Animal Encounter Tours


Animal Encounter Tours

Our experienced Animal Encounters Keeper Team will provide information on the different species, and allow visitors to meet some of the animals. We aim to educate visitors on subjects such as conservation, breeding projects and bio-diversity. There may also be an opportunity for visitors to handle or feed some of the animals.


Animal Encounter Tours last two hours and include:

  • The Arid Biome; housing species such as tortoises and Von der Decken’s hornbills…
  • The Tropical Biome; housing species such as black-throated monitor lizard, fly river turtle, bleeding-heart doves and parrots…
  • Husbandry Room; housing a wide selection of birds and reptiles including corn snakes, royal pythons, tortoises, tree frogs and fish…
  • Walled Garden; to meet the meerkats (weather permitting)


Meet the Meerkats Experience can be added onto an Animal Encounter Tour for an extra £30 per person click here for more information 


Gift vouchers are available click here for more information



Book Today

Here are the tour details: 

Price: £18 per person

Duration: 2 hours

Tours MUST be pre-booked – no one will be allowed on the tour without a

pre-booked ticket. Under 16s MUST be accompanied by an adult (who will also need a ticket)

Terms and Conditions

  • You MUST pre-book your tickets – no entrance will be allowed without a ticket
  • Under 16-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult (over the age of 18 years)
  • The minimum age for tours is 5 years
  • Maximum numbers are 10 visitors per tour
  • Footwear needs to be sturdy (i.e. trainers) – strictly NO open toe sandals or flip flops
  • Car parking is on site and is free of charge
  • We reserve the right to cancel a booking in any unforeseen circumstances that may arise (a full refund will be given)
  • All tickets are non-refundable (unless agreed by the Commercial Manager)
  • Please arrive approx. 10 minutes before your allocated tour time.
  • We can’t guarantee handling and feeding on all our tours but we will always aim to include some on each tour.
  • Animal welfare is extremely important to us and if any visitors put any of our animals at risk then we will politely ask them to leave the Centre.

Covid-19 Information

  • Face coverings will need to be worn during the tours so please bring one with you (not including those who are exempt or under 11yrs)
  • Participants will be encouraged to wash their hands before and after the tour and antibacterial gel will be available
  • Participants presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms or have persons within the household with symptoms must not attend.

Questions and Answers

How can I purchase a ticket for a tour?

You can purchase a ticket for a tour by following the booking link on the website and selecting a tour date through Eventbrite. Alternatively you can contact us directly at [email protected] to arrange a group tour date.


Do I need to book?

Yes – you will need to pre-book tickets. We can’t allow anyone on the tour who hasn’t purchased tickets.


Do you only offer tours at weekends?

Public tours are run at weekends and during school holidays.


What is the structure of the tour?

The tours start with a safety briefing and then the group is taken to the various animal biomes. These areas include the desert biome, tropical biome, husbandry room and other areas may be visited such as the meerkat enclosure. During the tour various animals will be taken out of the enclosures so visitors can see them up close, and handling may be carried out if safe to do so.


Where do I go on the day on the tour?

We will send you instructions and directions when you book. You will need to go direct to the Animal Management Centre (follow the signs to Animal Encounters) and meet in the foyer area (the Hub), where the staff will come and meet you. If you get lost please phone 07854 274866.


Who takes the tours?

The tours are taken by one of our Animal Keeping staff who will guide guests around the Animal Centre. The Animal Keepers will provide information about the animals and will get some of the animals out in a controlled way. All our Animal Keepers are qualified in Animal Management and are experienced in delivering public tours.


How long does the tour last?

The duration of the Encounters Tour is approximately 2 hours.


Are there any age requirements for the tour?

The minimum age for the tour is 5 years old and there is no maximum age.


Can I take pictures?

Yes, you will be allowed to take pictures during the tour. No pictures with flash are allowed as the animals may get spooked by it. The Animal Keepers on the day will go through the rules regarding photography and will get animals out in a controlled way.


What do I wear for the tour?

For footwear – strictly NO open-toed sandals or flip flops please. It can get quite warm in the centre so please wear layers.


Can I bring a drink?

Yes, we recommend bringing a drink to the Animal Encounters Tour as it can get quite warm – there is drinking water available in the foyer.


I am unable to make the dates advertised when will you be releasing more?

Future dates will be displayed on the Merrist Wood Events website and on our Facebook page ‘Merrist Wood Events’.


Can I arrange a tour for a group of people?

Yes, we can arrange group tours and education tours – please email us at [email protected] to organise.

Book an Animal Encounter Tour