was priceless.
As they drooled all over our hands with their long black tongues as we fed them their cabbage and pellets, we asked the keeper why their tongues are black. We learnt that because they spend a lot of their time with their tongues out it stops them getting it sun burnt.
When our buckets of food were empty we had to raise our hands to the giraffes to let them know snack time was over. After washing the excess giraffe slobber off our hands we were given a lovely a cuddly toy giraffe to take home to remember this amazing 30 minute experience.
There is a minimum age requirement of 8 years so unfortunately our youngest daughter who loves animals couldn’t take part but she had great fun with her daddy watching her sister and mummy from the vantage point overlooking the enclosure. I don’t think she could believe what she was seeing, and has told us this is what she wants to do for her 8th birthday.
Was it worth £39? Definitely, apart from being fun, it was rewarding, educational, exciting and an unforgettable experience. It is one of the very best experiences we have encountered.
The giraffes look so impressive from the viewing platforms but by getting so close to these amazing animals on the animal experience package was so memorable. My daughter enjoyed the experience so much she has been investigating how to become a zoo keeper ever since.
Price – £39 per person, plus you will need to buy an entrance ticket to Folly Farm currently priced at £13.95 for adults and £11.95 for children (3-15 years)
Time – 10.30am
Minimum age – 8 years
As well as the giraffe experience, you can also book a penguin experience, lion experience and rhino experience at Folly Farm.
For more information visit the Folly Farm website