Whether you’re running out of ideas for things to do with the kids or are simply looking for some inspiration for your future travels, you can never go wrong with a trip to a wildlife park. Wildlife and safari parks differ from traditional zoos in the sense that they provide a safe environment for both humans and animals to explore and thrive without the animals being kept in enclosed conditions.
Whilst they may not be as realistic as an African plains safari, the wildlife parks in the UK offer a variety of exhibits and conservational efforts, with some allowing you to drive through – though watch out for animals jumping on the roof of the car! So, with that being said, here are our favourite wildlife parks in the UK to help you organise your next adventure.
Knowsley Safari Park
Knowsley Safari Park is the perfect chance to get up close and personal with exotic animals in their natural habitat – how often do you get to drive past a pride of lions or a crash of rhinos? Visitors to the Merseyside attraction can navigate the five-mile route as many times as they wish, with one drive-through journey lasting around an hour to complete. Once you’ve finished the trip, you can find a selection of rides and attractions for the whole family to enjoy.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Located in Branton, near Doncaster, the conservation and rehabilitation centre opened in 2009 and is home to an impressive 500 animals of 100 species. The park is fairly easy to get to, with London to Doncaster train tickets being available for various times throughout the day. Yorkshire Wildlife Park is known to be the UK’s number 1 Wildlife Adventure and it’s no surprise why. Not only is the park home to at-risk species like Black Rhinos and Tigers, but it is also the only place in the UK where you can find polar bears. For an in-depth experience, you can also book a behind-the-scenes experience, which you won’t want to miss.
West Midlands Safari Park
It’s not often you can get to see animals from each continent within a few miles of each other. At West Midlands Safari Park, you have the opportunity to drive through the African plains and wild Asia, where you’re sure to come across lions, tigers and bears! You can also explore the Land of the Living Dinosaur exhibit, which is currently the UK’s largest animatronic dinosaur attraction. Here you’ll learn how the dinosaurs roamed the Earth from the Permian to the Cretaceous Period and become a palaeontologist for the day, searching for fossils and remain of the now-extinct reptilic creatures.
Longleat Safari and Adventure Park
Whether you decide to stay in your car or venture out on a walking safari is entirely up to you at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park. If you do decide to step outside your car in the East African Reserve, you have the chance to get face-to-face with incredible wildlife like wildebeest, ostriches and zebras. Whilst in the comfort of your own vehicle, you get to traverse the Tiger Territory and the Big Game Park, home to some of the most dangerous yet impressive animals in the whole of the world. Oh, and you cannot miss the aptly titled Monkey Mayhem, where troublesome macaques will make themselves comfortable on your vehicle – be careful that they don’t steal your wiper blades!