So going to feed the giraffes at Yorkshire Wildlife Park has been on my bucket list for a long time and finally it has been ticked off thanks to an idea by me and one of my best friends. We decided to mutually buy the experience as our Christmas present to each other. It costs £30 each plus your entrance to the park, but we have annual passes so there were no extras to pay for us.
We had to book it in October as demand is very high and managed to get in on the 5th January. It’s starts at 10:30 so we arranged to meet at 9 so not to be late at all.
We were late-ish! We arrived at 10:10 and couldn’t believe how little cars were in the park. It was astonishing. We knew we needed to go to the information office to check in and also because I’d forgot my annual pass.
The meerkats were having a little lookout session in their window when we arrived so we popped over to quickly take some pics.
Sprinting over to the giraffe compound, we passed the hiding rhinos and the zebras. The giraffes were all being very nesh (Yorkshire for wimps) and got themselves into the warm shelter. It was freezing so I do not blame them for that! They were all inside munching on hay and willow when we arrived. Our ranger met us in the compound and took us inside and up to where they were eating. She told us about their routine and how they can be a little cheeky for new rangers. I felt some air on my neck and turned round to a huge face of a giraffe inches from my face. Thankfully I didn’t scream, just said “oh hello” before giving it a little space.
She took us outside with a bucket full of willow leaves. She called all the giraffes but three of them decided it was far too cold and wouldn’t come, so Jengo was our man. We were given a handful of leaves to feed to him. The long neck of the giraffe curved over the fence and down to my outstretched arm where its tongue would wrap around the leaf and collect them for a munch. Sometimes he’d try and grab my finger, which would not make good food! My friend Emily, who came with me, had a little trouble feeding them as she is 4ft 10in and couldn’t reach high enough without dropping the willow all over her.
We had a good 20 minutes with Jengo as he was taking his time eating, which was great for us to ask some questions. We found out about lots of the other experiences at the Wildlife Park and also about their expansion plans. We all decided we wanted elephants. Please YWP, we need elephants! Eventually we had to go back, but not before washing our hands. When we got back inside all the other giraffes came over to have a nosey at who had just come in. They we’re obviously too into their food when we first came in. One of them craned its neck right over the board to see what we were up to and to say goodbye.
We spent the rest of the morning watching the polar bears play, having a coffee and finally watching all the giraffes come out to play. As we’ve been here many times we don’t tend to go and see every animal but spend it catching up and chatting about anything.
I think I should tell you my top 5 tips for the Yorkshire Wildlife Park:
Arriving just before 10am is the best as you get a car parking space close to the entrance and the animals are a little more lively as human interaction because of the rangers either cleaning or feeding.
Get an annual pass
Many of my friends, who have more than one child, swear by them. The reason: the soft play area. Think about how much money you spend taking your kids there for a year. Does it come in less than £210? If it doesn’t then invest and spend less and get two extra outdoor play areas at YWP! Also the experiences end up being a lot cheaper as you wouldn’t have to pay entrance on top.
One Hotdog can feed the family
Yep, you heard that right. For £17 from ¡Calamba! you can get a hotdog that is the same size as your tray and simply cut it up. It is huge. If not, there are hundreds of picnic benches scattered across the park for your use.
Book tickets online
If you’re a newbie or don’t come very often you can save £1 on every ticket you buy by simply booking them online in advance.
Don’t go with the flow
Everyone seems to go straight to the lions when they come in and a lot of people miss the baboons. Pick up a map and make sure you get everything done. Also schedule to listen to a few talks as they are very interesting and if you’ve got kids, the daily shows are a must!
I hope you fancy a trip now!