The tiger is stalking us through the grass… the lions are staring and eyeing us up for their next meal… the polar bears are practicing their hunting in the water… whereas the monkeys are eating ass and having sex completely unaware of everyone around! It's fair to say that Yorkshire Wildlife Park makes for a very entertaining day out!
Taking us through Asia, Africa and the Arctic all in one day, the Wildlife Park near Doncaster in South Yorkshire is home to over 400 animals from all around the globe, and is a must visit attraction for all animal lovers and anyone looking for a fun day out with friends and family.
Every animal seemed to have a story to tell with so many emotions... love, fun, sadness, joy... check out our videos for our interpretations and share yours in the comments!
We reached just after opening time and easily found parking in the huge free car park, and entered through the new Hive shopping space. The park has a circular walking trail... one side starts with a route through the Dinosaur trail, and the other makes its way through the Atlantic Forest.
We decide to visit the live animals first and then check out the dinosaurs on the way back. But we are sure if there were kids with us, we would have probably been dragged towards the dinosaurs!
Monterey Bay - Sea Lions
Our visit starts at Monterey Bay in California, watching the sea lions play in their pool. There are a few swimming around and a couple lying on top of the island in the middle of the pool.
One sea lion in the water seems quite boisterous and playful, trying to get another to leave their island and join in… but they’re having none of it! A few growls and baring teeth suggests they don’t want to play… and Sneha comments that it reminds her of us with one wanting to have fun and the other being grumpy! (We’ll let you guess which way around that is) .
Or is it mating season and is love in the air?? Who knows... but we spend a good amount of time just watching them speak to each other and playing in the water as they were by far the loudest in the area.
Himalayan Pass at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
After the seals, the first animal we see in the Atlantic Forest is the Lowland Tapir. Have you heard about this animal? We certainly hadn't!
He looks like he could be part of the hippopotamus family but have decedents from the anteater family, strange combination! He's certainly restless going in and out of his glass house into the open. We tried for a while and then just gave up on the idea of taking a pic!
The next enclosure is supposed to have some Maned Wolves in, but they must be sleeping or hiding as we can't see them anywhere. There are some animals far in the distance which we wonder if they're them, but even when using the zoom on the camera, they look more like giant rabbits than wolves!
Do share pics with us if you happen to get hold of them!
We move on into the Himalayas to see a binturong, or a bearcat as it’s also known. It seems quite shy to start with, only popping their head out of the hut a few times but not venturing far.
Until it’s breakfast time that is, as when the food is put out, it comes out to feed and joins the otters playing and having breakfast in the pool in the same enclosure.
We’ve not seen one of these animals before and it looks quite strange… the name bearcat is very appropriate as it looks like a cross between the 2!
The Red Pandas are next but they too are hiding well, sleeping high up in the branches in the trees. Luckily with it being the very start of Spring there aren’t any leaves yet so we can at least get a glimpse of them, we’re not sure we’d see anything if it was the middle of summer!
There is a good deck and vantage point or kids to climb up and get a better view higher in the trees and a nice 360 degree view of the whole place!
One of the Red Pandas does wake up to stretch, but it soon curls back up, so we move on to Ethiopia and the nearby monkey enclosure.
Experience Ethiopia - Monkeys
And well, the Wildlife Park may make a great attraction for a family day out, but it seems the monkeys are in the mood for some X-rated fun!
When we first get there, they’re all quietly picking at the grass trying to find something to eat. But after a few minutes one of the monkeys sees something else they want to eat… the ass of another monkey!
And once they’re finished eating (or possibly cleaning), the alpha looking monkey who had been prowling around earlier decides he wants to have some “fun”!
It’s only a few seconds showing (no judgement here), but it leaves everyone watching in hysterics… one girl in particular who we see a good 10 minutes later is still trying to compose herself with tears in her eyes as she’s laughing so much!
Lunch at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
After witnessing the monkey porn, we pass by the hyenas but they're all resting and can't be seen very well behind the fences, so we continue our safari walk to the Masai... a coffee house rather than the Mara National Reserve in Kenya though!
We grab some sandwiches and a sausage roll (Sneha opting for the kids meal deal) and sit outside in the picnic area, just as it's starting to rain. But we're on a safari after all, so a little bit of rain is fine!
Project Polar in Yorkshire Wildlife Park
One of the star attractions of Yorkshire Wildlife Park is Polar Project, home to the only Polar Bears in England. So after lunch we leave Africa and get our warm clothes on to start an Arctic expedition!
There are actually 2 Polar Projects at the park, one being behind the Masa Coffee House, and the other being at the opposite end of the wetlands past Into Africa.
