New ranger school at Lakeland zoo

After two years’ enforcedly subdued summer holidays, a much-loved local attraction is offering children who might still be facing restricted horizons, a very special opportunity to spread their wings and stretch their paws.

By Michelle Blade
Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 12:30 pm

Throughout the school summer holidays, Milnthorpe’s Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, “the little zoo with lots to do” is packing in even more, hosting weekly Summer Ranger Clubs with real “roar-factor”, for children from five to 11-years-old.

“The idea came to us after chatting to visiting families, which illustrated just how much pressure children and parents have been under,” explains zoo founder Jo Marsden. “Lockdowns, social distancing, home-schooling, and the squeeze on finances have constrained important childhood freedoms and development.

“It brought home how just how important the zoo is to families, and with many parents having to work throughout the holidays rather than take the kids away, we felt there was opportunity to provide more than just daily visits or Keeper Experiences. The whole team put our thinking-caps on, and came up with the Ranger Club.”

Looking after the lemurs at Lakeland Wildlife Oasis.

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    Split into ages five to six, seven to eight and nine to 11, each club will run for a full week, giving children the chance to experience the full breadth of life at the zoo, including interactive zoo “safaris”, handling animals, and getting hands on behind the scenes with regular tasks like feeding. enrichment and weighing.

    Maximising facilities at the zoo’s purpose-built classroom, keepers have been busy planning craft activities including “sounds of the zoo" music project, and “designing and creating homes for nature”. As well as unique experiences and memories, all participants will go home with their hand-made crafts, an Oasis Ranger t-shirt, and a certificate of achievement.

    Jo said: “Time in nature is so good for children’s physical and mental health, it’ll be wonderful to see them having truly out of the ordinary experiences.”

    To optimise individual participation, the fully-supervised clubs are limited to 10 children per week, and must be pre-booked.

    Looking after the lemurs at Lakeland Wildlife Oasis.

    They are also SEND (Special Education Needs and Disabilities) friendly, and include lunch and snacks, with add-on breakfast available.

    For details visithere, and check out ‘Lakeland Wildlife Oasis’ on Facebook for updates on all zoo activities and inhabitants.