VIDEO: Elephant makes a trunk call and charms the visitors - experience the animals close-up at Whipsnade!

If you love elephants, be sure not to miss Elephantastic, a mammoth, weekend-long celebration of all things elephant, at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo on September 20 and 21.

Marking the world-wide Elephant Appreciation Weekend, Elephantastic raises money for elephant conservation and research projects, through unforgettable elephant encounters, fun family activities and fascinating talks.

Elephants at Whipsnade.

Elephants at Whipsnade.

For a small donation, visitors can have a close-up encounter with an elephant, feed it a healthy snack and have their photo taken.

Those curious about what it takes to look after the huge mammals can take a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the elephant barn, watch keepers scrub them clean, find out how vets keep the Zoo’s ten Asian elephants in tip top health and enjoy special talks and demonstrations.

Families will find so many ways to have fun, whether it’s making elephant masks, dancing along to costumed drummers, face-painting or even taking part in a world record attempt for the most origami elephants ever displayed.

There’s no need to go home empty-handed either. A silent auction and a raffle will offer unusual prizes, such as beautiful elephant-themed artworks and animal encounters as well as the unique opportunity to own a ‘trunk painting’ created by Karishma the elephant.

Elephantastic runs from 10am – 5pm on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 September 2014 at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

>> Whipsnade Zoo has launched a set of brand new Meet the Animals experiences, allowing visitors to get closer than ever before to their favourite animals.

Hosted by ZSL’s expert zookeepers, these once-in-a-lifetime encounters will allow lucky ticket holders to go behind the scenes and connect with some of the world’s largest and rarest creatures, making a great day out at the Zoo even more special. The VIP experiences include Meet the… Elephants, Giraffes, Sloth Bears and Lions.

Each experience will be a unique adventure. Special ticket holders will be able to feed a sloth bear, discover what it feels like to have a giraffe eating branches of leaves from their own hands or even feed a majestic African lion. Elephant enthusiasts, meanwhile, will be treated to a hands-on lesson in how to bathe one of the Zoo’s largest animals, the Asian elephant.

ZSL’s Experiences Manager, Catherine Pearce said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer visitors a chance to come face to face with some of our most popular residents at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

“At ZSL, we know that people love animals and want to feel connected with nature and the world around us, and these experiences encourage that. Plus money raised from tickets supports our conservation projects around the world.”

Experiences will run all year round. Prices start at £45 and tickets are available now online at