Visitors go wild for Christmas special at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

The Christmas Fair at Yorkshire WIldlife Park. Tree decorations sold by Enchanted Earth
The Christmas Fair at Yorkshire WIldlife Park. Tree decorations sold by Enchanted Earth
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The Yorkshire Wildlife Park got festive for a weekend – with thousands of visitors heading to the site for the venue’s Christmas special.

This year the zoo in Branton set up a Christmas fair and slashed its prices for the first event of its kind.

The Christmas Fair at Yorkshire WIldlife Park. Jo Squires from Muffin Tops selling her cakes

The Christmas Fair at Yorkshire WIldlife Park. Jo Squires from Muffin Tops selling her cakes

It meant major traffic queues for some motorists though – with drivers warned at one stage to expect delays of around an hour in Cantley and Branton as around 15,000 visitors queued to get in.

A spokesman for the park said its traditional Christmas celebration was always a festive landmark – but this year was the biggest yet with a feast of attractions for a reduced price, combining the Wildlife Park and the Christmas fair.

The event was bustling with around 80 market stalls and entertainment.

“It was an incredible weekend with a fun Christmas atmosphere,” said YWP events manager Chris White.

The Christmas Fair at Yorkshire WIldlife Park.Fiona Pringle from Enchanted Earth Ltd selling nature-inspired gifts

The Christmas Fair at Yorkshire WIldlife Park.Fiona Pringle from Enchanted Earth Ltd selling nature-inspired gifts

“Our Christmas Fair is now a fixture on the calendar and it is fantastic to share it with our supporters and new visitors.”

Organisers saw it as a chance for the public to snap up unique Christmas presents and get into the yuletide spirit, as well as visit the award winning Wildlife Park.

The fun included a traditional carousel, Victorian swingboats and a giant snowglobe with lots of Christmas food and drink.

There was also a Polar Bear Santa who has taken up residence at the park. He is now taking bookings for later in the month.

A spokesman for the attraction said: “YWP boasts a unique collection of animals including meerkats, giraffes, baboons, lions and of some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered species, including the youngest arrivals, the Amur tiger and Amur leopard cubs.

“The two Amur leopard cubs have recently ventured out into the reserves for the first time with their mother Freya and are a must-see with only 70 of these critically endangered animals now in the wild.

“It is hoped that they will play a part in a vitally important reintroduction programme in their native Russia in the future.”