Site logo

Review – A Mini Encounter with armadillos at Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park

Askham Bryan Wildlife Park

Are your kids wild about animals? Then Askham Bryan Wildlife Park is just the place. Long gone are the days when you had to travel for an hour from York to see anything more exotic than a fluffy lamb. Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park, on the site of Askham Bryan College, is just ten minutes’ drive from York city centre and we love it. We’ve visited many times for a look at the animals, but we visited to try one of their Mini Encounters for the first time. Here’s what to expect.

Askham bryan wildlife

About the Mini Encounters – Mini Encounters are just one of the animal experiences on offer at Askham Bryan. Just 15 minutes long, they’re a great chance to get close up to one of the resident creatures and learn all about them from a knowledgeable keeper. If you’d prefer to stay a little longer, the full animal encounter is an hour long and is available for up to four people. Children need to be aged 7 or over, and must be accompanied by an adult. The Mini Encounters are £20 for two people.

askham bryan wildlife park

Who you can meet – So you’ve decided you’d like to do a Mini Encounter? Now for the big decision: who would you like to meet? Choose from reptiles, meerkats, goats, sulcata tortoises or – the one we picked, and the most popular – armadillos! There’s something adorable about armadillos, so we couldn’t resist the opportunity to see them in their home. It’s worth thinking about the sort of animals your children are keen on, and also what environment they’re comfortable in. If they aren’t keen on the dark, for example, they’re unlikely to enjoy the cave-like environment of the armadillo’s home and might be better outside with the tortoises.

Askham bryan wildlife

Behind the scenes – Our mini encounter started outside the armadillo enclosure, where we met one of the keepers, Becky. Becky took us through to the back rooms and showed us some of the creatures they keep behind-the-scenes, from giant snails to scaly reptiles. It was a really interesting glimpse into how things run and to hear more about what goes into caring for such an array of creatures all year round. 

Askham Bryan Wildlife Park

Introducing the armadillos – Armed with a little torch in case we needed it, Becky then took us through to the dark, desert-like environment of the armadillos’ home. That’s where we met Hansel and Gretel, the cutest couple in the whole of the armadillo family (probably). They scooted about our feet while Becky told us all about them: their habits, their history (they’ve had six sets of twins!) and their personalities. It was absolutely fascinating and a real treat to meet them, and even to feed them their lunch (butternut squash and mealworms – delicious!). It’s a short but sweet experience that we’ll always remember. 

Askham Bryan Wildlife and Conservation Park

A trip around the park – After our encounter, we were free to explore the park and see all the other animals. We watched the otters being fed, saw the meerkats going about their business, attempted a chat with the kookaburra, marvelled at the size of the giant tortoises, had a play in the play area and much more. Set within an arboretum, it’s a beautiful place to spend time with loads of things to see. 

Askham Bryan Wildlife Park

The verdict – We loved our Mini Encounter with the armadillos, and our kids now want to do one with the meerkats and goats. It’s a brilliant way to learn about the animals and do something a bit different, too.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter


The best of York and beyond for families, Straight to your inbox every week.

Subscribe now