* Prices may differ from that shown
Good day out with grandchildren aged 2 and 5. Plenty to do and see.Good car parking. Everywhere( including the loos) was clean and tidy.Good value for money. Animals all seemed relaxed and plenty of staff Around to supervise their welfare. Good hand washing facilities everywhere.Could do with better signposting for toilets though! Will go back next yearOn not such quite a hot day as a lot of the animals were sat in the shade.Still the camels, zebras and giraffes were quite active. Talks by keepers were good
I'm a Doncastrian by birth, yet something I always find is that I have not really spent much time at the tourist attractions in the area, instead travelling much further afield to try things in other areas. It is like I have a bit of a twisted logic that the things that are close to my house can't possibly be that good. Yet, every fabulous attraction I have ever visited must be just down the road from someones house, so I should stop letting it stop me doing all there is to do in the area.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park opened in its current format a few years back. Before this it used to be a working farm known as Brockholes, where some of my school friends went for riding lessons. It has always been to me a bit of an unobvious place in both formats because there is quite a long approach road from the main road off Warning Tongue Lane in Doncaster. Therefore, in spite of regularly driving past the entrance as my grandad lives almost opposite the entrance, I have been guilty of putting off a visit.
However, last September my sons teacher asked me if I would like to join the class on a school trip to the park. Never one to say no, I was glad to join the class on a visit. I had a fabulous day, and as a result, I asked my parents if they would buy us an annual pass to the wildlife park for Christmas and then I could arrange to go back as often as we wanted with my two sons and husband as well. We recently made our first trip back as annual pass holders, so I thought it a good point to review the site as I now also have had chance to take some photos of our time there.
Visiting the Wildlife Park:
The site is quite easy to find, but I notice from other reviewers that if you use Sat nav then you may get taken to the back gate rather than the main entrance. The best postcode to use if using Sat Nav is DN4 6TB. It is best to approach via the A638 which is the main road running through the middle of Doncaster. Here, there are brown tourist signs directing you towards the wildlife park via the Warning Tongue lane entrance.
The park opens at 10:30am at the moment as it is winter hours and closes at 3:30. The two times I have been I have got here just after this time. Once was a school day, the other time was a school holiday day. The car park is ample big enough to get a space and we found there was minimal queueing time to get in through the turnstile. My next visit as a pass holder will be even quicker as I will get to use express entry through the gift shop.
Cost to visit:
The prices are what I consider to be very reasonable for the type of attraction. An adult day ticket is £10.50. A childs ticket is £8.50. Children under 3 are free, and you can get concessions for disabled children and their carers and senior citizens. The annual tickets we just bought were £40 per adult and £35 per child. This was quite steep paying £150 for a family of 4 in one go, but I feel very good value as we will only need to visit 4 times to get our moneys worth. I have now been twice and still don't feel I have seen all there is to see at the park and there are new things being added all the time.
What is there to see?
The pride of this Yorkshire attraction is the three prides of lions that all have these huge enclosures. It is wonderful to see these mighty animals out on the hills made to look like their habitat. The weather of Doncaster must be a bit too cold for them as my two visits I have seen very little action from the lions. A bit of pacing, a bit of play fighting, and weeing on a tree, but I have only been when it has been cold. We did get the whole class of 5-6 year olds to roar at the lions to try and wake them up, but all that got us was a sleepy one eyed look in our direction. We were told by a staff member though that these cats become more active later in the day. It is still magnificent seeing them up close.
The park is constantly acquiring new animals. Just before my October visit with school there were 4 new giraffes added. These were very shy at that visit so it was hard to get them to stay near the people who were trying to see them. However, on my more recent visit we could go inside the giraffe house and see them inside eating within touching distance of us.
