Yorkshire Wildlife Park review for families
In a nutshell
A family-friendly zoo experience in South Yorkshire, with plenty of highlights for children of different ages
What we tested
- Fun for kids
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Fun for parents
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.2A star rating of 4.2 out of 5.
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Family friendliness
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Spacious site, amazing animal experiences, appeals to wide range of ages
- Limited cover for rainy days, expensive
COVID-19 safety update
Some facilities and attractions may be closed or restricted this year, due to COVID-19 – and there may be extra safety rules, pre-booking requirements or one-way systems in place. Please check Yorkshire Wildlife Park's FAQs before travelling or booking.
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Claire visited with her husband and 3 little boys (Rory 10, Flynn 5, Blair, 2) on a blazing hot Saturday in July during term-time.
What age is Yorkshire Wildlife Park best for?
Best for: Children from 6-14, simply because of the amount they can learn about the animals in a relatively short space of time.
Still good fun for: 2-6 and 14+
Avoid if: You’re looking for exciting, thrilling theme park rides
How much does Yorkshire Wildlife Park cost in 2022?
Entry is from £23 per person over 16, £21 for kids between the ages of 3-15, if you book online, saving £5 per ticket. So you're looking at £88 for a family of 4.
Under 3s go free and there are concessions for disabled people and their carers. Annual memberships are from £75 per adult and £70 for children and seniors.
Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Yorkshire Wildlife Park?
You can currently get 28% off the ticket price if you’re a Kids Pass member. It’s also worth keeping an eye on websites such as Picniq to see if they have offers on before you book. If you’re thinking of making it a longer stay, have a look at somewhere like Holiday Extras for deals on tickets and accommodation.
You can’t use Tesco Clubcard vouchers to purchase tickets.
Any extra charges once we're at Yorkshire Wildlife Park?
- There weren’t any hidden costs once we got in. The maps were free and there is also a free app which helps you navigate the park pretty easily and even helps you plan your route which is useful
- All in all, certainly very manageable to go with your own food and drink and not spend anything else. There is a Co-op not far from the entrance to the car park which sells plenty of picnic ingedients at cheaper prices than you will find inside
- We bought ice-creams, which cost £2.60 each and were amazing. The boys used some pocket money to buy some bits and pieces in the gift shop. There are lots of retail options both at the entrance and within the park, so the ‘please can I have one, Mum and Dad’ potential is pretty high. That said, you don’t have to walk through the gift shop to get out, just past them.
How long will we spend at this attraction?
The annual pass holders could pop in and out in a few hours, but for those who have never been before, it certainly felt like a full day out. We arrived at around 10am and left at around 3pm because of the heat, and we still didn’t see everything.
What’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park like for families?
It’s a really good day out for the whole family. Everyone loved it and agreed they would want to go back.
This is a walk-through wildlife park, so you are on your feet and on the move as you move between different areas to view the animals in their various habitats. There is lots for the children to do, from seeing the likes of giraffes up close, different prides of lions, mingling with wallabies and even getting their hands dirty in the adventure playgrounds. The map you are given on entry is easy to follow and the free app is a great way to plan your day or navigate your visit.
Is Yorkshire Wildlife Park suitable for visiting on a rainy day?
When we went when the weather was beautiful and I can imagine had it been wet, it may not have been a huge amount of fun because you are very much out in the open and exposed to the elements.
What shouldn’t be missed?
Highlights for us were:
- Being able to see lions, tigers, polar bears and beautiful giraffes really ensure this place has the wow factor for the kids. Of course, you’re not always guaranteed to see all of the animals and the day we visited, the male lions were sleeping in their little rock hideaways but we did see the females.
- With a little patience, the red pandas came out to feed and delighted us all
- The polar bears were especially memorable – their sheer size and awesome power gives you a bit of a fright when you are only a few yards away
- The ‘Pangea - Discovery of Dinosaurs’ area, which features huge dinosaurs that move and make noises as you walk through. The kids loved it. There are 5 unique lands to explore in Pangea, with 30 life-sized moving dinosaurs, ranging from the T-Rex to the Velociraptors. It’s relatively new area within Yorkshire Wildlife Park and adds a whole new dimension.
Is there anything else to see or do?
There are also lots of shows and ranger talks that are worth considering for the kids. The rangers will talk about the polar bears, tigers, meerkats, sea lions and often they will do so around feeding times.
There are also shows which are more entertainment than education, including big bugs live. They even have magic shows for the little ones. We hadn’t realised they even do music concerts in the evenings too but tickets are sold separately for those.
Are there any scary or boring elements that young or sensitive children might not enjoy?
Not really. I guess it’s possible small children might be scared by some of the bigger animals but it didn’t feel like that even for our youngest.
Does Yorkshire Wildlife Park cater well to children of all ages?
Absolutely. On the day we visited, we saw older groups visiting, as well as families with older and younger children.
