Family Animal Day

Children playing on the piazza – Image credt: Sara Haq

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Join us for a jam-packed day of family activities celebrating the extraordinary world of animals

Meet beautiful falcons and hawks; hear keepers from London Zoo, create inflatable animals or play a game of Animal Noise Bingo. Leading author Judith Kerr talks about her books and there will also be drop-in craft activities tying into our wonderful Animal Tales exhibition.


All events are free with no booking required, except for Judith Kerr in conversation.

Some events may be subject to capacity restrictions, please arrive early to avoid disappointment


Birds of Prey Display

11.00 – 15.15


Meet the owls, hawks and falcons of The Hawking Centre - a specialist Falconry and Bird of Prey Experience Centre. This will be a static display, but when flying, these majestic birds are capable of amazing feats of speed and dexterity, with the Peregrine Falcon reaching over 200 miles per hour, making it one the fastest animals that has ever lived. Falconers will be on hand to answer questions.       

Animal Noise Bingo!

12.40 – 13.15

Conference Centre

Take part in Animal Noise Bingo, a game where animal noises are paired with animal picture and win a prize if you get a full house. The activity will feature weird and wonderful sounds recorded at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Whipsnade Zoo, and from the British Library’s Sound Archive.

Meet the Zoo Keepers

13.40 - 14.35

Conference Centre

Ben Tapley, Team Leader of Reptiles & Amphibians, and Zuzana Matyasova, Senior Keeper, Birds, will be talking about their work with animals from komodo dragons to penguins and answering your questions about their jobs.

Author talk by Inbali Iserles

14.00 – 14.50

Conference Centre

Inbali Iserles is an award-winning writer and animal lover and ,as Erin Hunter, is part of the team of authors of the bestselling Survivors series. Her book, The Tygrine Cat: On the Run was listed among The Independent’s50 books every child should read.’ She has now created the FOXCRAFT fantasy adventure series, expected to be a global hit for readers aged eight and up. The trilogy follows Isla, a young fox, whose world is shattered when her family suddenly vanishes and Isla must track them down.

Judith Kerr in conversation with Emily Drabble

15.00 – 16.00      

 Tickets £8 adults, £5 children.

Conference Centre

Suitable for children aged 7+

Illustrator and author Judith Kerr is creator of some of the best loved children's books of all time. The Tiger who Came to Tea, The Mog series and her autobiographical novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit have engaged generations of children and remain as popular as ever. Judith talks to Emily Drabble; co-editor of the Guardian Children's Books about animals and books, including her wonderful new story Mister Cleghorn’s Seal.

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Animal Noise Bingo!

16.20 – 17.00      

Conference Centre

Repeat of the morning session.

Why do animals play? Well, why shouldn't they!

11.30 – 12.30 and 12.45 – 13.30

Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre

Drop in, Free

Suitable for children aged 5+

From snow-sledging ravens and play-fighting ants, to bubble-catching chameleons and penguins playing fetch - all animals play and the ways they play are as diverse as the number of species. Join artist Emma McGarry to transform part of the British Library into an animal playground. Use the space, and craft materials, to create structures, objects or games. Make something for a specific species or for all animals. Combine them together and invite the animals in.

Emma McGarry is an artist and anthropologist whose practice explores human behaviour through performance, film and sculpture.  Emma works on a number of education projects at Camden Arts Centre, Tate and Orleans House Gallery.

Blow up Tales

14.00 – 15.00 and 15.15 – 16.00

Harry M Weinrebe Learning Centre

Drop in, Free

Suitable for children aged 5+

How can a plastic bag be an elephant? It’s easy, you just need scissors, tape, a large hair dryer and a bit of imagination. Join artist Judith Brocklehurst to create inflatable animal sculptures out of simple everyday materials. Make your own animal sculpture inspired by the Animal Tales exhibition, then join it up with all the other plastic bag animals and watch them inflate.

Judith Brocklehurst’s artistic practice revolves around materials and processes, including photography and sculpture. She works on many different education projects at Camden Arts Centre, Tate and Modern Art Oxford for adults and children.

The family programme is generously supported by John Lyon’s Charity


Name: Family Animal Day
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546