Yorkshire Wildlife Park - An absolute must for families and animal lovers alike!
It’s no secret that Yorkshire Wildlife Park is considered by many to be one of Yorkshire’s top family tourist attractions, however there is so much more going on behind the scenes at this fantastic attraction than just the upkeep of the many different breeds of animals cared for and looked after onsite!
Playing host to over 400 different animals from over 70 species alone this centre of excellence for conservation focuses all of it’s energy on the protection and nurturing of nature itself and the surrounding environment.
After being established on the site of an old riding school and farm back in 2009, Yorkshire Wildlife Park has drawn crowds of visitors and families from all around the country through it’s gates as many have enjoyed the sights and sounds of nature at it’s very best.
In turn the funds raised from admissions have directly helped fund the continued and extensive conservation work carried out by the wildlife park as well as helping ensure that the many different species of animals onsite have a safe and secure environment in which to call home.
The official mission statement as per the park’s official website reads as follows;
“To create a dynamic, interactive experience and regional centre of excellence for the conservation of biodiversity globally and locally that is sustainable both for the environment and the business. To promote a wider understanding of the natural world and inspire generations to support and protect the world around them.”
In our opinion the official statement relayed by the park definitely reflects the overall calibre of the experience you are likely to have whilst visiting, however to get a much better understanding of how that’s the case we must take a much closer look at how your typical day at Yorkshire Wildlife Park plays out.
Therefore, without any further ado here’s how Aaron’s found his latest visit to Yorkshire’s premier wildlife park!
Over to Aaron!
Throughout the review I will be referring to this attraction as a Wildlife Park, not a zoo. This gives you a first glimpse into the quality of life that the animals have here.
The experience starts the moment you buy tickets online or (I recommend) getting an annual pass, this gives you unlimited visits for a year and plenty of discounts on site.
As with any other attraction, buy on sale for best value. There are no blackout periods and all monies really do go for the upkeep and continuing conservation efforts of the park.
Having downloaded the app, you can plan your route for the day and where facilities and coffee outlets are. This is important to me as I personally need my coffee on a regular basis.
The app also gives a guided tour once you arrive welcoming you to the park and giving you information for the day.
As you wander throughout the app pops up with an audio tour, explaining what you are seeing, conservation efforts of the animals and rawwwsome (sorry) facts that will embellish you with an all round learning experience which more than covers their commitment to education.
There are plenty of (free) parking spaces, a bike rack and a separate pedestrian entry point which allows easy access by bus from Doncaster.
All tickets are timed entry atm and I recommend getting in early to make the most of your day, you get 45 minutes from the time of your entry to arrive which gives time for visitors to disperse into the park.
You go around the left of the main shop and into the Safari Village (lots of independent shops here). You are then guided to one of the gates for entry. This process is straightforward and I haven’t had any issues so far.
Now you are in you have as much time as you like to make your way around the enclosures and really experience how a well run wildlife park feels.
You will not see every animal on your visit, however if you stick around each location when people have gone by you will have more of a chance to see natural behaviours.
Going through the woodland where the painted dogs, lemur wood etc. call home you get a sense of being one with your surroundings, nature, calmness.
Visiting on your own will help you to be grounded. The Park is set up well for family visits too, with play areas and activity packs for the family to enjoy.
The one point I would like to raise where the park could improve upon would be opening all coffee and food kiosks/ outlets on opening.
It seems that they stagger opening times hours apart which inevitably will take away sales and much needed revenue for the attraction.
The animals that you may see here include polar bears, baboons, painted dogs, lemurs, giant otters, howler monkeys, hyenas, red pandas, rhinos, giraffes, tigers, lions, leopards, camels, zebra to name a few!
My personal favourite has to be the Okapi. These stunning hoofed mammals are usually shy and timid, however here they can be seen to dramatic effect and are in no way bothered by the visitors.
The food range on offer includes pasties, sausage rolls, donuts, burgers, vegetarian and vegan options, sandwiches, wraps, paninis, crisps, snacks etc.
I can highly recommend the chicken and chorizo pasty! I know that usually (when more is open) you can get pizzas too.
The coffee is excellent and they offer environmentally helping water in a box.
On the whole, this experience (and it is that) really does stick out as one of the best in the UK, take some good footwear as it’s a long way around and just be in the moment.
On your way out, have a look through the giftshop, you never know what you could find.
Why should you visit?
Well, if Aaron’s account of his day visit isn’t enough to spur you onto want to book your very own day out at the wildlife park then here’s a few more reasons!
– As the park is independently run by visiting the park not only are you supporting them in their work, however you are also contributing towards looking after the very animals you are there to see.
– Yorkshire Wildlife Park is also a wonderful and very spacious place to visit which means that on a hot summer’s day there really is no better place to visit (especially as a family day out).
– As the main focal point of the visit is the wildlife living within the park paying a visit to the park may also well provide you and your young ones with some fantastic and very unique learning opportunities when it comes to see nature at it’s very best!
In truth there are thousands of reasons why we could recommend a visit here, however the long and short of it is that in our own individually formed opinion we definitely feel that due to the truly life changing work Yorkshire Wildlife Park does everyday, there really has never been a better time than the present to get there and offer them your support!
So next time you’re thinking of a day out for the whole family (post covid restrictions of course unless you’re within the area) then why not pay a visit to this fantastically unique attraction and witness for yourself exactly why there has never been a better time than there is right now to protect the natural world we all currently inhabit.