Advantages Animals in natural habitats
Disadvantages Flies, needs more development
|Is it worth visiting?|
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 Wildlife Park'.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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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!
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.
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 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.
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