KEEPERS at Dudley Zoo are gearing themselves up for a busy festive season with a host of Christmas activities.

On Saturday December 6 and 13, visitors will have the unique opportunity to watch the classical tale of Christmas - ‘A Christmas Carol’ pantomime inside the atmospheric setting of Dudley Castle.

There are only five shows set to take place, so pre-booking is essential. Children will also be surprised with a visit by Santa Claus who will be giving out goody bags to every child.

Father Christmas will also be taking time out of his busy toy-making season to visit Aladdin’s cave at the zoo from December 7 right through to Christmas Eve.

Grotto opening times are 9am until 3pm during the week and 10am until 4pm during weekends and Christmas Eve.

Entrance to the magical grotto is £8.50 per child. Children under one cost £4.24 with a gift or free without.

The cost includes zoo admission, a magical train ride, a visit to Santa in his grotto and a surprise gift.

Admission for accompanying adults is £5.50.

An Aladdin pantomime will also be entertaining the children in the Genie’s magical cave at certain times throughout the day.

There is also animal magic in the air at the Castle Hill site with a whole range of alternative presents to make Christmas special.

‘Be a Keeper for a Day’ offers the opportunity for animal lovers to shadow keepers as they go about their daily duty. The package offers the chance to go behind the scenes and get close to some of the most endangered animals on this planet.

Single Keeper and Junior Keeper experiences have also been boosted by the Double Keeper for the Day - where two adults or two children can share the experience.

For further quirky gifts, why not choose a Spider or Snake phobia session, a Wake Up the Zoo opportunity or join in a ghost walk.

Animal adoption and sponsorship packs are also popular presents during the Christmas period, which provides the opportunity to adopt a favourite animal and support Dudley Zoo’s ongoing worldwide conservation schemes.

As well as the alternative gifts, there are plenty of cuddly toys and a whole range of stocking fillers in the Safari Gift Shop.

There is also the opportunity to snap up a specially commissioned 2009 calendar featuring the zoo animals.

For further information on any of the animal packages or forthcoming activities, including prices and times visit or call 01384 215313 to book your place.