Opening times

Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, 2.15pm (May to October)

Type of place

Download a visual story to help support your experience: Meet the Giraffes experience visual story

Meet our common hippos

This is a once in a lifetime experience to meet and feed one of our common hippos. Hosted by an expert zookeeper, you'll get a unique insight into their daily life and the chance to ask questions about these incredible animals.

Your experience 

This 20 minute VIP experience begins with a health and safety briefing from our expert zookeeper. You will then get the opportunity to feed one of our common hippos, whilst learning more about these amazing animals and how they make their own sunscreen!

Tip: Meet the Hippos takes place behind the scenes and due to the small group size, spectators are not permitted to access this area.

Keeper with common hippo

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Know before you book

Important information before booking your Meet the Hippos experience:

  • Admission to the zoo is not included and must be purchased separately
  • Participants must be 12 years of age or older.
  • Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a participating adult  – each adult must also have a valid Meet the Hippos ticket. No more than 2 children per adult
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers who have given birth within the previous six months cannot participate
  • Participants with learning or visual impairment must be accompanied by a carer. Accompanying carers can enter the behind the scenes area free of charge but will not participate in the experience. 
  • Wheelchair access is not available for this experience.
  • Please see our full terms and conditions for more information


  • Meet the Hippos takes place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at 2.15pm, from May to October
Man feeding hippo
keeper stroking hippo's nose

Our Common Hippos

Common hippo at Whipsnade Zoo
Hippopotamus amphibius


Hippos make their own 'sunscreen', which they secrete through their skin to keep it moist and protect them from the sun's rays.

Get closer to wildlife

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    Meet the Giraffes at Whipsnade Zoo

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    Feed the world's biggest cat

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    Feed our elephants

    Meet the elephants

    Hand feed our elephant family and get to know their individual personalities, and how they are helping inform elephant conservation work in the field.

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    For the conservationists of tomorrow

    Whipsnade Zoo Academy (15-17 year-olds)

    Join us for an exciting five-day course designed for 15-17 year olds who wish to become zoo keepers or pursue other animal related careers and studies such as vets and vet nurses.

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    Camping at the Zoo

    Nature Night Camping

    Pitch your tent and spend the evening discovering what both native and exotic animals get up to at night. Test your knowledge of animals before going on a torchlight expedition around the Zoo to see what you can find and who is still awake.

  • Experiences