American pilot, Ben Fradkin, lost his heart to a group of flightless birds when he became a Keeper For a Day at DZG.
Ben, who received the experience as a 40th birthday gift from partner, Tara Baron, works for United Airlines and frequently flies passengers into the UK. But he was well and truly grounded by our colony of Humboldts in Penguin Bay. Ben, from Michigan, said: “I had the most fantastic time, I enjoyed every minute of it, but the best part of my day was spent feeding the penguins; they were just amazing.” He added: “Staff are so knowledgeable about the animals on their sections and the setting is superb with the castle at the heart of the gardens, it really was a great day.” Tara shared the experience and helped Ben fly birds of prey in the 11th century courtyard with keeper Becky Bowdley before moving on to feed male Sumatran tiger, Joao. She said: “Ben loves animals and so I surprised him with a Keeper For a Day experience. Back home in the States we don’t have the same freedoms to fly birds of prey as you do in UK experiences so it really was a special time.”