There’s something for everyone, from the toddlers right through to nature-loving teenagers. There's a brilliant adventure playground, which caters for the bigger kids and has separate areas for the small ones. And older kids would get something from the expert talks and seminars on animals and ecosystems, which take place around the park.
What are the food and drink facilities like?
There are several places you can eat and drink from the Evolution Experience Restaurant, to the Monkey Burger Bar and Masai Coffee House which sell a variety of types of foods and snacks to suit all tastebuds.
Can you bring a picnic?
Yes. You can bring your own food and drinks and there were lots of picnic tables and areas to eat in, which we did near the adventure playground in a shaded area.
What do you need to take to Yorkshire Wildlife Park?
We left the pushchair at home and brought the beach trolley, which we threw our bags into, including our picnic, and occasionally the kids too when the walking became a little much for them. We needed lots of sun cream, probably could have brought more drinks, as they were expensive once we got into the park.
What are the queues like?
We only had to queue for the ice-cream parlour, half-way around, and the size of the site means there wasn’t a sense that this was a busy, packed venue. We found it easy to find picnic benches when we needed to and places to sit. We didn’t need to wait to see animals or dinosaurs so it was pretty good all around, especially for a Saturday in July.
We had been to Legoland a little earlier in the month which is a ride-based destination, but here it was lovely not to have to spend time queuing.
What to watch out for:
There weren’t any annoying factors, although I’m glad we brought our own food and drink as I could see how it could quickly become a very expensive day out if you didn’t. I think we came away feeling it perhaps wasn’t possible to get it all done in one day, simply because of the amount of walking needed and how tired the kids were by the end of the day. It’s best not to rush around so that you get the best out of the animal sightings.
What are the toilets like at Yorkshire Wildlife Park?
Generally good, lots of them, which meant there weren’t queues. Cleaned regularly and good baby changing facilities both at the entrance and as we walked around the site.
How well does it cater for disabled visitors?
- There are discounted tickets for those with disabilities.
- Generally very wheelchair-friendly, aside from some of the paths which snake through the forest areas at the far end of the park.
- There are quieter areas where you could take your children if the crowds were too much, but we never felt we were surrounded by too many people at any one time.
- Plenty of accessible toilets and carers also get discounted tickets.
- For full details about accessibility, visit the website.
Is Yorkshire Wildlife Park pushchair friendly?
Yes. Generally, the whole site is easy to navigate with pushchairs, occasionally in the forests the paths can be challenging so big wheels will work better than small narrow ones.
Do you need to do anything before you visit?
We downloaded the app and attempted to plan our day. The app allows you to enter the names and ages of who is going and suggests a route based on that, which is helpful. There is also information on there about the ranger talks and feeding sessions, which allows you to get an idea of where you need to be and when.
Opening dates and times:
Summer opening times are 9am-6pm weekdays in peak week but it’s best to check the website before you go as opening times are sometimes 9.30. Last entry is 3pm. Winter opening times are 10am-4pm.
Is Yorkshire Wildlife Park worth a long car journey?
We travelled for around 1 hour 15 minutes away and it was certainly worth the journey. Plus 2 of the 3 children fell asleep on the way home, which is always a good sign.
Is there free parking?
Yes. There are no charges to park, which was a refreshing change to Legoland where we had felt a little annoyed by the introduction of parking charges.
We parked 5 minutes from the entrance and getting out was easy too.
How to get to Yorkshire Wildlife Park
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is in Auckley, Doncaster.
- Well served by motorways and major roads, sitting just off the M18, which connects into the M1.
- The SatNav postcode for the new entrance is DN9 3HQ. You’ll start to see brown signs directing you to Yorkshire Wildlife Park car park as you get close.
- Doncaster train station and bus interchange are 6 miles away. The number 57a bus will drop you at a stop which is a 10-minute walk to the main entrance.
Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Yorkshire Wildlife Park?
There is a hotel on site, which is currently being extended, as well as glamping and camping so there’s something for everyone. Full details are on the website.
There’s plenty of accommodation in and around nearby Doncaster, including:
- This 2-bedroomed house which is a 5-minute drive from Yorkshire Wildlife Park
- Wheatley House is within walking distance of Doncaster town centre. It has 3 bedrooms and gardens to the front and rear.
- For a home-away-from-home feel, look for deals on Holiday Cottages
- Find family friendly deals near Yorkshire Wildlife Park on Booking.com
Nearby attractions for a longer day out
We had a wonderful day out at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. I asked the boys what they would give the experience out of 10. Flynn, our 5-year-old, said 900,000. Rory, our 10-year-old, said 11. What more can I say?
It was well organised, informative and really entertaining for the kids too. Seeing the animals was wonderful, particularly getting up close to the giraffe at feeding time from the elevated platform. And the polar bear sighting is something I won’t forget in a hurry! Would recommend it to anyone, although I would certainly say it’s a place that benefits from good weather on your visit.
Visit Yorkshire Wildlife Park website
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