'We Bought a Zoo' Tour with, Benjamin Mee

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Enjoy a tour of the zoo in the company of DZP Director and author of 'We bought a Zoo', Benjamin Mee.

A full Zoo tour with a very special tour guide, Benjamin Mee, director of the Zoo and author of the inspirational story 'We bought a Zoo'.


In 2009, this fascinating story came to the attention of Hollywood producers and in 2010, the movie of the same name starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson was released in the USA and later in the UK in March 2012.

The screen adaptation was crafted for an American audience and set in sunny California but despite the change of location, the writer/director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) remained true to the spirit of the original story.

Since that time, Benjamin Mee has become a popular choice as a public speaker, sharing his unique story with a variety of audiences around the world.

Now you can hear this fascinating story as well as all the highs and lows of keeping Dartmoor Zoo alive over the past six years first hand from Benjamin himself in a guided VIP tour of the zoo.

The day will begin with a welcome from senior zoo staff over refreshments in our Jaguar Restaurant. Then the day will get underway with a guided tour of the zoo with a senior keeper where you’ll be able to hear all about some of the human and non-human characters that contribute to this unique story.

Along the way, there’ll likely be a few bonus animal encounters as well.

After a full morning it will be time for a hearty lunch in the Jaguar Restaurant where you’ll meet Benjamin for the highlight of the day to meet the big cats, see them get their lunch and, all being well, you’ll get to see our magnificent Amur tigers in an up-close private encounter.

During the day Benjamin will give you a genuine feel for the day-to-day struggle of zoo life including the highs of breeding success as well as the tragic lows of unavoidable loss. You’ll be able to see first-hand all the key points of the story, how the movie differs from reality and find out what Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson are really like.

This full day starts at 11am finishing around 3:30pm. It is available to small groups all year round. Dates are available according to Benjamin’s busy schedule so it requires booking well in advance.

The price for this unique experience is £495 for two people with additional participants at £99 per person, up to a maximum of five persons.

Timetable for the Day

  • 11:00     Meeting in the Jaguar Restaurant
    Enjoy some refreshments with some of our senior staff
  • 11:15     Morning tour with senior keeper
    A brief foray into the zoo in the company of one of our senior keepers to meet and hear all about the meerkats, coati, bears and wolves
  • 12:30     Lunch in the Jaguar Restaurant
    Select from our range of hot food and relax before meeting Benjamin
  • 1:30       VIP Tour with Benjamin Mee
    Time to see Dragan and Alisha our Amur Tigers, Josie and Jasiri our African Lions and then meet our Amur Tiger, Vlad in an up-close private encounter
  • 2:45        Complete the tour
    Then meet our Carpathian Lynx Flaviu, then our very vocal otters and round off the tour with a hands-on encounter with Mr Pickles our tame fallow deer
  • 3:30        Refreshments in the Jaguar Restaurant
    After a fascinating day you’ll be ready for refreshments, a chance to ask those last few questions and get some souvenir photographs of your day

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