Since it opened 10 years ago, we’ve enjoyed going to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park…it’s been open longer than my children have been alive and we have loved seeing it evolve! Now home to more than 450 animals, including many endangered species, we were excited to see it reopen post lockdown.
We visited recently and had a great day there reviewing a family experience at the park post lockdown. If you’re planning a visit, wondering what it will be like from a social distancing point of view, what’s open, what the facilities are…here’s some information and our tips for families!
Tips for families visiting the Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Before you set off…
Buy your tickets.
Remember to pre-book your tickets, as it’s not possible to turn up on the day without a ticket. Even if you are an annual pass holder, you have to pre-book a timeslot.
From July 10th 2020, there are the following time slots:
9am, 10am, 1pm, 2pm & 4pm and you have to pre-book here
Download the App
I had heard about the Yorkshire Wildlife Park App, which we downloaded before we went (it’s free to download). There is a really great ‘Plan’ feature and my littlest Mumbler spent the morning before we went creating an interactive list of all the animals he wanted to see. He ended up ticking most of them! It gives the option to click on each animal and learn a bit about them, so this kept him busy for quite a while! He was really excited to get going and tick off some of the animals on his list in the app.
There is no paper map given on arrival, so the app comes in handy as it has a map on it. I’ve added a map from their website here too if it’s helpful (click to enlarge).
Parking at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is not short of parking, they have lots of space. There seemed to be a steady flow of traffic in and out and cars were really spread out compared to normal. There were parking attendants directing us where to go and cars were encouraged to park a couple of metres apart from each other.
Once we had parked, we walked up to the park and followed the ‘Entry’ signs leading us to the side of the shop (if you are normally used to entering through the shop, this isn’t possible now as this is ‘Exit’ only).
Entrance & Exit
There seemed to be a lot of attendants around to point people in the right direction. We had an window of one hour to arrive within our ‘alloted time’ and we didn’t have to queue at all to get in. It’s worth noting that there is no ‘re-entry’ at this time. So once you’re in, you’re in. There are no wristbands given at the moment.
There is no limit on the amount of time you can stay, we stayed for about 3 hours.
There were clear signs for either EXIT or SHOP. There was a queue to exit the park via the shop as they are only allowing a certain number of people in there at a time. We chose to just Exit and there was no queue.
The other shops in the entrance were open including Laura’s Fudge, TinkaBoo’s Boutique, Etc…Etc…Etc
Seeing the animals
Armed with our list and having looked at the map, we picked our route. We’ve been many times, but never seem to be able to get around the whole thing in one go!
It was noticeable that restrictions on numbers are in place as it was definitely less busy than usual. The viewing windows for the Meerkat’s who are just as you go in to the park were fenced off and as we headed to Lion Country there was a one way system in place with notices to ‘Keep Left’.
There is a new area since our last visit ‘Experience Ethiopia’ with new Hyena’s which the Mini Mumblers were very keen to see after watching The Lion King. So we headed there next, going past Wallaby Walkabout. We ticked off the animals in the app as we went along…honestly this gave us a whole new experience at the park and the kids loved it!
We felt comfortable walking around and the majority of people were sticking to the one way and keep left signs. There seemed to be lots of attendants around each area of the park. We found that we were able to successfully navigate our way around and avoid any areas where people were congregating to look at animals/take photos.
As we walked towards Land of the Tiger, we were lucky enough to see one of the Tigers very close up! As Mini Mumbler has been learning about Tigers in his home school learning, he got a great photo to show his teacher.
It’s really exciting to see the development of the Yorkshire Wildlife Park taking place as you walk across the Land of the Tiger walkway, which is the route to the new Ethiopia area.
The Hyena’s weren’t coming out to play unfortunately, but we loved the Gelada Monkey’s. They were very cheeky and playful and there was loads of space to see them.
Walking back towards the Giraffes (my personal favourites) we had a coffee at the Masai Coffee House…i’ll detail all of the places open for take away below…it was all really well organised with one way in/out, our details were taken for track and trace when we ordered and a member of staff cleaned our table before we sat down. The tables were well apart from each other, however if you prefer to sit outside there are lots of chairs and tables outside. The Giraffes were outside which was great as the Giraffe House is currently closed due to being indoors.
The playgrounds were closed when we visited (we normally spend a fair bit of time in the one near the camels) but it’s understandable that it was closed and we hadn’t factored that in to our time there. If you’re visiting this weekend, you’ll be pleased to know that the play areas (all except Jungle Lookout) are reopen from Saturday 11th July.
After seeing the camels, we headed back around to see the leopard (the viewing platform is closed currently, but we were able to catch a glimpse from the ground).
The One-Way system was in place as we walked up past the Rhino’s and by this point the amount of people in the park had reduced again.
We watched the Lemurs through the fence as this area was closed off, however all walk throughs will be reopen from Monday 13th July.
There is a LOT of walking to do at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, that’s for sure, it is huge and getting bigger. So if you’ve little one’s you probably want to bring the pushchair.
Their wheelchair rental service is now reopen and the Wildlife park is accessible.
Facilities: Toilets and Baby Change at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
As we entered the park near the Meerkat enclosure, there was understandably a bit of a queue for the toilets due to social distancing. There is a separate Baby Change there and separate disabled toilet, both of which had no queues.
We walked on to the toilets near iCaramba! where there are 2 disabled toilets with baby changing, male toilets and female toilets (I noticed there was another baby change table in there also). Every other toilet cubicle was blocked off, so it limited the amount of toilets, but it felt safe and there was no real queue. There were markers on the floor so that people could adhere to the 2m distancing. Hand Sanitiser was available at the entrance to the toilet block too,
Worth noting that the disabled toilets don’t require a radar key for entry and their is a Changing Place in the Safari Cafe, which looked to be open.
There are lots of hand washing stations around the park – they’re usually there anyway but were really handy on our visit.
For all public toilets see the Yorkshire Wildlife Website here .
Eating at Yorkshire Wildlife Park
We noticed lots of places for take away food and drink available and LOTS of outdoor seating spread around the park (a huge area with picnic benches near Wallaby Walkabout)
Masai Coffee House
Monkey Playhouse Cafe
Snack Kiosks near Giant Anteaters, Camels, Leopards and Experience Ethiopia
We had a drink in the Masai Coffee House – so nice to have a coffee made for me after lockdown! I noticed that there was a good selection of things available – there were kids lunch boxes etc, which are always popular with my Mini Mumblers.
Athough closed when we visited, all play areas except the Jungle Lookout are reopen from Saturday 11th July.