Extraordinary beasts await at these brilliant Yorkshire animal havens.
Animal-obsessed? Paws what you’re doing and check out Yorkshire’s finest zoos, refuges and aquariums. You’ll find them at historic houses, theme parks and botanical gardens across the region, and between them are home to thousands of fascinating creatures. Not only can you get up close to your favourites, but these animal sanctuaries also host loads of fantastic events every day, so you can live out your zookeeper dreams and even learn something new while you’re at it.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park
There’s a whole lot going on at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. With 475 animals from over 60 species, you’re bound to find your favourite, whether you’re a red panda fan, all about the polar bears or you just love a capybara. They hold daily animal talks where the little (or big) ones can learn all about the fauna looked after here. The park also offers experiences where you can meet the animals for yourself. And with five play areas, the kids have plenty of space to let off some steam after they’ve explored the rest of the park.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Hurst Lane, Auckley, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN9 3HQ. Entry starts at £21 per person.
The Deep is a Yorkshire aquarium that’s serious about fish. Its tanks are filled with over 3,500 animals, including sharks, turtles, and even the country’s only green sawfish. Oh and there’s a colony of Gentoo penguins too. With tons of viewing windows, information boards and friendly staff ready to answer your questions, it’s a truly epic attraction and an unmissable adventure for all the family to explore the seven seas. And when you’re feeling peckish, stop by for a snack at the cafe where fish swim all around you.
The Deep, Tower Street, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU1 4DP. Entry starts at £17.75 for adults and £14 for children. Under 3s go free.
Get ready for a totally wild day out at Tropical World over at Roundhay Park. It may be on the smaller side, but this Yorkshire zoo is packed full of beautiful, fluffy and frankly terrifying creatures. We’re talking a spine-chilling tarantula, poisonous frogs and the infamous piranhas, but it’s also home to exotic birds, butterflies and meerkats. Adventure through the desert, rainforest and the deep sea all while looking out for the weird and wonderful creatures. While you’re here, pay a visit to the cafe and drop by the park for a bit of fresh air.
Tropical World, Princes Avenue, Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2ER. Entry starts at £7.60 for adults and £3.80 for children. Under 5s go free.
Lotherton Wildlife World
Lotherton has got something for everyone. A historic house, beautiful gardens, a well-equipped playground and, that’s right, a zoo. Hop on over to Wildlife World and say hello to the playful Humboldt penguins as they splash and swim in the pool. Look out for Brian the capybara, Arthur the tapir and the flamboyant pink flamingos too. You can also stop by the Nocturnal House, where you’ll find their resident kinkajou, armadillo and more. Peckish? The Stables Cafe is always on hand in the courtyard, serving a range of sarnies, cakes and ice creams.
Lotherton Wildlife World, Lotherton Hall, Lotherton Lane, Aberford, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 3EB. Entry starts at £9 for adults and £4.55 for children. Under 5s go free.
SEA LIFE Scarborough
If you’re going to the Yorkshire coast on your jollies, you cannot miss SEA LIFE. Uncover the secrets of the deep blue sea, with over 2,500 creatures across the aquarium. Dive in and discover Penguin Island, home to really flippin’ cute Humboldts. The most mesmerising part, though, might just be the Tropical Ocean Tunnel, where Blacktip Reef sharks swim right over your head! It’s not all fishy business, though. You can get up close and personal with the otters and go on a rainforest adventure, meeting all sorts of creepy crawlies along the way.
SEA LIFE Scarborough, Scalby Mills Road, Scarborough, East Riding of Yorkshire, YO12 6RP. Entry starts at £15.97 per person. Under 5s go free.
Bridlington Animal Park
Did you know there are kangaroos in Yorkshire? Well there are – real-life ones! Experience the Outback for yourself at Bridlington Animal Park. You can meet wallabies and emus from Down Under, zebra and camels from Africa, skunks and racoons from America, and pigs and rabbits from, well, here. With daily talks, feeds and displays, you can really get to know the local residents. There’s a children’s play area when the kiddos can burn off excess energy and a food kiosk to keep you energised throughout your visit.
Bridlington Animal Park, Covert Lane, Carnaby, Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, YO15 3QF Entry starts at £7.95 for adults and £6.95 for children. Under 3s go free.
