FROM £640 pp + VAT

Get up close and personal with exotic species

BIAZA award-winning Sam Sykes and Blackpool Zoo, Residential. A unique hands-on 5 day and 5 night residential

  • Designed for 16 – 25-year-olds by industry leading experts.
  • The course gives 40 hours of work experience towards Vet Med applications.

Focusing on

  • Research and animal behaviour
  • Specialised care
  • Digestion and nutrition
  • The value and purpose of enrichment.

Sneak a peek behind the scenes

Participants will get to sneak a peek behind the scenes to explore the work of the zookeeper and the role of a modern zoo.

Experience ‘Project Elephant

Showcasing in situ conservation and a new concept in animal care.


The perfect mix of theory and practice

During your residential you’ll:

  • Compile a dossier of evidence.
  • Gain real experience for an extra ‘wow factor’ at interviews for university courses.
  • Have access to the Blackpool Zoo Education team; These include qualified vets and the Sam Sykes instructors too.
  • Receive help with career advice.
  • Gain contact details for further work and work experience opportunities.
  • Take your career further at Blackpool zoo, across the UK, and abroad.
  • Be provided accommodation and seriously tasty food for the duration.
What are you waiting for? Take a walk on the wild side!


An amazing experience

To achieve your Gold Award, you need to complete an extra section – the Residential. This involves spending 5 days and 4 nights away from home on a shared activity with people you’ve never met before – dofe.org

What’s involved?

  • This is a 5-day residential – combining theory with practice. Hands-on experience section at the zoo – focusing on key transferable skills to take away.
  • Challenge opportunities include – teamwork, small group work, presentations, leadership, problem-solving.
  • Food and accommodation are provided at a nearby, modern scout centre where participants can enjoy quality food and homemade puddings!
  • And, of course, you’ll get the chance to get up close and personal with a wide range of creatures.

This fun and engaging opportunity is ideal for anyone with a passion for animals and conservation, or anyone looking to study a related area.

What’s included?

  • Accommodation and food
  • Transport to and from Blackpool train station (if required)
  • All transfers between the accommodation and the zoo
  • Five days at the zoo completing a range of practical and theory-based tasks
  • The chance to feed, handle and experience a wide range of animals
  • A portfolio of evidence and written reference from the zoo to take away

What makes it even more important is that what you learn, and experience on the course, is very personal:

This comes through the direct contact with the animals, the friendships made, and experiences shared with the others they meet on the course.

Example DofE Gold residential reference - Zoo Keeper residential

Example Gold DofE Residential Reference

A personalised written reference is prepared by Blackpool Zoo and Sam Sykes for you to use as a record of your achievement on the residential. This is a key item for your applications and interviews moving forwards.

Read more

DofE Gold ResidentialTestimonial

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the week that I was able to do with Sam Sykes™ I gained some great experiences, which’ll help me in the future as I’ll be able to write this on my personal statement for university. Just wanted to let you know that I have a place on the Whipsnade Zoo Academy Course next August, which I’m also looking forward to.”

Zoo Residential Participant

Book on an Open Residential Course

Jul 21
Aug 25

This Sam Sykes™ Residential meets all the Gold DofE residential requirements.