South Yorkshire attraction is simply grrrrrrrreat!

Ceasar, one of the rescued Romanian lions after being let out at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire. The lions were rescued by Yorkshire Wildlife Park from run-down Romanian zoo, Oradea Zoo, in February 2010. When rescued they were underweight and were kept in appalling 3m x 5m cages with only bare concrete to sleep on. Now they have the privilege to roam in the fresh air of their huge lion reserve in the Yorkshire countryside. (Jonathan Pow / Ross Parry Agency)
Ceasar, one of the rescued Romanian lions after being let out at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire. The lions were rescued by Yorkshire Wildlife Park from run-down Romanian zoo, Oradea Zoo, in February 2010. When rescued they were underweight and were kept in appalling 3m x 5m cages with only bare concrete to sleep on. Now they have the privilege to roam in the fresh air of their huge lion reserve in the Yorkshire countryside. (Jonathan Pow / Ross Parry Agency)
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Just more than three years since it opened, a Doncaster tourist attraction has been voted the best in Yorkshire.

Staff at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Branton, are celebrating today after the public voted it Yorkshire’s Most Magnificent Attraction, beating last year’s winner, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and more than 100 other popular venues in the county.

More than 5,500 people voted for their favourite Yorkshire venue at www.yorkshireattractions.org - with YWP beating the sculpture park into second place.

Deborah Hindley, Yorkshire’s Magnificent Attractions chairman, said: “We’re delighted with the phenomenal response we’ve had from the public during voting.

“YWP’s success in coming out on top in the poll is testament to its continuing dedication to offering the public one of the best and wildest days out in Yorkshire.

“The top venues are truly reflective of the range of high-class attractions available to people living in or visiting Yorkshire.

“Many have made significant investments in developments to further improve their offering to visitors, and Yorkshire really can count itself lucky to have such a variety and volume of superb visitor attractions on its doorstep.”

Cheryl Williams, YWP director, said “We are delighted to have been voted Yorkshire’s Most Magnificent Attraction - this award means so much because it is decided by visitors.

“We opened YWP in April 2009 with specific goals – to become a dynamic conservation centre, working with communities at home and around the world to help save habitats and wildlife, and to provide our visitors with a unique experience.

“The biggest compliment from them is they keep coming back and have voted us winners of this special award. That recognition is indescribable.

“We are determined to retain the title next year. We are planning a number of exciting developments in the next year, including the arrival this month of giraffes – so the competition had better watch out!”

YWP is Yorkshire’s fastest growing tourist attraction, and is also celebrating record visitor numbers.

Despite the wet summer and the lure of the Olympics on TV, 2012 visitors to YWP are up an average of 10 per cent over 2011 – with 307,770 visitors by this week.

The park, which only opened in April 2009, attracted 323,000 guests in 2011, compared to 66,000 in the first year, delivering a £3.4 million boost to Yorkshire tourism.