By Julia Stelfox

Got an animal lover in the family and looking for a fun day out?

Check out our guide to the best places – all within an hour by car from Huddersfield – to see everything from clownfish and llamas to big cats and meerkats.

Whether you fancy the excitement of a 'walking safari', or a stroll around a tranquil topical oasis, we've got indoor and outdoor ideas so you can enjoy a day out whatever the weather.

Here are 10 fantastic places to take your animal-kids:

Stirley Community Farm

Berry Brow, Huddersfield

Open Day at Stirley Hill Community Farm. Jack (left) and Tom Fishpool with chickens at the farm.

The 240-acre Stirley Community Farm, once the site of a derelict farm, is now home to a growing herd of beef shorthorn cattle, food-growing training gardens, a small orchard, beehives and more. The Farm is open to visitors on the first Sunday of every month from 10am to 1pm, and free to enter, however, there are also public footpaths within farm land allowing visitors to explore the area seven days a week. Visit

Manor Heath Park and Jungle Experience


The Jungle Experience at Manor Heath Park, Halifax
The Jungle Experience at Manor Heath Park, Halifax

An award winning site, the park occupies the site of a former Victorian manor house, demolished in 1958 after falling into disrepair. In it’s place is now a sunken garden, just one of many attractive features of this 19-acre park.
The Jungle Experience provides a venue a little more tropical than normally found in West Yorkshire with temperatures hovering around a pleasant 21 C. The Time Zone section features prehistoric plants from the age of the dinosaurs; the Savage Garden has carnivorous plants; and Butterfly World showcases as many as five different species in free flight, varying season to season. The Lily Pond, towards the back of the Jungle Experience, has a host of terrapins. And scuttling around everywhere are tiny Chinese quail. Open seven days a week between 10am and 4pm, the cost is £1, with under fives free.

Cannon Hall Farm

Cawthorne, Barnsley

Cannon Hall Farm visitors see newborn lambs

This family-run farm has grown into a major attraction, offering the chance to meet animals of every description. There are pigs, llamas, ferrets, sheep, rare breed chickens and much more. If you’re lucky there may be some lambs and piglets as the farm produces nearly 2000 young every year! With tractor rides and adventure playgrounds there’s plenty to entertain the whole family.Parents who feel up to explaining the food chain can take children for a meal in the restaurant or buy home-raised beef, pork and lamb products from the farm shop. Open every day in the summer from 10.30am until 5pm. Ticket prices are from £5.50 individually or £22 for a weekday family pass (four people) or £30 at weekends. Visit:



A boa constrictor at Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre

The Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic centre was originally started in 1991 with the intention of bridging the gap between disabled and able bodied people, through working with plants and on the land. Since then, not only has the plant life taken off but the rare breeds farm has grown, with animals ranging from pigs and donkeys to llamas, birds of prey, exotic reptiles and many more.
A visitors centre, veranda and refreshment area provide spaces to relax and enjoy the magnificent views of the lake and surrounding countryside.
Summer opening times start from March to November, seven days a week from 10am to 5pm and prices for an adult are £5.50, for children its £5.00.

Roundhay Park and Tropical World


Meerkats at Tropical World, Roundhay Park
Meerkats at Tropical World, Roundhay Park

Roundhay Park covers over 700 acres of parkland, lakes and woodland and is one of the largest urban parks in the world. It features national plant collections in specialised gardens and Tropical World, home to both plants and animals.
In addition to the gulls and geese often found feeding by the lake side, visitors can also meet mute swans, whooper swans, herons, great crested grebes, common warblers and woodpeckers.
Tropical World itself has between 30 and 40 varieties of butterfly, turtles and terrapins, Koi carp, lizards; South American degus in Creature Corner and the ever-popular meerkats in the Desert House.
Roundhay Park is free to access and open all year round. Tropical world is open from 10am to 6pm in Summer and costs £5.00 for adults and £2.50 for children. Visit

Leeds Donkey Sanctuary

Eccup, Leeds

Leeds Donkey Sanctuary
Leeds Donkey Sanctuary

Situated just outside the city, Leeds Donkey Sanctuary is part of a nationwide organisation that aims to transform the quality of life for donkeys, mules and people across the globe. It was founded as a charity in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen MBE and now has many branches. In Leeds there are regular centre events, volunteer opportunities and donkey adoptions available for members of the public. The centre is open seven days a week from 10am to 3pm. There is no charge for entry, however all donations are welcome. Visit

Harewood House and Bird Garden


Feed penguins at Harewood House
Feed penguins at Harewood House

Seven miles north of Leeds, Harewood House was built in the 18th century to replace the earlier medieval mansion, traces of which can still be seen in the grounds. Inside the house there is an impressive art collection, and if you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, the basement explores the working lives of the servants. The estate has a Bird Garden, home to over 30 varieties of birds from around the world, including the rare Bali starling and the ever popular Humboldt penguins, whose feeding time often draws a crowd. Whether it’s the familiar owls or the vibrantly coloured flamingoes, there’s something for bird fanciers of all ages. The all-inclusive Freedom ticket costs £16.50 for adults and £8.50 for children. The house and grounds are open between 10am - 6pm, 7 days a week. Visit

Temple Newsam Farm

East of Leeds

Cow at Temple Newsam Farm
Cow at Temple Newsam Farm

Temple Newsam is a Tudor-Jacobean house with grounds landscaped by Capability Brown and has a working home farm that provides children with the opportunity to see rare breed chickens, cattle, goats and sheep, all in a beautiful setting. Summer opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am - 5pm (and Mondays during school holidays). Admission is £2.30 for children and £3.60 for adults. There is a wide range of facilities, a tea room and the neighbouring house, which can be visited for an extra charge. Visit

Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Near Branton, Doncaster

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With nearly 400 animals and 70 different species, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park provides a fantastic walkthrough wildlife adventure. Most of the animals at the park are either endangered or threatened and this park works closely with animal charities to help the conservation of endangered species both in the wild and in captivity. Opened in 2009, the park offers the chance to interact with the animals; although visitors feed lemurs rather than lions! Regular talks are held throughout the day. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is open between 10am to 6pm from March to October. Adult tickets are £16.50, for children £13.50. Visit

Tropical Butterfly House

North Anston, Sheffield

Tropical Butterfly House, North Anston
Tropical Butterfly House, North Anston

The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre offers visitors an opportunity to meet meerkats, owls, otters, snakes and other amazing animals in shows that allow interaction with visitors. There are a number of other facilities to occupy the active child – a Realm of Camelot adventure playground, indoor activity and craft centre, and Dinosaur Trail. Opening times are Monday to Friday between 10am and 4.30pm, weekends 10am to 5.30pm. Ticket prices are £9.75 for adults and £8.50 for children. Visit