Yorkshire Wildlife Park has re-opened with a big splash from polar bears Nissan and Pixel who showed off their diving skills to delighted visitors.
The award-winning park is making the most of its 150 acres and five kilometres of paths to make sure guests can enjoy the unique surroundings safely.
The playful polar bears relished cooling off in their 8-metre deep lakes as temperatures soared and the park welcomed visitors after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
“It’s great to see the polar bears having such a fun time – they seem as if they are really pleased to see the visitors back again. They’ve been keeping cool diving in and splashing around in the water – having a great time,” said Matt Hartley, Head of Animals at the park at Branton, near Doncaster.
“Since the park reopened last week, they have definitely been a visitor favourite. The Polar Reserve is a great setting and the lakes and caves are perfect for them to chill on hot days like this in an environment which mimics their natural habitat in the summer Arctic. Children especially love to see the bears diving in the lake.”
Nissan, 6, showed 7-year-old Pixel the way to have fun in sun, spraying water all around as his 70-stone frame plunged in. Yorkshire Wildlife Park is home to five polar bears. The latest arrival is Rasputin who arrived in early February.
But they weren’t the only ones among the park’s animals soaking up the rays. The meerkats indulged in some sunbathing while the warty-hogs – a critically endangered species from the Philippines – spent their time dozing in the sun or wallowing in the mud.
A male lion announced his presence to visitors with a full roar but was soon joining the others, such as Amur tigers, zebras and lechwe antelopes chilling in the shade.
Work behind the scenes at the 150-acre walkthrough park has been as busy as always and the giraffe demonstrating that feeding time is important no matter the weather or restrictions.
The re-opened park has introduced wide-ranging safety precautions including restrictions on visitor numbers, controlled time slots for visits, clear social distance marking and increased cleaning procedures. Extra space and two new reserves have also been opened up.
“It is great to see visitors back in the park again after so long. We know that the experience will be a little different to what we can normally offer due to some of the Government restrictions but what people really come to see here are our amazing animals and they are definitely here and waiting,” said park CEO John Minion.
“The main area of the park is 150 acres with 5km of paths so this first week of opening has been a great opportunity to have a walk out in the fresh air and for most people, they have appreciated a very different view from the past ten – eleven weeks.
“We are really looking forward to being able to reopen all of the outdoor play areas and cafes next month, then we can start getting back to almost normal. The play areas and cafes add a great extra dimension to a day out at the park and will improve the visitor experience.”
To ensure that Government guidelines and social distancing is adhered to at the park, there will be restrictions on the number of visitors. Therefore, you will need to book all tickets online.