We’ve come to Yorkshire Wildlife Park, all because Mrs Cook wants to go somewhere warm this year on holiday like Kenya and being a bit of a cheap git, I’ve mocked up this austerity version of seeing the ‘Big 5’ instead by going to the zoo.

Not sure what to see exotic in the wilds of Yorkshire, probably lots of whippets and flat caps, but also heard rumours of Polar Bears. It’s certainly cold enough and windy enough to make you think its the Arctic, bearing in mind we’ve actually been to the Arctic Circle.

I can only remember going to a zoo twice, once as a kid we went to Windsor Safari Park where Dad ran into the Rhino enclosure to rescue a kid who wandered in and the rhino was taking his run up to charge. This was eons ago, we didn’t have Health & Safety back then and we didn’t have social media, we did have an 8mm cinefilm camera with us but we were too busy thinking about the impending apex predator apocalypse rhino carnage that was about to spear Dad instead of filming it. He’d be a social media star if we had mobile phones back then.

It’s clear though that some things never change. Let me tell you now, the zoo paradox is still remains. Yorkshire Wildlife Park likes it space. Fenced off from the fuzzy faces by a least a lightyear, the MK1 human eyeball lacks the optical clarity to see what you’re looking at. To counteract this, I’ve brought a zoom lens with me. Which really doesn’t help on a windy day like today when its 3 degrees. I’m zoomed in so far in an effort to see the faces of the furry creatures that I’m getting motion sickness from all the shaking while looking through the bloody thing.

Even then, these animals are then smart enough to look away when I’m trying to take a photo. Some are so shy or shivering so much from the cold, they decided to stay inside although a rhino did pop outside to take a dump. Lovely stuff.

Tiger Yorkshire Wildlife Park

The main attraction at Yorkshire Wildlife park are the Polar Bears. I’ve imagined they were cocooned in an unfeasibly small space, that’s not quite the case but its hardly the miles for an animal that is supposed to wander a rapidly declining frozen ice shelf in the arctic. Granted, due to climate change, that ice shelf is getting smaller but not as small enough as this enclosure for a bloody polar bear in Britain. What quite they think of warmer weather or the 3mm of snow we get every 5 years (enough fore the country to grind to a halt) god only knows.

Baboons. Those monkeys are smart as shit. Especially these ones with the bright red arses, which now incidentally match my face from the frostbite I have received form this freezing day. It’s these bloody baboons as a kid that knew exactly how to wind your Dad up as a kid, climbing all over the car chewing windscreen wipers and stealing wheel nuts. I always have a feeling that the monkeys are are judging us, looking right through me into my very soul (good luck with that, I don’t have one) and one day the’ll rise up against and rule us. In the mean time, they’re happy with the entertainment provided of a rope swing and some old tyres and the endless supply of free bananas.

Polar Bears at Yorkshire Wildlife Park

I can’t decide if I’m in favour of zoos, but as current custodians of this planet, we humans destroy the planet with unprecedented barbarity so perhaps there is a need for zoos. I much prefer animals over humans, in fact, humans are my least favourite kind of animal, perhaps it’s us who should be in zoos. I’d be my own separate species, misanthropist maximus.

Enjoy the video. the first 10 seconds are pure cinematography…. Werner Herzog, call me now.


Nick Cook. Amateur astronomer, space, history, nerd, extreme dog walker, cat slave, severe tinnitus sufferer. 13.7 billion years in the making - not that much better for it.


  1. Love it Nick, Mrs Cook imitating the monkey in the gift shop made me laugh. I do like wildlife parks and zoos as they have animals we’d never see otherwise but like you I also have my reservations about them.

    • In all honesty I’ve not done enough zoos, I need to try one with a drive through safari – West Midlands zoo here we come!

  2. jasonlikestotravel Reply

    Another amusing read, particularly chuckled at the suggestion we should be in zoos instead.

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