National Zoo & Aquarium

Meet a Cheetah Encounters

Although the cheetahs enjoy their time meeting guests, it must be remembered that they are big cats (and predators) and as such they:

  • Can take an undue interest in anything unusual (big cameras, long hair, animal prints etc)
  • Can try to dominate anyone who is small, so height and age restrictions apply
  • Have a sixth sense that allows them to quickly identify prey that has a physical disability. With people, this could be any physical impairment including a limp, a prosthetic limb, very poor eyesight etc.

Additionally, the cheetah may be in a playful mood and may wish to over-engage with the visitor. Guests are required to be able to respond quickly to keepers directions to stand up, move back etc. Good mobility and motor skills are essential and those with restricted movement due to a physical impairment or their age or weight, may not be able to do the encounter. If you are unable to kneel down to pat the cheetah and be able to stand up quickly if required, you may still be able to go on the encounter but not get in a position to pat the cheetah. Speak to the zoo beforehand.

There is always some risk in any animal encounter. Please understand that we cannot let you do the encounter if we feel your safety could be further at risk due to a physical impairment. If you have any concerns about meeting the requirements above or below, please contact the zoo well before your encounter on 6287 8413 to discuss if you are eligible. As most encounters are booked out, any late cancellation due to a visitor not meeting all the requirements on this form will not be eligible for a refund.

Terms and Conditions

By making a booking for this experience, you warrant that you have read these terms and conditions and agree to be bound by them.

Due to the nature of animals, these terms and conditions could change at any time.
All people intending to enter the enclosure with the cheetahs during a Meet-a-Cheetah experience must read, adhere to and understand the following:


  • Age for Geet-the-Cheetah-Boys & Cheetah Cub Walk: minimum age is 16 years
  • Age for Meet-a-Cheetah:  minimum age is 14 years
  • Anyone under the age of 16 years must be accompanied by a paying adult.
  • Height: a minimum of 150cm tall


Physical ability:

  • Participant must be reasonably fit and healthy, have full motor skill capacity and be able to move quickly when necessary without assistance. If the participant is unable to demonstrate this, the encounter may be cancelled.  If the participant has a limp but is able to move efficiently, please make sure National Zoo is aware prior to booking/payment.
  • No walking aids or wheelchairs are permitted on the encounter.
  • If there is any other reason that the participant may be vulnerable, the National Zoo and Aquarium must be notified prior to booking and will make an assessment regarding participation.
  • Elderly people are welcome to do Meet-a-Cheetah providing all other terms and conditions can be met.
  • Visual problems: participants must have reasonable eyesight to move around the enclosure and the cheetah.  If the participant is blind or has limited vision, the National Zoo and Aquarium must be notified prior to booking and will make an assessment regarding participation.
  • Communication ability: all participants must understand English or have a paying translator with them.
  • Any participant with an intellectual disability must contact the National Zoo & Aquarium to discuss prior to booking.
  • Pregnancy: please consult with your doctor before participating in Meet-a-Cheetah.

Dress code

  • Enclosed flat shoes
  • Very long hair to be tied back
  • Avoid wearing baggy or frilly clothing, bright colours, animal prints, over-powering scents, large sunglasses, real or fake fur and large broad brimmed hats (caps OK)
  • In wet weather, please wear a wet weather jacket, no ponchos or umbrellas


A handler can take photos at the beginning of the session for you if you wish. However, please be aware that the Keepers are there for your safety and the experience is not meant to be a professional photographic shoot and are not liable for the quality or outcome of the photographs.

Please bring your own camera, one per person/couple:

  • Small cameras; no large telegraphic lenses (smaller lenses are acceptable)
  • If the cheetah is interested in your camera, the handler will allow them to investigate/sniff. This is usually enough for them to lose interest but there is a risk they may damage the camera, therefore, expensive cameras should be left at home.
  • Phones are acceptable but iPads are not. Phone covers that have animal print may be of interest and should be removed prior to entering the enclosure.
  • No go-pros on sticks or body straps, and no selfies.
  • Please have any DSLR cameras set on Auto.


In extreme weather conditions, Meet-a-Cheetah may be cancelled at the handler’s discretion.  Participants will be offered an opportunity to reschedule or will receive a voucher to use at another time.


  • Participants must arrive a MINIMUM of 30 minutes prior to the encounter. Fees paid will not be refunded if you are late or you do not show.  A fee is payable if you reschedule your encounter.
  • A copy of the National Zoo and Aquariums Indemnity and Release form will be provided on check-in (must be completed by customers taking part in any or all tours/interactive experiences). Participants 16 – 17 years of age not accompanied by their parent must have the Indemnity and Release form signed by a parent or legal guardian (to be presented on check-in). Download here

In the case that a participant is refused their booked Meet-a-Cheetah experience due to any of the above not being adhered to, the National Zoo & Aquarium will not refund or reschedule the encounter.

Cancellation policies

  • Bookings and voucher purchases are non-refundable. No refund will be given for any unused services or non-arrival.
    • Cancelling/rescheduling an existing booking can be done up to 7 days prior to your Tour/Encounter and a rescheduling fee of $5.00 per person will apply. If another date cannot be chosen at the time, a voucher/s can be issued to book at a later date at your convenience. Vouchers have a 12 month expiry.
    • Bookings cancelled within 7 days of your Tour/Encounter will result in forfeiture of 100% of the full fee.
    • All fees incurred for any changes to your booking as outlined above, are payable at the time of the change. The National Zoo & Aquarium reserves the right to recharge any fees incurred to the credit card originally used to make your online booking.


    • Participants for Meet a Cheetah have FREE General Admission into the National Zoo & Aquarium on the set date of their Encounter only.
    • Accompanying guests will be required to pay general zoo entry
    • A maximum of 2 places per time-slot may be booked for Meet a Cheetah
Scrivener Dam, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT 2611

We are open every day except Christmas day 9.30am until 5.00pm

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