A DISABLED child got the rare chance of playing zoo keeper and getting up close and personal with the animals at a South Lakeland animal park.

Tyler Baines, 12, handled reptiles and got stuck in with helping clean out some of the cages and feeding the animals with one-to-one tuition at the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, Milnthorpe.

Tyler, from Barrow, said: “We had a great time and I think holding the snake was the best bit. The one I held seemed to like me and the whole day was great fun.”

Tyler, who was involved in a road accident in 2006, suffers from mobility problems and is confined to a wheelchair.

But he was still able to enjoy the day with his nine-year-old brother Noah and sisters Katie, seven, Gracie, four, and two-year-old Maisie-Mae.

The Milnthorpe attraction’s charitable status means the Wildlife Oasis offers fun experiences for all the family with plenty of learning.

Keeper Nicola Stephenson said: “I always enjoy things like this and we get quite a lot of school groups coming here and they seem to have a good time.

“If we do things in a fun way then children go away with a whole new set of knowledge.”

Tyler’s dad Mark Baines said: “Towards the end Tyler had all the snakes round him and he was in and out of the cages.

“I really want to say what a great day we all had.”

l Keeper for a Day experiences are available any day of the week, but Lakeland Wildlife Oasis only takes one booking per day to ensure a one-to-one experience.