Bugtopia Hornsea Zoo
Grab your sunhat and binoculars because we’re going bug hunting! Head to the Yorkshire coast for Bugtopia at Hornsea Zoo, a tropical rainforest experience housing fascinating flora and fauna from all four corners of the globe. And despite the name, it’s not just bugs you’ll find here. There are prey and predators big and small, some with wings, some with eight legs and some with none. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet some of these incredible little beasts on an interactive educational session – it’s available for all ages.
Bugtopia Hornsea Zoo, Hornsea Freeport, Rolston Road, Hornsea, East Riding of Yorkshire, HU18 1UT. Entry starts at £6 for adults and £5 for children. Under 2s go free.
Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park
Yorkshire’s Askham Bryan College is dedicated to animal conservation and education, and you can get a sneak peek behind the scenes at the Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park. Set in a stunning, historic arboretum just outside of York, you’ll find a whole lot of curious critters here, from farm animals to monkeys, reptiles to tropical fish. You can even be a zookeeper for the day and get up close and personal with the residents. Listen out for the Laughing Kookaburra and its oh-so-familiar chuckle.
Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park, Askham Bryan, York, North Yorkshire, YO23 3FR. Entry starts at £6.95 for adults and £5.95 for children. Under 2s go free.
Harewood House Bird Garden
The Bird Garden at Harewood House is home to over 40 species of our feathered friends, including a number of critically endangered species. You can come face-to-face with the friendly resident penguins, engage in conversation with a chatty cockatiel and snap a shot with the flamboyant flock of flamingos. You may also spot rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, pigs, goats and alpacas, as part of their Farm Experience. The garden is right next to the courtyard, where you’ll find the cafe for a bite to eat in the historic surroundings.
Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS17 9LG. Entry starts at £17.95 for adults and £9.50 for children. Under 4s go free.
As the name suggests, Flamingo Land is indeed home to a few flamingos – two types in fact. But this Yorkshire zoo-meets-theme-park wonderland has some furry friends in store too. Kangaroos, penguins, lemurs, otters, and tortoises, to name just a few. But it doesn’t stop there, you’ll also find dozens of insanely fun rides, many of which are ideal for the little ones. Feeling hungry? Flamingo Land has a fantastic choice of restaurants, like The Metropolis Bar & Grill and The Coach House, for some proper pub grub.
Flamingo Land, Kirby Misperton, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 6UX. Entry starts at £29 per person.
Thorp Perrow Bird of Prey and Mammal Centre
Nestled in a massive 100-acre arboretum, The Thorp Perrow Bird of Prey and Mammal Centre boasts an equally huge collection of exotic birds, from colourful parakeets to hooting owls. There are regular flight displays, where you can witness some pretty terrifyingly powerful birds of prey in action. It’s also home to some total cuties, including tiny pygmy goats and the ever-popular meerkats. But it’s not just the wildlife that’s the standout here, it’s also one of the finest tree collections in Yorkshire! So, a frolic in the park is a must.
Thorp Perrow Bird of Prey and Mammal Centre, Thorp Perrow Arboretum, Bedale, North Yorkshire, DL8 2PS. Entry starts at £13.30 for adults and £8.50 for children. Under 4s go free.
The Tropical Butterfly House
In South Yorkshire, another tropical land awaits you. The Tropical Butterfly House is home to a lot more than butterflies – although the Glasswing is one you cannot miss! In the zoo, you’ll find reptiles of all sizes, as well as koi fish, peacocks, tamarins, mole rats, chipmunks and many more. Animal talks and feeds run throughout the day and you’ll have the chance to feed goats, otters and even lorikeets. In summer, the kids can cool off in the splash zone, while the adults get some much-deserved rest in between the madness.
The Tropical Butterfly House, Woodsetts Road, North Anston, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S25 4EQ. Entry starts at £14.99 for adults and £13.99 for children. Under 2s go free.
Home to both furry and feathered friends, Sewerby Zoo sits in the Sewerby Hall estate on the Yorkshire coast. From pygmy goats and micro pigs to Taiwanese Sika Deer and Cameroon Sheep, they look after beasts great and small. The birdsong is non-stop from flock upon flock of some of the world’s most beautiful birds. One of the most popular is their friendly Eclectic Parrot, named Eckie. And by ‘eck is he gorgeous! The star of the show, though, may just be the Humboldt penguins, who can be seen diving for fish at every feeding time.
Sewerby Zoo, Sewerby Hall, Sewerby, Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, YO15 1ED. Entry starts at £9 for adults and £7 for children.Cover image credit: Harewood House Trust.