Days Out | Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Image title reads 'days out, yorkshire wildlife park, dn9 3hq image to the right is of two polar bears playing in their enclosure at yorkshire wildlife park

We've held annual passes to Yorkshire Wildlife Park for the last few years so it's a place we know well but due to the coronavirus pandemic it's undergone some changes recently to enable visitors to safely access the site. As someone with Aspergers I find comfort in familiarity and predictability so these changes  have been quite upsetting me for me even though I completely understand the need for them. I think all people, whether they have Aspergers or not, could do with some predictability right now so hopefully this review will help you understand some of the changes that have been made and help you assess whether visiting is right for you in the current climate.

Booking tickets to Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park Throughout Covid 19 Coronavirus  Katrina Over 30s UK blogger talking about parenting, autism, mental health, books and coeliac disease.

All visits (including annual pass holders) must be booked in advance via Yorkshire Wildlife Park website. There are 3 entry times to choose from on each day; 9am-10am, 11.30am-12.30pm and 2pm -3pm.  You can arrive any time within your chosen time slot. We have visited at two different times so far. We visited the second week of opening at 2pm and found there was no queue and access was quick and easy. We visited again the following week at 9am and had a very different experience, we queued to access the car park but access to the park itself was still quick and easy despite the park being busier. We left around 2pm and the queue to enter the car park went all the way back to the main road.

In regards to the website general tickets are shown immediately on the booking page but if you want to book pass holder tickets you need to create an account and be logged in. Then it's simply a case of adding how many you need (they request no more than 6 at a time) and checking out. If you are pass holders you won't be required to pay anything but you must bring your pass and your ticket on the day you visit. Tickets are emailed over to you to either print out or show on your phone.

What to expect when you arrive at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park Throughout Covid 19 Coronavirus  Katrina Over 30s UK blogger talking about parenting, autism, mental health, books and coeliac disease.When arriving at the car park you will be shown to a parking space by the attendants. Cars are parked with ample space to allow for social distancing. I was a little apprehensive at the amount of cars in the car park but once out of the car the car park didn't feel crowded and it was easy to stay away from people on the walk down to the main entrance.

As everyone is arriving in the same hour slot it seems a little crowded but there are floor markings indicating the required distance and we found people seemed to adhere to these well. I liked that the markings were in the shape of animal prints, it makes it seem less intimidating to children and is a good talking point to keep them distracted whilst they wait.

Access to the park is via the side of the gift shop rather than through it. The queue moved very quickly as there were ample ticket booths open. There was a member of staff directing visitors to numbered ticket booths. Entry was easy, simply show your ticket and pass for the attendant to scan. There was no contact at all and the staff were as friendly as usual. I didn't feel any anxiety from them. I noted that the information point was open for those with inquiries.

Once through the gates it appeared incredibly busy and at this point I felt anxious. I think the problem was everyone arriving in the same hour and there not being a system in place. When you enter you can go in any direction you choose and people were stood deciding, this created a bottle neck effect of people at the entrance and I was afraid the rest of the park would be this busy. I think the park would benefit from a system that directs people one way or the other depending on which ticket booth they enter via. Once people have been directed away from the entrance and into more open space they could then be allowed to wander at will. Once further inside the park I relaxed as it was easy to keep our distance from others.

How Well Can You Adhere To Social Distancing At Yorkshire Wildlife Park?

Social Distancing signage Yorkshire Wildlife Park Throughout Covid 19 Coronavirus  Katrina Over 30s UK blogger talking about parenting, autism, mental health, books and coeliac disease.Yorkshire Wildlife Park is a very spacious outdoor environment and lends itself very well to social distancing. A majority of the pathways are wide enough for two way traffic and those that aren't such as the tiger walkway and the otter viewing station have been adapted for one way use.

As with all social distancing it's success relies on people following the guidelines. This is something I can't predict as there will inevitably be people who don't adhere to social distancing. There were people who felt it necessary to crowd around certain animals and I found the best solution was to simply move away from them. This is no reflection on the park itself as they have done all they can to ensure social distancing is easy to follow. There were plenty of friendly staff stationed around the park that offered guidance on the social distancing policies and they did so without coming across as authoritarian.

