Bosses at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, in Branton, are hoping to be back up and running again in just over a month’s time, with April 12 pencilled in as an opening date if the Government’s roadmap to re-opening stays on track.
The park revealed the plans after they were voted as the most missed attraction in Doncaster an an online awards vote run by Visit Doncaster, the organisation which promotes the borough’s tourism industry
Chief executive John Minion said: "We are disappointed that we’ve had to remain closed for the Easter Holidays as botanical gardens will be open, and it is traditionally one of the busiest bank holiday weekends of the year.
"It costs around £250,000 to £300,000 each month to keep the park closed. You can’t furlough animals, and neither can animal welfare be compromised.
"It’s been a really difficult year for everyone, but now we’re thankful that we’ve got a possible date for opening on April 12, and we’re looking forward to letting people back in.
"It’s fantastic that we’ve been rated as most missed – we have missed our visitors too.”
Built on a former riding school and farm, Yorkshire Wildlife Park first opening in April 2009. It has over 400 animals and over 70 different species of animal.
The venue hit the headlines when it rescued a pride of lions from Romania in 2010, relocating them from cramped cages to a spacious reserve on their Doncaster site.
It has since gone to add species including tigers, leopards, giraffes, rhinos, and polar bears to the list of species living there.
Visit Doncaster ran a Lockdown Awards which looked at what residents have missed most during the months since we were able to get out and about in the borough when it was business as usual.
The awards were set up around four categories, covering food, drink, visitor attractions and entertainment all voted for by the public via social media.
Organisers said there had been around 27,000 votes posted in the awards.