YOU can see wild animals from across the world without going further than Doncaster this summer and, thanks to Family Matters, you even get a discount.
If lions and tigers aren’t the kinds of animals you’d expect to see on a South Yorkshire day out, you can’t have been to Yorkshire Wildlife Park.
The attractions here range from incredibly cute to fearsomely fierce, with just about everything you can imagine in between.
I’m not a great fan of zoos where animals are kept in small enclosures but many of these creatures have been rescued and brought here for a fresh start.
The lion enclosure has everything from mini mountains to rivers and a waterfall.
And the more you walk the more lions you come across.
The story of their rescue from a Romanian zoo is displayed for all to see and the lions certainly looked happy enough chilling in Yorkshire sunshine.
Lions spend the vast majority of their time doing nothing more exciting than resting but we were lucky enough to see two of the youngsters spring to life for a bit of rough and tumble.
It is great for children to see these majestic animals up close and there are plenty of boards with interesting facts on the way round.
The latest additions are the tigers and visitors can head along the longest catwalk in the country including views across woodland and wetlands.
The African theme continues with zebras, emus and ostriches which all proved to be big hits.
However, our little group’s favourite was definitely found in Lemur Woods.
You walk right in among this ring-tailed animals as they leap from tree to tree about your head.
A couple clambered down to greet us on the ground and seemed to have no fear of their new found friends.
The kids were thrilled to get so close - or should I say for the lemurs to get so close to them.
And the best thing about the park is the fact you can wander through many of the animal enclosures such as the wallaby walkabout.
My personal favourites were the flamingoes which always look impressive no matter where you are and the kids couldn’t get over just how pink they are, even in real life.”
The meerkats and yellow mongoose were as popular as always and even gave warnings that showers were on their way by diving for cover.
There are plenty of less exotic animals which children can touch and hold when you’ve had enough of trying to pronounce capybara, agouti and marmoset.
One new addition is the forest adventure which has lots of rope swings, walkways and climbing frames for all ages.
There is an outdoor play park for smaller children and indoor slides for all ages.
There are three enormous slides which start with a relatively easy ride for youngsters and end with a vertical drop for braver teenagers.
You can either opt to take a picnic, as long as you follow the warnings not to take food into certain areas, or sample the cafe menu.
Yorkshire Wildlife park is a great walk on the wild side and you feel miles from homes surrounded by tropical friends.
a great walk on the wild side
Address: Yorkshire Wildife Park, Branton near Doncaster, DN4 6TB
Phone: 01302 535057
Price: Adult £12, child £9 and under threes free
Opening times: 10am to 5pm daily
Ages: As long as you like animals, age really doesn’t come into it
Weather warning: The animals are all outside but the slides are great when you need to keep dry
Don’t miss: The lemurs are absolutely brilliant
Top tip: We loved the lions but don’t forget they do spend a lot of time resting!
Next week’s discount voucher: Conisborough Castle and Brodsworth Hall.