The Annual Burgess / Dowson Birthday Outing!

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!!

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Meerkats

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Dave & Chloe
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.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - sheep goats
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.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Flamingo Ben

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - map reading

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Ben and Wallaby

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Chlo with split lip

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Mummy & Chloe
Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Daddy & Ben
Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Chloe & Emily

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - boys and their dads
Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Tiger Ben

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Mummy giving Ben a piggyback

Yorkshire Wildlife Park slide - Ben

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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 😉

Yorkshire Wildlife Park - Mummy and Chloe having a cuddle

As is to be expected the exit is through the gift shop which makes it tricky to avoid spending any money – however there was a wide range of treats and we were able to buy Ben a small tractor for £2.99 and Chloe a little lion for £3.99.
My only small gripe from the whole day is that the path ways are exceptionally dusty and a little uneven  – fine for grown ups and a pushchair but not so great for a two year old who likes to run a little faster than she probably should. Chlo seemed to spend a lot of the day face down coming away with two new knee grazes and a grazed forehead each from separate falls!  We were all absolutely filthy from the very dry, dusty paths – but hey it all washed out so we can’t complain too much!!
All in all a great day out and I’m sure we’ll go back!

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*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*

*Read more reviews here*

9 Comments

  1. September 13, 2013 / 8:59 am

    Some great photos, looks like a fun day out. Hope Chloe's face got better!
    Popping over from Oldies But Goodies.

    • September 13, 2013 / 9:29 am

      It was a lot of fun.
      She ended up with quite a scar on her lip bless her.

  2. Suzanne Whitton
    September 13, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    This looks like a fabulous place for kids – animals AND a long wavy slide! Some very expressive photos 🙂 thanks for linking to #oldiesbutgoodies this week.

  3. November 7, 2013 / 4:40 am

    This sound a great place to take the kids – if my four weren't such bad travellers, I would take them further afield!

  4. May 1, 2014 / 11:41 pm

    This looks like a great day out I will have to give it a try

  5. September 13, 2014 / 5:19 pm

    We went a long time ago when our kids were younger. Glad to see it's still going strong and it has some new things too now.

  6. January 13, 2015 / 10:27 am

    Looks lovely, definitely one for the list if I'm nearby

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