If you couldn’t get enough of South Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park, then you’re in luck – because it’s set to double in size thanks to a whopping cash injection of £15m. Teaming up with investment firm BGF (who are responsible for the £15m investment) and Lloyds Bank, who’ll be providing an £18m debt facility, Yorkshire Wildlife Park aims to massively increase the size of its park – increasing current visitor numbers from 750,000 per year, to approximately 1.5m.
The park size is expected to double, with new leisure facilities planned to continue attracting visitors – both old and new alike. The park is currently home to 450 animals, and with continued growth, could one day rival hugely successful attractions such as Chester Zoo – which currently houses around 35,000 animals.
A spokesman said of the investment: “At the new entrance to the park, there will also be a new and free to enter boutique leisure destination, expected to attract its own local audience as well as providing unique facilities for the day visitors to the Wildlife Park”.
“Over the bank holiday weekend, the Park welcomed visitors to new attractions, such as the Himalayan Pass and Experience Ethiopia, which opened last month. People can now view hyenas, red pandas, and smooth-coated otters at the attraction.”
Adding: “Despite the well-documented challenges facing the business and wider sector, BGF has supported the park and enabled the expansion development to continue.”
Barry Jackson, investor at BGF, added: “Over the last eleven years, YWP has earned an international reputation for conservation, animal welfare and high-quality visitor experiences.
“John and the team have an ambitious and clear strategy for growth, and we’re delighted to be supporting the business as it expands its facilities to be able to rescue more animals and allow more visitors to be educated and inspired by its conservation efforts.”
Yorkshire Wildlife Park recently announced the exciting news that they’d be welcoming the first polar bear to be born in the UK in half a century to the park, with other new additions including rare red pandas, otters and monkeys.