As Ben and Oliver’s birthdays are so close together it has become a tradition to have a “Birthday Outing” – this year we decided to go to Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.
As ever we didn’t tell Ben and Chloe where we were going or who we were going to see, just that we were ‘going on an adventure’ (I think this adds to the excitement for them and also means less disappointment if anything goes wrong!)
Ben and Chloe woke early, as is par for the course at the moment, and I could hear Ben excitedly telling Chloe “We’re going on an adventure“. I decided to get up with them a bit early as it meant we’d have a better chance of getting set off on time!
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is 1hr 30 mins from our house and opens at 10am so we decided to try and leave by 9am – by some minor miracle we were all in the car and on the way before 9.05am! Goodness knows how that happened!
Chlo went to sleep in the car and Ben chattered and nattered the whole way there – with occasional peaceful interludes provided by Opal Fruits (I’m sorry I know they are Starburst and have been forever but they will always be Opal Fruits to me!)
When we arrived at the park we were directed to a parking space on an incredibly gravelly and dusty car park – this wasn’t very pushchair friendly but we managed to get to the paved footpath without too much difficulty. The queues to pay were relatively quick and painless and we were inside without any fuss. Immediately after paying there’s a large courtyard with big tables and benches where we sat down and showed Ben his map – it was only at this point that he realised what sort of adventure we were on as he started to see the animals on the page so we talked about which animals he might like to see. The Dowsons arrived shortly after and Ben was very excited when he spotted them!
Yorkshire Wildlife Park is really easy to navigate, set out in a series of loops so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for but also to just “set off” and know that you shouldn’t miss anything.
The first thing you are greeted by is the meerkat enclosure – all the children thought they were great fun – Chlo was keen to get in and play!!
We loved that you could actually go right into some of the enclosures to get up close and personal with the goats and sheep! There was plenty of alcohol gel and a stand with soap and hot water to make sure you were thoroughly clean after you had touched the animals.
We spent about 5 hours at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park which allowed us to have a leisurely wander round and a picnic lunch (complete with a nasty fall for Chloe resulting in a split lip). We could easily have spent longer there but in all honesty we were pretty tired by the end. All the animals are easy to see in lovely enclosures and look pretty happy and settled (unlike some zoos I’ve been to previously). There’s several raised areas to get a better look at the tigers, giraffes and so forth.
There’s a large wooden play area which the children loved (the Dads weren’t so pleased as they had to do all the climbing while the Mummies were enjoying a bit of a sit down) – I think they could probably have played there for quite a bit longer if we had let them but it was just a bit big to leave them to it and watch, they needed some help from grown ups and a close eye keeping on them.
We made our way back to the courtyard we had originally met up in which allowed for a sit down, toilet stops and a lot of excited trips down the enormous slide – be warned they must be wearing socks. Dave and Paul had wanted to go on the biggest slide which was basically a sheer drop but had to be wearing long sleeves – I can’t say Lizzy and I were disappointed that they happened to have short sleeves on 😉
*Disclaimer: We enjoyed our day out so much we wanted to share a review with you, but the outing was paid for by ourselves. I did not receive any payment for this post*