The HighlandsRegions of Scotland

Highland Wildlife Park Visitor Guide

Located in the Cairngorms area of the Scottish Highlands, the Highland Wildlife Park showcases many of the animal species found in the mountains and wilderness areas of Scotland and elsewhere in the world. The park allows visitors to drive through wildlife enclosures that mimic the wildest places on earth as well as enjoy family-friendly attractions inside a large walk-around visitor centre.

Highland Wildlife Park
PH21 1NL
Opening Hours:April – October 10 am to 5 pm
July – August 10 am to 6 pm
November – March 10 am to 4 pm
Admission Price:Adult: £18.50
Child (3-15): £13.50
Child (under 3): Free
Concession: £14
Parking:Free car park on-site
Contact:01540 651270
Facilities:Cafe, food kiosks, gift shop, toilets, baby changing, disabled access, picnic area


Sitting in 260 acres of beautifully managed parkland in the Cairngorms, the Highland Wildlife Park showcases some of the wildlife that can be found in the mountains and wilderness areas of Scotland, as well as several animals that are currently endangered in mountainous regions all over the world. Visitors will have the chance to view wild animals like wolves, elk, bison, tigers and even polar bears in enclosures that replicate their natural habitats.

Starting in the main reserve you’ll drive through the various sections of the park in a Highland safari before heading out into the walk-around areas to view animals in more ‘zoo-like’ pens. This dual aspect of seeing the animals is far more interesting than the standard enclosures you experience at other zoos.

The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has been working to promote public awareness of the need for animal conservation since they were established in 1909. Just like Edinburgh Zoo, they’ve done a fantastic job of presenting the animals in a way that’s both interesting and educational, with conservation an ongoing theme throughout the park.

The Highland Wildlife Park is regarded as one of the premier tourist attractions in the Scottish Highlands, and with good reason. It offers a great family day out that’s different to a normal zoo yet it has a range of animals that’s just as diverse.

Highland Wildlife Park

The Highlights

1: The Highland Wildlife Park is one of the few places where you can see polar bears up close. These incredible animals and worth the price of admission alone.

2: There are lots of animals to view on the safari as well as in the indoor areas. Both parts of the Highland Wildlife Park can be enjoyed no matter the weather – making this attraction a good destination in winter.

3: The visitor facilities are excellent with more cuddly polar bear gift shops and sticky sweet shops than your kids will be able to handle.

Visiting Tips

1: If you visit at the weekend it’s a good idea to save time at the entrance by buying your tickets in advance online. There are far fewer visitors midweek so it should be ok to buy your tickets at the gate from Monday to Friday.

2: The park holds keeper talks about the various animals throughout the day. I found it useful to check the park’s website on my phone to see which talks were coming up next.

3: If you’d like to explore the Highlands after a visit to the Highland Wildlife Park I recommend driving north a few miles and visiting Loch Morlich and Cairngorm Mountain.

Highland Wildlife Park

Tourist Information

Because the park is affiliated with Edinburgh Zoo it looks after several species that are on the endangered list, and the Highland Wildlife Park aims to safeguard the future of these animals as well as provide entertainment for visitors.

The enclosures have been specifically designed to replicate the habitats that exist in the wild and you can expect to see both tundra and mountain regions as you drive and walk around the attraction.

The highlight of any visit has to be seeing the polar bears roaming about their enclosure. Huge in size, these animals are a truly impressive sight and if you manage to time your visit right you might be lucky enough to watch them being fed. Incidentally, these are the only captive polar bears in the UK, so if you’ve never seen one in real life, the Highland Wildlife Park is the only place that will allow you to view these amazing animals up close.

The other prime attraction is the Amur tigers (otherwise known as Siberian tigers) that live near the polar bears. While these big cats aren’t as large as the bears they’re equally impressive which is probably why there was a near-constant crowd around them when I visited. The breeding pair has successfully raised one litter which is great news seeing as there are only 450 left in the wild, so let’s hope they manage to raise more cubs in the future.

Highland Wildlife Park

The drive through the main reserve on the safari doesn’t take long (only around 30 minutes) but you can stop to take photos as much as you like depending on the queue of traffic in front, and you’ll more than likely get some great shots of the bison, elk, and deer that live in the open enclosures.

After you’ve parked the car, you’ll find the walk-around area is about the same size as the safari but you’ll spend more time in there as it’s the section of the park where the majority of the animals are kept.

You’ll have lots of animal-spotting opportunities as you walk along the paths and there are regular keeper talks and shows throughout the day so you can get an expert’s view of what it’s like looking after these magnificent animals.

