Meet and Greet’ Animal Experiences in Zoos: Are They Sending the Right Message?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


It is common for zoos in the UK to offer opportunities for visitors to interact with animals in the form of ‘Meet and Greet’ (M&G) experiences; which may include feeding, petting and posing for photographs. There is limited research investigating the impact of these experiences on the animals or people involved, particularly in terms of the messages they send to the public. This chapter reviews the existing literature on M&Gs in zoos to recommend priorities for future research. The authors suggest that UK zoos are given insufficient guidance on the messages that M&Gs should send to the public and how to achieve this. Five potential wrong messages that UK zoos could inadvertently be sending by advertising M&Gs, and the potential consequences of these messages are discussed. Future research should explore how the general public perceive M&Gs offered by zoos, depending on what the experiences involve and how they are advertised, so that zoos can make informed decisions to reduce the likelihood of sending the wrong message to the public.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging Voices for Animals in Tourism
EditorsJes Hooper, Carol Kline
ISBN (Print)9781800625242
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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