There are also leopards and tigers, zebras and camels, wallabies, monkeys, painted dogs, meercats and yellow mongoose, flamingos, giant rabbit, skunk, parrots, and this is just off the top of my head without looking again at the map. You can go and listen to talks at the various enclosures round the park at 15 minute to half hour intervals. There is also a show with some of the animals like the skunk and parrots, although because of the poor English weather the part of the venue where this was done has become waterlogged so the version we saw was less impressive, but gives us good motivation to try again in the summer months when we can see the full show in its glory.
What makes the experience so much better is that you can actually go in some of the enclosures and get a lot closer to the animals. The lemur enclosure is interesting to see the different species and try to see them in the trees. They are an active bunch particularly at feeding time. The childrens absolute favourite was the wallabies. Here the wallabies are so tame that they actually let you touch them. I saw some children hand feeding them. I don't think this is particularly recommeded and I didn't allow my children to do this, but they did enjoy going in and having a stroke and watching them bouncing around. They asked to go in here twice on our most recent visit.
There are cafes and kiosks on site selling food and ice cream. On our visit only the main jungle cafe and the coffee shop were open. The others would only open in better weather I imagine. We didn't eat or drink at the cafe. Both times we have been, I took a packed lunch, and there are ample picnic tables located just inside the park entrance. I'm not sure how busy this would get during summer.
There are toilet blocks at both ends of the site which were clean and tidy and well stocked.
The children had great fun playing on the outdoor play park which was a large wooden structure featuring ropes to swing on, structures to climb on and a big wooden fort. There is also a play barn which opened round about September/October last year which features a small soft play area for really small kids, then 3 very large and scary looking slides. One of my sons loved these and would have stayed there all day. My younger son found this quite intimidating and wouldn't use it. However, all the kids in there seemed to be on an adrenaline high so I would say they were in general a lot of fun. In the next month or two they are hoping to complete another great big play barn which is more of a soft play centre. This should be open by half term in February we were told, and we are looking forward to trying this out.
Things to help plan your trip:
You get round most of the park on proper paths so it is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, but I would just say that as it is quite an exposed site, I would recommend dressing in layers warmly and wearing decent footwear as it was pretty muddy in places. I found it quite cold as there was a lot of open space. However, when we went inside, it was useful for my son to be in layers so he could strip off as he got really hot running up the steps to the huge slides.
I think this is a five star attraction, which will only get better and better. Staff are very knowledgable about the animals, who are all obviously well cared for. You get to see such a lot of animals in the park, and there is more than enough to fill a whole day trip and more there. In my two full day trips, I have pretty much had a quick look at everything, but I will be able to take full advantage and listen to more of the talks as we go on other visits with our annual pass.
I think the price you pay is really good value. We have been to Zoos before, and seen the same sort of animals and paid at least double the entry price. The facilities are clean and well maintained, and as I just saw an advert in the local paper advertising for 100 new staff, I am pretty confident that this is going to get bigger and better as it becomes more established.
The site is big enough to not feel too over crowded, though it was quite busy judging by the number of children on the slides. It is a great place to do things at your own pace yet still feel you have done quite a lot. I also love the thought that this exists in a small part of Doncaster and is contributing to the global fight to stop some of the species being exhibited and homed here from becoming extinct.
I can't wait to go back again and listen to some more talks about these lovely animals and see them again.
We have been visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park for around 10 years now, the changes that have taken place are amazing. It started out as Brockholes farm, a riding centre that welcomed visitors to the farm. It had the usual horse pigs and occasionally had things like Raccoons etc.
However a couple of years ago things changed, the little farm became Yorkshire Wildlife park (YWP)!!
The park is situated approximately 10 mins from junction 3 off the M18, it is well signposted with usual visitor attraction brown signs from pretty much everywhere in Doncaster. The post code for sat nav is DN46TB off Warning Tongue Lane. The park entrance greets you with a large Gate and sign indicating YWP! A long tar mac road brings you to a pretty rough car park, it is quite full of pot holes and gravelly but hey the money is going to the animals at the minute. There is an overflow car park to and this is used quite often on busy days.
