Walk on the wild side: Six of the best places to visit for an animal experience

Feed the giraffes at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Picture Scott Merrylees

Feed the giraffes at Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Picture Scott Merrylees

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FOR animal-lovers and adrenaline junkies, there’s plenty of places to indulge in your wild side and come face to face with creatures great and small in Yorkshire.

Here’s our picks.

Children get the chance to handle cockroaches in the junior experience at The Deep, Hull.

Children get the chance to handle cockroaches in the junior experience at The Deep, Hull.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster.

There are already a host of different behind the scenes experiences at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, and there are plans to bring in even more.

Each are limited to make the them all the more exclusive, and the Polar Bear Experience, which is £300 for two people, is held just once a week for small numbers.

Kids from 10 to 15 can become Junior Rangers, cleaning enclosures and feeding animals like the lemurs for £95. An adult experience is also available. Mini experiences are available with meerkats, giraffes and baboons for £25, but those wishing to get the full experience can opt for the VIP package to spend two hours with lions, tigers, meerkats, mongoose or African Painted Dogs for £150 for two people.

Get up close and personal with the lemurs at Flamingoland.

Get up close and personal with the lemurs at Flamingoland.

For more information visit www.yorkshirewildlifepark.com and see how Yorkshire Post reporter Lindsay Pantry got on behind the scenes at the Doncaster park here.

The Deep, Hull.

With more than 3.500 fish, sharks, rays and even penguins, there’s plenty to see at The Deep, but for those wishing to delve even deeper there’s a range of experiences - and you can even arrange your an underwater marriage proposal!

The one-to-one experience includes cleaning the tanks, handling inhabitants of the Discovery Centre and feeding some of the animals for £75 or two people or £125. You can ever try on dive kit, but it doesn’t include diving in the tanks. A junior experience for children aged 8 to 11 is £29.95.

Take an alpaca for a walk in the Hambleton Hillls with Beacon Alpacas

Take an alpaca for a walk in the Hambleton Hillls with Beacon Alpacas

For those wishing to hear wedding bells. a proposal during the daily dive show, including a bottle of sparkling wine and cuddly penguin toy, is £50.

Find out more, plus the dates of junior experiences at www.thedeep.co.uk

Flamingo Land, Malton, North Yorkshire.

From becoming a zookeeper for the day, an animal trainer or an encounter with anything from a lemur to sea lion, Flamingo Land offers a wide range of animal experiences.

As a zoo keeper, you’ll help prepare feed and enrichment devices and learn how to look after some of the park’s rare and exotic creatures. It lasts a full day and costs £175.

Weathering the Cold:  Have a close encounter with a Humboldt Penguin at Sewerby Hall and Gardens. Picture: Simon Kench

Weathering the Cold: Have a close encounter with a Humboldt Penguin at Sewerby Hall and Gardens. Picture: Simon Kench

If your love of animals have seen you consider a career change, an animal trainer day will take you behind the scenes of Flamingo Land’s bird and sea lion displays, for £200.

For more information visit www.flamingoland.co.uk

Beacon Alpacas, Husthwaite, North Yorkshire.

A great option for a group, Beacon Alpacas offers walks of around 45 minutes with up to four alpacas.

Find out more about where the animals are from, what they eat, and what their fleeces are used for. The farm is in the Hambleton Hills and on a clear day you can see the White Horse at Kilburn and the Vale of York during the walks.

Youngsters who can walk a mile are welcome, but only those over the age of ten can lead an alpaca. Prices start at £45 for up to four people with two alpacas, to £65 for four to eight people with four alpacas.

For more information visit www.beaconalpacas.co.uk

Sewerby Hall and Gardens, Bridlington, East Riding.

There are lots of animal experiences on offer at Tropical Butterfly House, Sheffield

There are lots of animal experiences on offer at Tropical Butterfly House, Sheffield

Have a close encounter with a Humboldt penguins at Sewerby Hall’s zoo.

Waterproof clothing and footwear is a must as you help prepare the penguin’s food before hand feeding them. It costs £35 for two people and is suitable for over 10s.

The price includes a certificate, Adventurer’s Guide, and pen and key ring.

Visit www.sewerbyhall.co.uk for details.

The Tropical Butterfly House, Sheffield

From meeting an exotic hedgehog-like tenrec, to becoming a junior keeper for the day, Sheffield’s Tropical Butterfly House offers a range of VIP animal experiences starting at £30.

The Meerkat Mayhem package includes feeding the troops and meeting the two African Crested Porcupines who share their enclosure.

The junior keeper experience gives children from 8 to 13 the chance to clean out and feed multiple species, including lemurs and marmoset monkeys; while the adult package, at £100, can be tailored around your favourite animal.

For more information visit www.butterflyhouse.co.uk

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