The Out About Scotland complete guide to The Highland Wildlife Park
What’s this attraction all about?
Sitting in around 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 species that are currently endangered in mountainous regions all over the world.
Visitors get the chance to view wild animals like wolves, elk, bison, tigers and even polar bears in enclosures that perfectly replicate their natural habitats. Starting in the main reserve, you 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 which are both interesting and educational, with conservation an on-going theme throughout the site.
The Highland Wildlife Park is regarded as one of the premier tourist attractions in the Scottish Highlands, and there’s a good reason for that. It offers a great family day out that’s a little bit different to a zoo yet it has an equally diverse range of animals to look at. I think if you’re in the area and you’ve got kids then you owe it to both them and yourself to visit this attraction – it’s a genuinely brilliant day out.Read more...
What can you do there?
Because the park is affiliated with Edinburgh Zoo there are many species here that are on the endangered list, and the Highland Wildlife Park aims to safeguard the future of these animals as well as provide entertainment and education for visitors. The enclosures have been specifically designed to replicate the habitats that would exist in the wild and you can expect to see both tundra and mountainous regions as you explore the attraction.
The highlight of any visit has to be the famed polar bears that roam freely within their massive enclosure. Huge in size, the animals are a truly impressive sight, and if you manage to time your visit right you might even be lucky enough to watch them being fed. All I can say is you’ll be glad there’s a steel fence between you and the bears. 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.
But it’s not just the wildlife park that draws thousands of visitors to the area because it’s located in one of the prettiest regions of Scotland (and one that also happens to be my favourite). The Cairngorms are an area of outstanding natural beauty that offers a huge number of activities to tourists, and there are enough walking trails that you could easily spend your entire holiday there, so after a day at the park you might be inspired to take a detour onto some of the back roads and look for some wildlife yourself.
The Highland Wildlife Park is run by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland so visitors of all ages are presented with lots of information on the lives of each animal as they walk around the park, in addition to activities that are designed to both inform and educate adults and children. At the end of your visit you can enjoy an excellent cafe, and as always there’s a gift shop so you can buy a few souvenirs.
All in all, this is a great day out, and while I wish the tickets were a bit cheaper I think they’re probably worth every penny.
What I liked about this attraction
- It’s one of the few places you’ll ever see polar bears running semi-free
- There are lots of animals to view
- The visitor facilities are excellent
What I didn’t like about this attraction
- The tickets are expensive in my opinion, especially if you’re taking a family
The 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.
Prices and opening times
|Concession Adult (Seniors / Students / Registered disabled)||£14.50|
|Children age 3 – 15 years (age 3 & under free)||£9.95|
|Carer for disabled adult or child||£10.35|
The Park is open every day of the year* apart from the 25th of December.
|April to September||10 am to 6 pm|
|October and March||10 am to 5 pm|
|November to February||10 am to 4 pm|