You enter the park via a log cabin area prices are as follows
Senior Citizen/Student * £10.99
Disabled Adult ** £7.00
Child (aged 3 --15 ) *** £9.99
Children (under 3) Free
Disabled Child ** £5.00
Official Carer **** £2.00
£40 (£35 Renewal) for an adult
£35 (£30 Renewal) for an Senior citizen
£35 (£30 Renewal) for a child (age 3 -15 inclusive).
We have the annual passes as they work out really good value after 3 visits to the park they have more than paid for themselves, the park is only 3 miles from our house, so it is ideal to drop in for an hour or we quite often spend a day there.
Now on to the park....
as you enter the park you enter a paved area with a play barn with 3 slides, socks and long sleeves are required to ride, dont forget, then the kids will not be dissapointed. There is also a coffee bar a sensory pod ( this needs to be pre-booked) and a young children play area.
Passing the play barn there is a coffee shop serving snacks and light meals and an ice cream kiosk, toilet picnic benches etc are also available in this area.
The first animals you will come to are the merekats and yellow mongoose, we love watching these funny characters and I often wonder if they feel the same about us. On to the Goats Sheep etc these are in a petting area where you can get up close and stroke the animals, this area is lovely we enjoy this most times we visit. There are hand washing fascilites through out the park and hand sanitizer is available pretty much everywhere.
The Lions are just up the path in a lovely huge area, the pride of Lions was rescued from a zoo in Romania they are now known as the pride of yorkshire, I love the Lions they are so chilled most of the time relaxing in the yorkshire ermm sunshine. However you often hear them roaring, there roars bellow through the park, their way of reminding you that they are there. I am so proud to have the Lions so close to where I live, they are amazing and happy they have an enormouse enclosure that you can walk all the way round. Pretty spetacular!
Over the bridge past the Flamingo pool, lots of ducks geese and half a dozen flamingos in a small natural pond, we spend a while here as my kids love watching the Flamingos ducking their heads in to the pond.
Next is our favourite, MONTY!!!! Monty is a camel that was rescued from a circus. Monty has never seen another camel he does not even know he is a camel, when he first came he was in a bit of a state however now he is healthy happy and stands proud, my 2 year old son wakes up daily asking to go and see Monty, I am sure he actually recognises us now as he always seems to come over to the fence when we are there. He will eventually be introduced to the rest of the camels once breeding season is over.
I dont want to spoil the day by covering and typing about every single animal in the park so now I have told you about Monty I will keep the rest brief....
Wallaby Walkabout is an area where you can again have contact with the Wallabys, the babys hopping in and out of the mothers pouches are a pretty amazing sight.
Lemur woods again is an area where you can walk through with lemurs bouncing around the trees above your head.
Quite a walk through the park takes you past the African Plains lots of African animals and birds dwell together in a huge Plain.
On to the south American area another walk through with Capibara and Squirrel monkeys. There is also a newly opened eating area I think this is beautiful, planted with the kind of plants that smell like you are on holiday, worth taking a picnic just for this, it is just lovely!
Then past a few more camels you come to the Land of the Tiger critcally endangered species of tiger live here, usually sleeping near the waterfalls they are huge and absolutely beautiful, at the end of the Tiger cat walk you will come to Leopard heights new for 2012, the Amur Leopard is the most endangered cat in the world, these live in a large area where you can have eye to eye contact with them either through the glass viewing screen or up on the viewing platform where they can climb on to various tables at the same height. Soon there will be Giraffes at the opposite side of the platform, they are due in the autumn, something to look forward to.
The park also has Painted hunting dogs, Red river hogs, a Skunk has arrived recently, various birds of prey and many other really interesting animals.
Throughout the day at times there are many feeding times and ranger talks etc these are really interesting, although i have heard many of them several times now I never tire of hearing about these amazing animals. The bird of prey display is alone worth a visit to the park.
For the children and the big kid in you there is an enormous wooden play area, built in the middle of a beautiful blue bell wood conservation area this is a great place for the kids to let off steam, as we have passes we often visit just to see Monty and come to the play area. ( tonight we spent a good half hour watching the baby rabbits running between the african plains and the bluebells, this place is ever changing)
We love the park and visit really often, we have definately had our moneys worth from our passes, I think I am as excited as the kids about YWP, I love it, I feel the animals are extremely well looked after, the whole park is clean, the fascilities are fantastic without being too 'in your face' toilets hand washing benches and dustbins are well placed through out the park.
The walkways are gravelly and can get quite dusty in the summer if the weather is dry and the opposite in the winter they get quite sludgy and there is a lot of puddles, I can see how this may be a bit difficult for wheel chairs however although a little difficult we managed with the pushchair. My 2 year old doesnt mind the sludge and puddles, we are quite well known in the park now amongst the rangers as they regularly see him covered head to toe in mud as he loves jumping in the puddles, but hey he is a little boy, we sometimes go just so he can do this. We have visited in all weathers wind rain snow and the occasional sunny day too...I think a day is what you make it, its outdoors so just prepare for the british weather. The winter will bring a play barn which I imagine will be one of the jungle gym type with the large climbing area, so even if the weather is not great I think a good day will still be had.
I think YWP is worth every penny and can see why the prices are as they are, the park is growing and the animal conservation is important.
Just for now I am going to draw my review to a close, I intend to come back and update as things change or if I remember anything I feel is relevant. I hope this review has helped it is an enthusiastic review as it is something I feel prety strongly about. Visit the park I guarantee you will have a lovely day.
I used Google maps to find the Park and was confident of getting there, despite never having been to Doncaster before. But be warned - Google and also some SATNAVs are sending people to Brockholes Lane, off the B1396 through Branton. However, when we got there we found a narrow road (behind someone else and ahead of three other cars, all in the same position) where a helpful but extremely frustrated lady kindly pointed us in the right direction. Set the SATNAV to "Warning Tongue Lane", off A638 Bawtry Road, which is the actual entrance to the car park.
On the hot and sunny day we visited, the Park was very busy. Seating round the Park was at a premium, especially in the shade! The paths are sand and gravel, so be prepared for dust and grit in the eyes. On the plus side, the animals are healthy and well cared for in large enclosures. We were able to get really close to many of them and took some good photos. The Park did seem to be still building many areas, including extending a walkway near the tiger enclosure. This meant some paths were cul-de-sacs, a fact that the guide map did not reveal!
We took a picnic, as did many other people. The picnic areas were all full, but it was lunchtime when we arrived, so we had eaten ours in the car before we went in. Unfortunately, it takes only about two or three hours to go all the way round. And that was at a slow pace because of the number of people there. We did not use the café, which had a long queue, or the ice cream stand, which had an enormous queue. We got drinks from the coffee shop near the entrance which was full of parents waiting for their kids who were in the play area next door.
Our main complaint was the admission price. £12 for adults and £9 for children over 3, no family tickets. So for us it was £51 for an afternoon. Considering the size of the park and the number of animals I do not think it was good value for money. It did not compare well with South Lakes Animal Park in Cumbria or Blackpool Zoo, for example, both of which are excellent value.
Not the worst animal park we've been to, but far from the best I'm afraid. And my apologies to the residents of Brockholes Lane, Branton.
I have visited the Yorkshire Wildlife Park three times now and have never been disappointed.
The park started off quite small when it first opened a few years ago but it has grown and grown. However it has not lost that friendly, local feeling that it first had.
The park houses a wide variety of animals, some of which are less well known, including lemurs, lions, meercats, flamingoes and wallabies. Each animal has a spacious enclosure which mimicks the animals natural environment. It is such a pleasure to see the lions wandering around looking like proper kings of the animal kingdom. The back story of the lions is that they were rescued from a Romanian zoo a couple of years ago, where they were living in very cramped and squalled conditions.
The park also has some unique walk through areas which house the wallabies and the lemurs. This allows the park visiter to wander through the enclosures getting up close and personal with the animals.
There are plenty of opportunities to get to know more about the animals including the very helpful ranger talks. These are held throughout the day and should not be missed! The birds of prey display is also something that should definately not be missed.
If you are taking children there is plenty for them to do. After they have seen the animals there are a number of lovely play areas, both inside and outside, which will tire them out!
The park also has a small but well stocked gift shop and a lovely cafe.
It can be quite pricey for a family to gain admission to the park however this money will be well spent as you will easily be able to spend a few hours there.
We visited Yorkshire wildlife park (we being myself, my husband, our 2 year old and 8 month old twins) with some friends of ours and their 2 children (3 and 5 years old) and it was a lovely day out. It cost us £24 to enter the park but then recieved a half price voucher for next time! Alway a bonus if you ask me!
They have "walk through areas" were a great opportunity to interact with the wallabys, an experence that all the children and us adults really enjoyed. Also you could go into the Lemur enclosure which again the kids seemed to love, but unfortunatly i could not go into as the twin pram would not fit!
We were also impressed by the lion enclosures in which house 3 prides of lions, they were very spacious and looked and felt very much like their natural habitat, the lions did not disappoint us as we cought dinner time! The lions were very playful and put on a show for us, the children got very excited!
The birds of prey were also worth a visit as they were very vocal and playful, the park does 2birds of prey flying times at 12.30pm and 3.30pm and are worth waiting for. The staff were very knowledgeable and expalained all about the animals, what they ate, there natural habitat as well as their personalitys which was a bonus for us adults but obviously a bit lost on the children in our party.
Another big hit with the children were the merekats, who actually are a bunch of posers! They love their pictures taken, and run to the children as they peer through the observation windows. Around the park are lots of picnic places and we chose to eat ours near the lovely childrens paly area, it was a lovely spot and all the children could have a good play after they had eaten, and us adults could just sit, chat and watch.
All in all a lovely day, highly recomended, although the park is still being constructed at the moment, but im sure they will create an even more exciting day with even more attractions.
Also i would advise you to look on their website to find about feeding/flight show times, to make the most out of your visit.
Visited on the 19th November (£13.00) and worth every penny. Very relaxed & very contented animals.We loved the way all animals are close & easy to see. My highlight was being able to stroke the Wallabys as they are a particular favourite of mine. Staff were friendly & easy to chat to.Cafe is a bit basic but you can always bring your own food! We were there to see the animals. Very impressed with the rehoming of the lovely, playful Lions the park has done a great job at great expense.This is a small Animal Park, very well laid out & clean & tidy. Work is ongoing so we wait to see what else will arrive!We will definitly visit again.
It cost £34 for four pensioners to visit the Park on 9th. October 2010. All in all we had a good day, attending informative and amusing talks and demonstrations in the Lemur Woods, and with the predator birds. The lions were contentedly snoozing, and both wild and domestic animals on view. For children, contact with farm animals and wallabies is possible. Naturally we passed up on the play facilities.
Our only problem was the Wild cafe. We were chilled in the cold breeze, and welcomed the warm atmosphere. Not everything on the menu was available, and the "specials" board was empty. We ordered a selection of the available hot meals, but watched it chill on the table as we waited for forks to arrive, despite repeated requests. Most of it was Birdseye material, and somewhat overpriced.
This aside, we had a happy day, and hope to return next summer, with warmer weather conditions, and a packed picnic!
