Earlier this week we visited the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, and we had an amazing day out. It's probably my favourite walk-through animal park that we have visited, as it is relatively flat, super easy to get to, the large animals all appeared to have fabulous large enclosures and they have worked very hard to ensure that you are able to see the animals, without encroaching on their space.
We planned a break in Yorkshire so we could visit the park as Miss E has been polar bear crazy for some years now and this is one of only two places in the UK where you can view them. The weather was fine, but overcast on the bank holiday Monday that we visited and this seemed to be conducive to the animals being happy to have a walk around and be visible for all the visitors.
|Nobby, the shy polar bear|
As it was a bank holiday I'm assuming the park was pretty busy and there certainly were a lot of people milling about, but not too many that it felt uncomfortable or crowded. We didn't have any queue on the entrance road in, we sat in a queue for around five minutes once in the park and the stewards were very effective at getting us all parked quickly.
You go through the Safari shop to get to the ticket booths, which are in a courtyard with a few independent shops and a coffee shop/ restaurant, and this seemed to help keep the queues short. Again, we waited under five minutes to get through and the staff we encountered were very friendly and helpful.
Seeing the Animals
You are free to go round the park using any route you fancy and I think this helps it not feel too busy. We found that if we got to an enclosure and it was busy by the fence, within a couple of minutes, people will have moved and you could get close and take some great photos,
There is a whole abundance of animals to see and it is so good to have so many of the large wild animals in one site. Here you can see Rhino, Giraffes, Polar Bears, Brown Bears, Lions, Tigers, Leopard, Zebra and Camels.
There are also loads of smaller animals as well, such as Okapi, Giant Otter, Meerkats, Baboons, Warty Hogs and Ostrich. It's also great to have a few walk through enclosures, so you could get close to the Lemurs, Wallaby's and Squirrel Monkeys.
We really loved that the enclosures are so spacious and the animals looked content and well-cared for. Yorkshire Wildlife Park have really worked hard to ensure that you can view the animals without having to look through obtrusive fences and thus the walk ways are often higher than the animals and there are viewing platforms too, to allow for great views. Just look at the size of one of the four areas dedicated to the four polar bears. The magnificent one walking along is Victor.
We didn't have a meal there, as we took a picnic, but from what I saw I'd be happy to next time. There is a variety of places to eat, from burgers and chips to a full afternoon tea. I thought the prices were pretty good for a major attraction too. Meal deals in the Monkey Playhouse were £8 a burger (or equivalent), chips and drink, or £5.75 for the kid's version.
We had drinks and a cake in Safari Cafe and they were delicious, it was £2.30 for a pot of tea for one, £2.90 for a regular cappuccino and £3.95 for an enormous piece of strawberry and vanilla cheesecake.
There were loads of designated picnic areas with benches, some of which were undercover to provide shade and shelter. I was totally surprised to see so many, it was great.
This is another area I think they did really well in. Even for my older kids, there is the Zoom Super Slide Barn with wavy and drop slides to play on. This was hardly busy at all and they had numerous goes one after the other.
Next door is the Monkey Play House and this seems to be more aimed at younger children, as it is an inside wooden play structure, it looked really nice, but mine didn't go on it.
They did however enjoy the outside wooden Jungle Lookout, which had an awesome curling slide from top to bottom. This area is particularly great for a hot day as it is set in the trees and is super shady.
We didn't go in the Oasis or Big Bugs play areas, but both looked fun too.
Fun Throughout the Day
There is a good programme of activities happening throughout the day, including animal feeding, talks and facts presentations by the keepers and rangers. There is also the twice-daily Big Bugs Live show. We chatted to some of the keepers, as you can often find them in the animal areas and they were happy to answer questions.
You could fill your whole day with talks and watching the animal's feed if you fancied, as in the busy summer months there is something every half hour and sometimes multiple activities.
- There are 120 spaces for blue badge holders
- Multiple accessible toilets across the site
- The majority of the paths are level with shallow gradients and are fully usable by wheelchairs and pushchairs. There are a few paths around that are more natural and perhaps uneven, but these are well signed and there are alternate routes
- We saw plenty of seating across the park
- Assistance dogs are welcome, except in animal walk-through areas A limited number of manual transit wheelchairs are available to borrow free of charge (subject to availability). If you would like to book a wheelchair for your visit please call Visitor Services team on 01302 535057
- If you would like to discuss accessibility for yourself or a member of your group, please contact Yorkshire Wildlife Park on 01302 535057 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Branton, Doncaster. DN4 6TB
Postcode for Sat Nav: DN4 6TB
Public Transport: The park is accessible by train and bus, check out the How to Get Here page for information
Email Address: email@example.com
Social Media: You can contact the park or follow them on Facebook, Twitter , Instagram or Youtube
Opening Days: All except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Opening Hours: 10am to 6pm during peak opening season, check the website before you travel to check for your date of entry
Prices: Adult entry on the gate is £19 or £1 cheaper if you book online, in advance. Child entry (3-15 years) is £16 and there is discounted entry for disabled customers, carers, senior citizens and students.
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Disclosure: None necessary, we paid for everything ourselves. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.