Bucket list – ‘Visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park’ = completed and ‘Visit at least 10 different zoos’ = ongoing
We have visited the Yorkshire Wildlife park every year now for the past three years. Every time each day out is a little bit different, this is mostly down to the animals and where they are when we walk by. Yorkshire wildlife park is really a zoo as it’s big and it takes a long time to walk around. The main reason it is called a wildlife park is because the animals are in much larger living areas than in most zoos and some aren’t even in cages.
I will happily take Jamie here once a year, every year, because we get a lot out of a visit. At the moment there has been something new every year. This year they added a new, and very big, adventure playground. Sadly work had only really just started on it when we went, but it is now finished. We did see the new Into Africa area which was recently completed. So what are our favourite things to see and do?
It’s relatively easy to navigate your way around. There’s plenty of signs and you are given a useful map when you enter the park.
Find a Lion
Lion country is enormous. It can take a long time to walk around it, especially with a little one in tow. We have had some really good lion sightings here. One year we saw two males literally having a play cuddle, very unexpected. Sometimes you see them up close and moving around, others they can be busy doing what big cats do – sleeping!
Walk through the Lemur enclosure at feeding time
This is so much fun. Make sure you get there a few minutes before feeding time and that you get a good spot next to the wooden posts. This is where they put the food out for the lemurs and it can get quite busy. OK, I admit it, Lemur’s are my absolute favourite animal so I am biased but they are just fascinating and totally adorable.
It’s lovely to see their behaviour when they come down out of the trees to eat. We were there on a partly cloudy day and every time the sun peeked out they’d suddenly sit up and sunbathe. The female Lemur’s were pregnant when we visited this year in May. Last year in September we were treated to lots of gorgeous babies having a big cuddle session. This photo below was taken without my zoom being used, you really can get this close (but no touching).
Sorry 3 photos for Lemurs and only 1 for the lions! I did say they were my favourite.
Come close to a Wallaby
The Wallaby walk through enclosure is great fun, especially if there are any Wallaby’s within stroking distance. If they are lying down and chilling out, or trying to chill out, you are allowed to stroke the Wallaby’s. If you have a kid that remembers this it can be a bit disappointing for them if there are none close enough. First photo below is from the first time we went and second photo is from this year. There’s a bit of a contrast in how close we got to them.
Spot a Polar Bear
The Polar Bears seem to have even more room than the lions and I think there’s only two of them. But I could be wrong. The Polar bears attract a lot of attention as they are an animal rarely seen in the UK. They are actually very interesting to watch. One spent most of the time looking like it was going to dive in the water, but never did. The other bear kept hassling his friend but his friend didn’t want hassling. I could have stayed here for ages this year watching but Jamie wanted to find whatever was waiting ahead.
Head into Africa
This area has been changed a lot recently. They have mostly made it feel like all the African animals are together in one large enclosure. There are rhinos here now but we are yet to see them. The Giraffes now have a lot more space. We passed them when someone was having one of their giraffe experiences which was entertaining to watch. You can also spot zebra, Ostrich and a few animals I hadn’t heard of such as an Addax.
Walk near the Squirrel Monkeys
Another good walk through enclosure houses squirrel monkeys, Mara and Capybara. You must not go near the squirrel monkeys no matter how tempting. Jamie loves spotting them and pointing them out. I’ve enjoyed every walk through that we’ve done here.
There’s some very entertaining armadillos near here, plus some giant otters that are usually quite easy to spot.
Try and Visit on an Event Day
The Yorkshire wildlife park plays host to a few special event days throughout the year. In 2017 we went to the Wildest Wizard of Oz. This included a pantomime cast, some of which were from the last pantomime we’d seen in Skegness. It was a really fun day out. There was a fairground ride for the kids and extra activities such as making music with recycled bits and bobs. Plus other things to see and do. It’s always worth checking out their event page to see what’s coming soon.
Other things to See and Do
Jamie remains clueless that there is indeed an indoor play area here with a slide barn and wooden play equipment. We have honestly never had a spare moment to even look inside and we’ve never visited during bad weather.
Outdoors there is big bugs play area which includes a covered area to have a picnic. There is an adventure play area next to the new camel reserve and a ‘jungle lookout’ play area also with a picnic area.
We have never had much trouble spotting a tiger actually doing something at the park. Most zoos we struggle to spot a big cat, but not here. The one in the photo above was literally down below us at the bottom of the wooden walkway.
They have plenty of adorable meerkats which also share their home with Mongoose. They have a really large area to roam around in.
There are plenty of other animals to be found at the park such as baboons, painted dogs, leopards (after what I have just said about big cats I have never spotted the leopard) and bugs. Bugs can be seen in the Big Bugs Live show, which is on most days.
Where to eat?
We have eaten at the Tsavo Bakehouse. This got very busy very fast on the event day. The food, although self service, was incredibly good. Masai coffee house mostly serves sandwiches. The giraffes used to be next to it. Although smelly it was nice to look at them while having your lunch. They have since moved and I would chose the bakehouse over here. The Safari café is very good for food. You order at the till and food is brought to your table. It has been tasty and hot in the past. You can also grab food at the indoor play area and outdoors at ¡Caramba!, which is weather dependant.
Take a Picnic?
The park provides plenty of places to stop and have a picnic. There is also a covered area, in case it rains! I would be reluctant to take a picnic. You are not allowed to take food through any of the walk through areas. It is also a long way back to the car and I wouldn’t fancy lugging an extra bag around for the day. But that’s my personal choice. They have made a lot of effort to accommodate those that want to take their own food.
Yorkshire Wildlife park is located near Doncaster in South Yorkshire. You can make a saving by pre booking online. However the saving is not massive as you just receive £1 off. Entrance is quite expensive for adults at £14.50 online and £15.50 on the day. Children age 3-15 are £12.50 online and children under 3 can visit for free. They have other pricing options available. Would I say the price is worth it? For us yes it is. The only other zoo near us is Twycross so to be able to visit something of this scale, with so much to see and do then it is worth it as a treat.
Do you have a zoo or wildlife park to recommend? Please let us know.
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