THIS ATTRACTION opened only in 2009. Four assorted active pensioners enjoyed a first-rate afternoon here on Sept. 23rd, starting with an early lunch (Young Farmers' size portions) in the Wild Cafe and continuing with a full tour on good paths. Interpretation boards very good. Staff well-informed and friendly, and plenty of room for animals and children to run off energy. We shall certainly go back. The lions obviously feel loved since they moved here from their Romanian cages, and the meerkats (another major attraction) are a delight. Arthur and Anne, the parents, have four of last year's youngsters and three more born this year. Also find camels, zebra, lemurs, giant rabbits, donkeys, an ostrich or two, etc. etc., - and you can actually get to play with the tame ones among the animals. Still developing - wetlands for bird life, and preparations for tigers next year. Not easy to find until the council get the brown signs up, so take a good map or satnav. See you there!
visited today and was a little disappointed when the park opened at 10.00 but the lion enclosure where you can see all 3 prides didn't open until 11.00.
The price of £33 for a family ticket was a little expensive for what you get there the main attractions being the meerkats and lions. I would say it would be impossible to spend a full day here we arrived at 10.00 walked around slowly stopping at all attractions and had a picnic and left at 12.45.
Plenty of picnic areas on the park and plenty of room for the amount of people there to see all the animals without having to look over shoulders or queue. The walk-through areas of the park where you can get closer to the animals are a good idea and quite exciting for children.
Did not use the cafe but went into the gift shop which was a little expensive but usual for a gift shop.
We pulled up at the Yorkshire wildlife park on Monday 16th Aug 2010 and the first car park was full and the second was 3/4 full as well. We were expecting the park to be busy, but after we had paid our £33 for a family ticket (2 ad/2 ch) we went inside and were quite surprised at how easy it was to get around. even though there were plenty of people inside there were no que's. There were plenty to see and the layout of the park ment it was quite easy to see everything on a 'loop' and nothing was missed. We took our own picnic and the only problem was that there wern't enough picnic benches for people to sit on but as we walked round the park we found more that were quiet. There was an area that you went in to pet the goats and sheep. My kids loved this as there were no attendants telling them they could or couldn't do this or that. They were left alone to pet the animals which they loved. then we went on to see the lions that were rescued from Romania. It was a very hot day and all the lions wanted to do was to lay down (this was not the parks fault. All the lions were out and on show. It's just that they didn't want to run around as it was too hot). We went on to see other animals but if I wrote about everything then I would probably bore you. The Short version is that there is plenty to see, the set up works as you don't miss anything asyou go round. As I said earlier, we took a picnis so didn't use to cafe. Although we did buy a coffee just before we left which was what you'd expect to pay (£1.60, I think). The only negative I can write about is that there was an area with 3 indoor slides. There was one that used a straw mat but the other 2, you could only go on if you had trousers, socks and long sleeve top. As it was one of the hottest days of the year my kids were dressed in shorts and t-shirts, and were told they would be allowed on which they were gutted about. After going round the park my kids took it in turns to borrow their grandad's socks (they tucked their dhorts in them). And borrowed their grandma's cardigane to cover their arms, and they loved it. All in all, we would go back and was very inpressed with the whole day.
We went today and loved it. The best bit is that you can get close to the animals and its the perfect size for kids. Big zoos (Chester) just get too much. They are fabulous don't get me wrong but the kids almost get zoo'd out. Yorkshire Wildlife Park isn't huge but its got just enough at the moment and with the Lions coming adn i'm sure more in the future it will grow.
We spent 4 hours there and we have a 16 month old and a 7 year old. We went around twice, had a picnic and played in the indoor and outdoor play areas.
There is a get close to the animals area with Goats and Sheep which the kids loved, the lemurs were virtually at your feet which is probably the highlight, the wallabies were also in an enclosure that you walk through so you can go right up to them (when they let you) and then theres all the other animals such as meetkats, ostriches, zebras etc. the keepers were very informative in their talks and freely chatted as you went round.
Overall we thought that it was very good value for money and will go back. Its a pleasant day out especially for the kids. We didn't go with massive expectations and were suprised. yes its obviously only a year or so old but I would advice you support it and go along.