At the project behind the Masa Coffee House we see two polar bears, one is sleeping, but the other is playing in the water pool by diving in and out, practicing it's attack on a floating box in the water.
It keeps diving in and climbing out, shaking itself dry, and then diving in again! And even at this long distance away, it looks so huge and powerful that we wouldn't want to be in that box's position!
Over at the other project we get a lot closer to the bears here, and there are a lot more of them too!
There is one absolutely huge bear alone in one enclosure, we guess it must be a male, and he seems very interested in what's behind the wall which he can obviously smell but not see beyond.
On the other side are a number of smaller bears, we guess female, and one of them seems just as interested as the male as to what she can smell but not see as well!
The two bears keep going up close to the wall, giving it a good sniff, sitting for a while, and then walking away, before repeating it all over again. While some of the other bears chill next to the pool, or play around climbing up and down on the rocks.
Keeping polar bears in the UK (and around the World) has caused some controversy for the park, but the bears here have been rescued from zoos in other parts of the World to give them better welfare and enable ground-breaking research to help their future given the current climate emergency.
More info on the research can be found here - Polar Bear Research
On our whistle stop tour around the World, after our brief stop at the Arctic, we head towards the deserts and Mongolian terrains to see the Bactrian Camels.
While watching them, Paul recounts a childhood memory of seeing a camel on a beach in Spain (or maybe France, it was a long time ago). It was there for people to take photos with (this is going back to the early 1990's), and when a young girl, probably around 5 years old, stood next to the camel it bend down and swallowed her whole head! She was fine... after a few shouts from the owner the camel let her go, with just a head covered in slobber to show from the ordeal.
Luckily there's no such trauma today, the camels all look very much at peace as they eat and wander around the field.
We head back to Africa and to another of the highlights of the park... Leopard's Heights, the largest facility of its kind in Europe!
This area of the park has a huge tree house so we can climb up and see the leopards from up above, or at ground level if you can't make it up the stairs there is a large glass pane wall to look through so the views aren't obstructed by a fence.
Leopards are one of the most elusive big cats in the world and spotting them can be very difficult!
After a minute or two we spot one in the very far distance... looks like they've climbed up and are chilling on the roof! And then we spot another... this time on the ground, roaming around the enclosure as if on the hunt for something!
The leopard looks majestic as it prowls around the grounds, stopping every so often. As it reaches one of the gates it stops and stares... and we realise it's staring at (or at least smelling) the tigers next door... we wonder if it wants to play, fight, or maybe "do as the monkeys were doing"!
Into Africa - Giraffes
From the opposite side of the tree house from Leopard's Height's is the Giraffe House, and although you don't need to be up high to see these giant animals, it certainly gives another perspective to be as tall as them.
There are 2 outside the house. Looks like they have just had their lunch, but are still expecting to get some more food. Sneha felt the gesture of the 2 giraffes was so cute that she had to put the video in! And after we have our lunch, we head inside their hut and they certainly seem taller inside than outside!
Land of the Tiger
Climbing down from the vantage point of the tree house, we follow the leopard's lead and search for the tigers.
And they aren't difficult to spot... one seems to have actually spotted us, and is stalking towards us with it's head low, eyes fixated, looking as if it's ready to take us down as prey with a powerful bite!
Luckily there's a metal fence between us so we're safe, and the tiger soon gets some prey as a sheep's leg is wheeled out by a ranger and taken into the enclosure for it to feed on.
The leg stinks, but as we walk around to the feeding platform it's a real sight to see to watch the tiger tear at the flesh with it's huge sharp teeth, before seeming to get bored and go back to stalking park visitors instead!
Lion Country in Yorkshire Wildlife Park
To round off our big cat safari we head further Into Africa to Lion Country, and see the 3 lion prides who live in the savanna of Doncaster.
Two of the prides are made up of a female and 2 males... a mother and 2 sons.
We see one of the prides, with one male prowling around and showing off his huge and impressive mane, before he finds a comfortable spot on the top of a rock to sit and watch everything going on around him.
The third pride is all female, 3 sisters who like to watch the males from the other prides, something we witness as two of them sit staring into the neighbouring enclosure the whole time we're there!
In-between the big cat enclosures In Africa there is also a rhino field, and although they weren't around when we first walked past, on our way back one was out for a walk.
Just opposite to the Rhino enclosure, there is another enclosure where you can see the Grey's Zebra, Common Elands and animals that look like deer( Kafue Flats Lechwe). They are at a distance, so we dont get any good clicks
Wallaby Walkabout, Meerkat Mansion & Lemur Woods
Some of the smaller animals in the park are also some of the cutest!
