Enchanted elves and a polar bear Santa help the Yorkshire Wildlife Park go animal crackers this Christmas

Photo courtesy Yorkshire Wildlife Park
Photo courtesy Yorkshire Wildlife Park

A sparkling Christmas, full of magic for all the family, is being unwrapped at the award-winning Yorkshire Wildlife Park.

The finishing touches are being put to a full package of events including the park’s legendary Christmas Fairs which will take place over the weekends of December 8/9 and 15/16.

The 100-acre park will be enchanted by Christmas elves, Polar Bear Santa and festive characters spreading goodwill during special walkabout appearances.

Meanwhile, visitors can enjoy sumptuous seasonal food and pick up Christmas presents from more than 90 stalls, overflowing with arts, crafts and gifts in a  fully-heated marquee.

Father Christmas will be at Santa’s Grotto on all four days of the Fairs and Victorian fairground amusements will add extra sparkle to the season.

There will also be live entertainment all day on a stage in the courtyard with a magician, brass bands and singers performing Christmas song.

“The Fairs are always amazing weekends for all the family to enjoy at the park. There will be beautiful stalls selling festive crafts, food, entertainment and the chance to see some of the world’s most endangered and beautiful animals while enjoying the Christmas spirit on offer,” said Chris White, Events Manager, at the park at Branton, near Doncaster.

“We will be hosting a range of events for everyone to enjoy leading up to Christmas, ranging from days’ out to festive works parties. All our Christmas events are always popular so book early to make sure you can have a fantastic day or night at the park.”

Santa’s Grotto visits are by pre-booked ticket only and children will get to meet the park’s elves, Polar Bear Santa and Father Christmas as well as receiving a toy.

On Christmas Fair mornings, the Safari Cafe will be serving a mouth-watering Breakfast with Santa festive buffet and Santa himself will be appearing, bringing a gift for every child.

Visitors will be welcomed by YWP’s favourite mascot, Victor the Polar Bear, and warm themselves up with a delicious winter-spiced punch.

Families can watch Victor the Polar Bear in an enchanting and magical panto comedy show, Victor’s Christmas Adventure, on various times throughout fair days.

The ultimate feel good Christmas show boasts stunning scenery and costumes, with the opportunity for children to meet Victor afterwards.

Throughout the run up to Xmas a series of glittering Party Nights will keep the festive spirits going with an award-winning entertainer hosting during dinner and then DJing spinning hits to fill the dance floor till 1am in a glittering safari-themed marquee.

Party Nights will include magnificent three course buffets with live cooking stations and an all-inclusive choice from twenty hand-prepared dishes from talented chefs producing festive flavours, inspired by global cuisine, at the park’s dining facilities.

YWP is the UK’s No. 1 walkthrough wildlife adventure, offering visitors the unique experience of coming almost face to face with some of the world’s more rare and beautiful species, including Ring-tailed Lemurs, Bactrian Camels, Painted Dogs and four Polar Bears.

This will be the first Christmas that the rescued Ussuri brown bears will be spending at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, following their 5,400 miles journey from Japan earlier this year.

“This Christmas is very special for the park as it's the first one that the bears will be spending with us. It’s great that our visitors will be able to see them over the festive period,” added Chris.

YWP, which puts conservation at the heart of all its activities, is the UK’s fastest growing wildlife attraction. 

Santa’s Grotto, located with YWP, is £6 per child, with every child receiving a special gift.  

Tickets have to be pre-booked. Visitors also need to buy a valid park or fair admission ticket or hold a valid Annual Pass. 

Party Nights run on 8th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 20th December, from £39.95 per person.

Bookings accepted for groups of 8 or more.  Further dates and exclusive bookings available on request for parties of 80 or more.

A special Christmas lunch menu is on offer at the Safari Café (booking required).

This is available for groups of 4 – 24 people and does not require park entry tickets.

On Christmas Fair days, the wildlife park and market will be open at 10am and close at 5.30pm.