Social distancing wouldn't be possible in enclosed areas such as the giraffe house and the walk through areas so the park have made the sensible decision to close these areas. You can still see the animals by walking around the enclosures. Barriers have been placed in front of all indoor animal enclosures so people aren't able to lean on the glass- a good idea to stop access to frequently touched areas.

What Facilities Are Available At Yorkshire Wildlife Park?

There were plenty of food kiosks open around the park, all of which had social distancing measures in place. The park are currently advising you not to bring picnics due to lack of picnic space. I can see the logic in this as the picnic areas in the park tend to be large communal tables. There are some smaller tables available to sit and enjoy a drink and a snack at and the iCaramba!, Tsavo bakehouse, Masai coffee house and Monkey cafe food areas were open and operating a reduced takeaway food and drink menu. We ate at the iCaramba! area and found the queues reasonable, the service was speedy and although we had to wait for a table we didn't have to wait for long. I had to bring my own food due to there being no gluten and lactose free options available. I'm unsure if the park caters for such requirements ordinarily as I am newly diagnosed Coeliac and on previous visits I've been able to enjoy the parks amazing chicken nuggets but this is an area I will investigate in the future. 

Indoor and outdoor play areas were taped or fenced off which was good as children could clearly see they weren't open.

All toilet areas were open and all toilet blocks were well staffed and stocked with plenty of sanitising equipment. Visitors are asked to wait outside until invited in by a staff member when a cubicle is available. Only every other cubicle is in use and the toilets were up to their usual clean standard. The queues appear longer than they are as everyone is waiting outside rather than inside. I found the queues to be fast moving and the staff to be helpful and friendly. Baby change and disabled facilities were also open.

Exiting the park.

There are no time slots to exit the park, you may exit when you please however you are not permitted to leave and re-enter like you would ordinarily be able to. There are two ways to exit the park, both via the gift shop but one side enables you to browse the shop and the other simply to by pass the merchandise and leave. The queue for the shop is quite long as only a set number of people are allowed into the shop at any given time. We didn't want to browse the shop so we went straight out via the designated route through the shop.

Most of the stores in the courtyard appeared to be open. We didn't visit any of the shops so I can't comment on how they are operating at the minute but I would assume it's under social distancing rules and at busy times you may be required to wait outside.

My Thoughts

Visiting Yorkshire Wildlife Park Throughout Covid 19 Coronavirus  Katrina Over 30s UK blogger talking about parenting, autism, mental health, books and coeliac disease.

Initially I felt anxious about going to the park and when I first entered I thought I'd made a mistake as it appeared busy but once past the entrance the crowds thinned and social distancing was easy. The facilities were excellently managed and plentiful for the amount of visitors. Food areas were working efficiently and the staff were very helpful in creating a relaxed yet safe atmosphere. I feel the wildlife park have done every thing they can to ensure a safe trip and I will happily be continuing to make use of our annual passes.

 Thanks For Reading 

Katrina Fox UK based parenting blogger. Writing about Coeliac / celiac disease, Aspergers Syndrome and Autism, Pregnancy, Parenting and both Childrens and Adults Books


  1. Thanks for this. I have a post reviewing them from a couple of years ago. I'm going to link back to this one so people can find out what it's like now. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

  2. I'm glad you had a good day out. I think organisations putting access information on their websites makes a huge difference both during the pandemic and at other times as well. When we are taking the boys somewhere we like to know as much as we can about the place so we can help them best through the day and enjoy is as a family. Thanks for all the information too - will be really. helpful to anyone else thinking about visiting. #kcacols

  3. This is helpful for people who don't know about the changes during the pandemic X #kcacols

  4. We love wildlife parks. This one looks good. I know it can be different now but it's always good to go outside and explore the nature #KCACOLS

  5. It's so good to read your positive experience of the wildlife park. It sounds like there are lots of measures in place to help with social distancing and I agree, if someone isn't being particularly good at distancing - it's a good idea to just move on and maybe come back to see the exhibit a bit later on. Thank you for joining us for #mischiefandmemories x

  6. I'm glad you felt reassured by the measures put in place to keep visitors safe. Thanks for linking up with #MischiefAndMemories


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