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Baa! Tweet! Roar! Ten wild places to see animals near York

Askham Bryan Wildlife Park

Whether bonding with a bunny, giggling at goats or ogling an octopus, a family day out involving wildlife is usually a hit with all ages. The good news for animal lovers is that York and the surrounding area are home to several fantastic animal attractions and around that children will love. Here’s our pick of the best.

1. Beetle Bank Farm

Beetle Bank Farm

First up is Beetle Bank Farm, a family-run farm in Murton just outside of York. An animal petter’s paradise, it’s home to a cacophony of cute and cuddly animals that you can hang out with, including pigs, lambs and goats. We’d recommend buying a bag or two of animal feed at the ticket desk so you can serve them up a little snack. We love the petting area where you can hold all sorts of fluffy little critters like bunnies and guinea pigs (be warned: you will be nagged to take one home!). There’s also a new and improved adventure playground, a few indoor activities, cafe and, during the summer, large inflatables. Keep an eye out for regular holiday activities too. Beetle Bank Farm, Moor Ln, Murton, York YO19 5XD – Visit the Beetle Bank Farm website

2. Askham Bryan Wildlife Park

Askham Bryan Wildlife Park Easter

Next on our list is Askham Bryan Wildlife Park, a small wildlife park located just outside of York in the grounds of Askham Bryan College. While it might be pocket-sized, it packs a mighty punch with exotic animals like meerkats, lemurs, and wallabies. You can check out all sorts of scaly creatures like snakes and lizards, and we can’t think of anywhere else local that you can see an armadillo! You’ll get to learn about all sorts of awesome animals and how you can help keep them safe. While you’re there, have a wander around the gorgeous gardens (perfect for a picnic) and don’t miss the play area. The Animal Encounter Experiences are really popular, and there are regular holiday activities too. Askham Bryan Wildlife Park, Askham Bryan, York YO23 3FR – Visit the Askham Bryan Wildlife Park website

3. Piglets Adventure Farm

Piglets Adventure Farm

Winner of Little Vikings Best Family Attraction 2023, Piglets Adventure Farm is a popular family-friendly attraction just a short drive from York. You can ride on a tractor, play in a giant sandpit and explore the adventure playground. Get up close to farmyard friends in the animal barn, with regular petting and feeding sessions during the school holidays and at weekends. You could even stroke the bunnies, guinea pigs and chucks and brush the resident Kune Kune pigs! At the right time of year, you might even get to see and feed newborn lambs. Other reasons to visit Piglets include the indoor play barn – full of fun things to ride on and slide down – the manmade beach during the warmer months, and the magical Santa’s Sleigh Ride at Christmas. Piglets Adventure Farm, Towthorpe Grange, Towthorpe Moor Ln, Towthorpe, York YO32 9ST – Visit the Piglets website

4. Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, why not check out Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster. This place is huge, and it’s packed with amazing animals like tigers, lions, and polar bears. You can also walk through areas with lemurs, wallabies, and other creatures. It’s like being on a safari without booking a flight or packing your passports. The indoor play area is excellent, and there are outdoor adventure playgrounds too. If you fancy staying a little longer, they have a new hotel – Hex – so you can sleep a stone’s throw from the action. Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Hurst Ln, Doncaster DN9 3HQ Visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park website

5. Tropical World

Tropical World Leeds

Tropical World is a popular family-friendly attraction located in Roundhay Park, Leeds, a short drive from York. See and learn about a variety of tropical animals, including butterflies, birds, and reptiles. Explore the underwater world at the aquarium, see the meerkats in the desert house and see what you can spot in the rainforest canopy zone. One of the highlights of Tropical World is its butterfly house where you can spread your wings and see the life cycle from caterpillar to butterfly. Why not combine a trip with a trip to the park? Tropical World, Princes Ave, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 2ER – Visit the Tropical World website

6. The Web Adventure Park

Web Adventure Park York

Famed for its epic indoor and outdoor play areas and brilliant birthday parties, The Web Adventure Park is also a good place for children to get up close and personal with some furry friends. Persuade them away from the slides and swings with the promise of a look at some guinea pigs, ponies, pigs and goats. You can even buy some animal feed to drop into the trough. The Web Adventure Park, Cliftongate Business Park, Wigginton Rd, York YO32 2RH – Visit The Web Adventure Park website

7. The Deep, Hull

the deep hull baby

Down the road in Hull is The Deep, one of the UK’s largest aquariums. Meet the penguins, watch the sharks, see the starfish and have a giggle with the clownfish. It’s a fantastic place to take children of all ages, with excellent displays, interactive activities and regular holiday activities. Pre-booking is essential. The Deep, Tower St, Hull HU1 4DP – Visit The Deep’s website

8. Yorkshire Arboretum

Yorkshire Arboretum squirrel

As well as peacocks, swans and pheasants, head to Yorkshire Arboretum and you might just spot a red squirrel! There’s a brand new red squirrel enclosure where you might just spot one of these beautiful, endangered creatures. Yorkshire Arboretum, Castle Howard, York YO60 7BYVisit the Yorkshire Arboretum website

10. Sheriff Alpacas

Sheriff Alpaca review

Here’s a Yorkshire animal experience with a difference: alpaca walking at Sheriff Alpacas. Book online and enjoy an hour-long stroll with these most gorgeous – and fluffy – of creatures. Sheriff Alpacas, Goodness Farm, Sheriff Hutton Rd, Strensall, York YO32 5TP – Visit the Sheriff Alpacas website

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