It’s a jungle out there, so enjoy it

Thumbs up from the Burrows family for the latest animal 
experiences at Blackpool Zoo – including high fiving a sea lion

Sunday, 20th April 2014, 7:40 am

The eyes locked on the target.

A slight jitter of its glorious features then a smooth projection forward.

Silent and graceful, the owl swooped, hovered inches above the earth, then the air brakes were deployed as it reached the prey.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The powerful talons opened then clamped on the fretful creature.

My daughter.

No we’re not using her as bait – Blackpool Zoo is giving visitors the chance to get up close and personal with its residents.

They include hand feeding giraffes, flying a barn owl and meeting and greeting sea lions – all for £10-£15.

And she hasn’t stopped talking about it since.

How she was told to wear the glove, turn around with the bird on her wrist and the “big step” to draw the beautiful feathered friend home.

And how do you greet a sea lion you ask.

Well he high fives, shakes ‘hands’ and lets you stroke him.

I don’t know who enjoyed it the most.

The interactions both started after the wonderful shows, where environmental messages by enthusiastic experts were mashed up with some great fun.

The zoo also offers big cat experiences including cleaning the lions’ enclosure, a behind the scenes tour and feeding an Amur tiger – not with a flat palm but with a long stick!

And the public can also have longer sessions such as meet the lemurs, tapirs or aardvarks, discover how to be a sea lion trainer, help arrange a parrot and birds of prey display.

Fence feeding stunning tigers, tickling tapirs and coming face to face with cute little lemurs are available all year round but must be pre-booked in advance.

But best of all it must be one of the most relaxed wildlife parks in the country, with loads of walk through experiences to let the little ones wander past lemurs, monkeys, wallabies.

Add to that a baby gorilla and it was ahhs and wows all day from the Burrows family.