I've visited the Yorkshire Wildlife Park twice - the second time was a free return visit - this justifies the prices are you are paying one price and you are allowed a free return visit. However I understand this wouldn't be much use to those who live out of the Doncaster area.
The first time we visited the meerkats had had babies, there were 4 young ones, we mainly only visited to see the baby meerkats that were a month old on the day of our visit. We found them fascinating and could have easily watched them for hours.
There was alot of animals, we saw squirrels, huge rabbits, we went into the goat petting area and stood for quite a while petting the animals. I have to congratulate the park on the fact that all around the animal enclosures there are hand sanitizing gels which keep your hands clean after touching them.
I enjoyed walking through the lemur enclosure, it was a chance to get very close with animals you wouldn't normally see. We saw the barrel train on our way through the woods towards the lemurs. It wasn't running, but it looks quite disappointing, so if you were visiting and looking forward to that, I wouldn't personally.
I could only see the ostrich and other animals in the same enclosure from a distance which was abit disappointing. There was a telescope but it was a paid telescope and even with money you couldn't see everything.
As we were coming back round noticed an enclosure with birds in but this was closed off from the public.
On our second visit, the meerkat babies had grown up, however the parents had also had another two babies, which was a pleasent suprise and it was very cute to see them curled up under the heatlamps. Again we spent alot of time here, and the same in the petting.
Everything else was pretty much the same, the birds of prey had gone and this area was roped off, but this may have been due to the weather, there were high winds on our visit. The new attraction on our 2nd visit was the fact the park now had two zebras. I was looking forward to seeing these however I was left disappointed as they were in the same enclosure as the ostrichs and could only be seen at a distance or through the paid telescope.
I can't comment on the children's play areas or the cafe as I never used them, however one thing that I did find slightly annoying was the fact that to exit the park you needed to walk through the gift shop. I found this made you feel like you had to buy a souvenier of your visit and added pressure to you.
Overall I think the park is quite a good attraction. With the hope of lions coming in the near future I will definately visit again, even if it is just to see how the baby meerkats are developing. The price is quite high but if you can make a return visit for a free I think it makes it quite good value for money.
I think you'd be pushed to spend a whole day here, it is definately only a couple of hours but it provides an enjoyable experience and allows you to see animals you'd never usually see. Its definately something exciting to have in the Doncaster area.
Myself, Partner, Daughter, and Grandson visited Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster today and though the weather was pretty bleak for this time of the year I will not judge it because of that, the admission is a costly £9.50 per adult under 3s are free there are concessions for OAPs and Disabled, the Cafe is reasonable and to be fair there is quite a lot for the kiddies to see and do, my gripes are...for the amount of money they seem to be coining in some of the kids play things are in need of repair and they look unkempt, the Cafe area was untidy with lots of previous customers dirty plates left unatended and no trays to put our food on, the Tiger Barrel Train was not running that day and you would only know that after paying admission, so all in all I was a bit unhappy on the day, it seemed my Grandson was OK about it all but you cannot expect a 3 year old to criticize, my Daughter and Partner was just glad to get home!
It's not very often a new animal park opens in your local town. I was quite excited to see the bus advertisement stating 'new for 2009 - The Yorkshire
I had a look into it and found it was located a few miles away so we decided to give it a visit.
The park opened on the 4th April 2009 and our visit was made on Sunday the 26th of the same month.
Being from the area, I assumed I knew exactly how to get to the park from the name of the area of Doncaster - Branton. What I should have noted was the directions on the website as the way we went was a bit of a sneak through some private land! So make sure you check the directions carefully! After 'finding' the park we pulled into the free car park. This did seem a bit like some spare land that had been utilised, as there were electrical pylons scattered amongst the area. It also seemed a bit on the small side. This was not a problem on our visit but may hinder in future.