The facilities are pretty good although not quite in the same class as Edinburgh Zoo, but even so, there are gift and souvenir shops, coffee shops (with a selection of delicious cakes), and ice cream kiosks so the family can have a good munch before heading home.

It’s not just the wildlife park that draws thousands of visitors to this part of Scotland though, as it’s located in one of the most scenic regions of the country. The Cairngorms is an area of outstanding natural beauty that offers a huge number of activities to tourists and there are enough walking trails to keep you busy for days on end.

In fact, after a day at Highland Wildlife Park, you might be inspired to take a detour onto the back roads and look for some Highland wildlife yourself.

Highland Wildlife Park

Things to Do

Experience the Drive-through Safari: The park offers a unique drive-through safari that allows you to watch animals like bison, red deer, and elk from the comfort of your own vehicle. This immersive experience brings you closer to the animals while ensuring their natural behaviour isn’t disturbed.

See Rare Species: The Highland Wildlife Park is home to a variety of rare and endangered animals, from the majestic Amur Tigers to the elusive Scottish Wildcats. You’ll be able to learn about their behaviours, habitats, and the conservation efforts undertaken to protect these animals.

Meet the Polar Bears: One of the park’s biggest attractions is its polar bears. Witness these enormous creatures in a specially designed habitat simulating their Arctic environment and watch them play, swim, and interact with their surroundings.

Participate in Keeper Talks: The Highland Wildlife Park offers the opportunity for visitors to witness feeding times for some of its animals with commentaries by their keepers. This is a rare chance to see the animals at their most active and learn about their dietary habits directly from the experts who look after them.

Explore the Area: This part of Scotland is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Wander through the native woodlands, breathe in the fresh Highland air, and enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. It’s an ideal way to relax and connect with nature.

The Highland Wildlife Park

Things to Do Nearby

Highland Folk Museum. Aultlarie Croft, Kingussie Rd, Newtonmore PH20 1AY. 16-minute drive.
An open-air museum that displays a collection of Highland artefacts inside traditional buildings including a Hebridean blackhouse, a 1930s working farm and a 1700s Highland township.

Wildcat Centre Trail. Main St, Newtonmore PH20 1DD. 12-minute drive.
10 km orbital path through the Cairngorms around the village of Newtonmore. The waymarked gravel footpath passes through open moorland, woodland, rivers, mountains, waterfalls and a river gorge.

Invereshie and Inshriach Nature Reserve. Kingussie PH21 1NH. 15-minute drive.
An expansive national nature reserve in the Cairngorms that features areas of pine woodland and heather moorland. There are footpaths throughout the reserve that are suitable for walking and cycling.

Zip Trek Adventure Park. Alvie Estate, Aviemore PH21 1NE. 9-minute drive.
Visitors can enjoy 14 treetop zip lines through the Scottish Highlands along a 2 km course. 2 runs are available – one guided and one unguided where each person is permanently connected to a safety system.

Ruthven Barracks. Kingussie PH21 1ES. 10-minute drive.
Ruined 18th-century fortress set on a hilltop that was used by Jacobite forces after their defeat at Culloden in 1745. Access is via a short footpath from the B970.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get to Highland Wildlife Park?

Highland Wildlife Park is 7 miles south of Aviemore. Travelling north on the A9 (Inverness), turn off for Kingussie / Kincraig, and follow the B9152 north.
Travelling south on the A9 (Perth), turn off south of Aviemore for Kincraig and follow the B9152 through Kincraig to the Park.
Address: Kincraig, Kingussie, PH21 1NL.

How long does it take to go around Highland Wildlife Park?

Driving around the Highland Wildlife Park animal safari takes around 30 minutes depending on how many times you stop to view the animals. Walking around the enclosures inside the park takes around 2 hours, excluding time for food in the restaurant and visiting the gift shop.

How many polar bears are at Highland Wildlife Park?

There are currently three polar bears at Highland Wildlife Park – Walker, Arktos, and Victoria.
Arktos (male) was born in 2007 and Walker (male) was born in 2008. Victoria (the only female polar bear in the UK) was born in 1996.
Polar bears can live up to 30 years in captivity.

Do you drive around Highland Wildlife Park?

There is a safari area of Highland Wildlife Park that visitors can drive around to view the animals in their purpose-built enclosures. The remainder of the park is accessible on foot.

Craig Neil

Craig Neil is the author, photographer, admin, and pretty much everything else behind Out About Scotland. He lives near Edinburgh and spends his free time exploring Scotland and writing about his experiences. Follow him on Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube.