Well placed near the M18 at Doncaster, the park is sufficiently easy to get to, and priced at only £15 for adult entry, we didn't think it was too expensive either. We arrived early in the morning, and whilst there was a queue to get in, it wasn't ridiculous and moved quite quickly.
Inside is well signposted, and there's no set way of going around the park. We opted to head in the direction of the Baboons first, passing by what looked like a family friendly eatery on the way.
The Mr. is a huge lover of natural history, and there's rarely a day goes by in our house where one animal documentary or another isn't on. That said, he's always quite reluctant about zoos and safari parks since there's always a concern about the way the animals may be treated, or that they may be in small enclosures. Of course, he'd done the research before we visited here, but as we actually circulated the park, one of the main things which really stood out was how much space there was. The enclosures, whilst of course they could never match up to the arctic tundras, or wild Siberia, didn't seem too enclosed, and some of the smaller animals such as the lemurs even seemed to have a relative freedom which allowed the visitors to get quite up close and personal with them.
The park has a fantastic range of animals, and never in my life did I think I would get to see a real life polar bear. It's hard to believe when you see one of these beautiful animals sleeping, that inside that enclosure, you would be prey! Even harder to believe is that, possibly within my lifetime, there's a very distinct possibility that these animals will face extinction, and because of our own greed and lack of respect for the planet that we occupy. It's really sad.
The animal I was most excited to see was the giant otters. Such adorable creatures, and they didn't disappoint with their funny little noises and excitable natures.
The Mr. and I had, thankfully, brought a packed lunch with us. I say thankfully because, what with it being out of season, many of the food outlets were sadly closed. Having gone through much of the big cat area, and covered at least half of the park, we did find a nice little coffee shop next to the Giraffe enclosure, which being the only one open was pretty busy, but they did do a nice coffee and that's all that matters.
The big cats in residence at Yorkshire Wildlife Park are really impressive, with beautiful Lions rescued from a zoo in Romania, as well as stunning tigers and a leopard, and specially constructed viewing platforms affording clear views. It is little wonder that this place seemed to be quite popular amongst hobby photographers and their long lenses. Not that they were necessary, I'm happy with the results my little Canon compact achieved.
We were at the park for hours, and for me, despite all of the big impressive animals, the most exciting experiences were the enclosures where you could go in with the animals; wallabies, lemur, capobara, they were experiences that were very exciting and I imagine would be a major boon for families with young children.
As the sun started to go down over the park, and the lions began to roar as if they were out on the great plains of Africa, it was time to go home. We were exhausted from an entire day spent walking around the huge grounds of the park, but had such an amazing day out that I would happily do again.
If you are looking for an interesting day out and love animals (or photography) then I would highly recommend a trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.