Senior Citizen £6.50
Child 3-15 £6.00
Under 3 Free
You can also buy a family ticket for £25. This allows entrance for 2 adults and 2 children. As we were 2 adults, 1 child and 1 under 3 this didn't offer us any savings and so we paid a total of £23 for our entrance.
Their website also mentions discounts for group bookings made in advance.
The staff at the ticket booth were very welcoming and helpful and this is referred to as the Information Station. Anything you need to know about the park can be found out here.
As you enter the park you come into a courtyard area with some seating. The courtyard has the cafe, toilets, gift shop and the Jungle Play Barn around it.
If you walk straight through the courtyard you come to the animals. There is a small aviary which features the usual budgies etc and a squirrel enclosure. A little further along and you get to the Meerkats. These are always a hit with our family particularly since the recent compare the market adverts.
We then came across a donkey who was happy to be petted much to the pleasure of my youngest. There were also goats and cows in this enclosure known as the world farm.
The contact area, allows you to walk amongst lambs and other small farm animals. We didn't actually realise this until we were on our way out and so missed out on this opportunity.
Nearby there was an outdoor play area which had a decent variety of activities for different ages.
A bit further along we came across the Tiger Barrel Train Ride. This sounded better than it was!!! Basically it was a tractor which was pulling a few barrels on wheels. Each seated one person and had a seat belt. There were only about 8 barrels and so at busy times this would probably develop quite a queue. As it was we had to wait for about 15 minutes. The ride went into a wood, turned around and drove back out again! Not the most thrilling adventure but the kids enjoyed it!
After our very petrolly ride, we visited the lemur woods. This was an area that was partitioned from the rest of the park but that you could walk through.
You had to go through a double gate to make sure they didn't escape. This area was the highlight of the park for me. There was a path to follow and the animals were roaming around climbing trees and posing for photos. Exit was via another set of double gates.
The next part of the park was a similar idea but this time it featured Wallabys, soooo cute! On the way out of this enclosure was when I first noticed the flies. There were an awful lot of them. They were getting on my nerves and I can only imagine that they would be more of a problem when the weather gets warmer in the summer.
The rest of the park was a large area called the African Plains. This featured Antelopes, Zebras, Ostriches and Cattle. However the seated viewing area
seemed to be situated at one end while the animals preferred the other so there wasn't a lot to see!
Back to the courtyard and we investigated the Jungle Play Barn. There was a large Astra Slide which you needed to go down on a mat. There was also a drop slide which zoomed into a ball pool. Unfortunately the only way to access the ball pool was down this slide. At the other side of the barn was a large empty area. This had a couple of childrens pay rides at one side and a small climbing area for younger children. I was not overly impressed with the use of this space and hope that it will be developed at a future date.
The leaflet we were given at the information station detailed Ranger Talks and Feeding times across the park. We seemed to always be in the wrong place whenever any of these were taking place and so cannot comment on them.
The cafe in the courtyard is called a Taste of Yorkshire. The dishes are all priced around #4.95 and a full menu can be found on the website. Again we didn't have chance to sample the food and so cannot comment on the quality.
At the time of our visit the opening times were 10am - 5pm. During July they are opening later on Saturdays. This is called 'An Evening At The Park' and
offers free entry after 5pm with the animal enclosures open until 6.15pm. Other facilities are open later.
Overall, this seems to be a work in progress. The website has a coming soon section and when we were at the park we saw notices about phase two of the park.
It seems that the aim is conservation and that to keep the park running they need to attract visitors to raise funds to develop. The patron of the park is Justin Fletcher better known as Mr Tumble to any cbeebies fans.
It was worth a visit just for the animals, although don't expect to make a day of it. I think we were there for just over 2 hours. I am sure that I will give the park a further visit at a later date just for curiousity more than anything else. I hope it is a successful and continues to develop. I am sure this can only happen with visitor support.
Further information can be obtained from the website at
Experience the animals close up with a walk through natural habitats and encounter animals from all over the world.