In the Wallaby Walkabout area, we have to pass through some "airlock" gates, and once inside we can see why... the wallaby's are free to roam around the whole area as we walk through it!
They look super cute as they hop around or just chill and relax, but Sneha thinks one of them is staring her out and says that they smell way too much to keep one as a pet!
I think she might have changed her mind though when we see another with a tiny baby know as a Joey peeking out of it's pouch, and it hops straight towards Paul as it crosses the road!
We also find an albino one who looks sounds asleep, until his friend keeps bothering him and makes him get up and hop away for some peace and quiet!
The meerkats are equally as cute as they inquisitively look around on top of their burrow, and the lemurs are treated to some food as some other visitors take advantage of one of the VIP experiences on offer and get up close and personal and feed them!
Yorkshire Wildlife park offers really cool experiences. Check them out
African Painted Dogs & Baboons
The African Painted Dogs are very curious at all of the people stood looking at them, and some of the dogs look like they want to come out and play with (or eat) us!
And the baboons follow in the other monkey's footsteps from this morning, although this time it seems like less X-rated "fun" and more like X-rated "attack"!
One of the baboons is very amorous towards another, but the she doesn't seem interested at all, and kicks and screams before running away and making her escape!
The rest of them explore their surroundings in peace though and some sit next to the pool soaking up the sun... just like tourists on holiday!
Some of the other animals we see when walking around the park are Zebra, although we don't get a good look at these are they are a long way away at first, and then by the time we get to their area they're all sheltering from the rain.
An Okapi, which neither of us has seen before and completely baffles us... the best way we can describe it is, imagine a small horse wearing zebra trousers with a giraffe's head!
As with the zebras, it's sheltering in it's shed away from the darkening skies, but Sneha comments on how long and slimy it's tongue looks as it grooms itself. Surprisingly, its long ( 12-14 inches ) tongue is one of the very distinct feature of this almost extinct mammal.. so a good spot Sneha!
And we see a Giant Anteater, which again is inside it's hut but we can still smell the stink, and Sneha says it is an absolutely horrible creature!
Pangea & Dinosaurs
By now the weather has changed and it's absolutely pouring down, so most of the animals are starting to shelter from the rain and we think it's about time we headed home.
On our way out we head through a newer part of the park and probably one of the most surprising to find at a Wildlife Park... the dinosaur area Pangea!
With lots of life size animatronic dinosaurs it's quite a cool and different way to end the day, and Paul can't help but thinking of Jurassic Park and whether those footprints in the muddy puddles have actually just been made by a T-Rex...
Yorkshire Wildlife Park Facilities
The park in general has great facilities. There are multiple cafes and small restaurants at different points of the park offering food and drink, most with toilets too. There are 5 play areas for kids, and some picnic areas where you can bring your own food and drink.
There are also some great experiences on offer where you can feed some of the animals like we saw some people do with the Lemurs, there are ranger talks throughout the day at different animal enclosures, and there is also a small open amphitheatre where we watched an animal poop show!
Get Discount Tickets for Yorkshire Wildlife Park
If you buy tickets online the day before your visit you get a £5 discount compared to juts buying them directly at the gate... definitely a worthwhile saving! You can buy the tickets here... Yorkshire Wildlife Park Tickets
The Yorkshire Hive & Shopping
Also at the Wildlife Park site is a new shopping, dining, hotel and entertainment destination called The Yorkshire Hive.
As well as having the usual Wildlife Park Safari Store giftshop selling all sorts of souvenirs from soft toys to professional artwork of most of the animals we've just seen, there's a large range of artisan shops selling local produce and gifts.
Sneha gets a cute polar bear ornament from the Safari Store and then heads to Laura's Confectionery to satisfy her sweet tooth, while Paul gets some gifts for Mother's Day (not that he's left it late with it being tomorrow!) and then heads for the alcohol and stocks up on some weird and wonderful sounding beer at the Badger Pantry including a chilli and chocolate porter and a Yorkshire Pudding beer!
Our day started with a bacon sandwich and coffee at Cornerstone Coffee, and there are a few other places to eat and drink too
As you can see there is loads to see and do at Yorkshire Wildlife Park... so much in fact it's difficult to fit it all in to only 1 day!
Going on a safari in Africa is one of Paul's bucket list trips, but other than a safari trip while in India, this is the closest I've come to it and it's only heightened my excitement to go! Seeing all of the animals up close was amazing, and although I obviously wouldn't see them in Africa, getting the chance to see Polar Bears playing and roaming around was magical!
Sneha was more intrigued by the emotions that all the animals had. She was thinking what is their story and weaved it around in the videos. It was a very calming experience to watch the different animals, particularly the rare and endangered ones.