Thursday, August 13, 2015

York's Wild Kingdom - Great New England Summer Day Trip!

We received complimentary admission to York's Wild Kingdom to facilitate this review. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

We were so excited to head back to York, Maine for a day trip to York's Wild Kingdom again this summer! Just about an hour and a half from Boston, it's an easy ride up to York Beach for a super fun adventure. York's Wild Kingdom - New England's Only Zoo and Amusement Park has something for everyone and we always leave with new memories that are sure to last a lifetime... and we (those who are not driving...) always sleep the whole way home which is a great sign of a great day!

There are several different ticket options at York's Wild Kingdom. You can choose to visit the zoo only, the amusement park only, or purchase tokens to just ride as you wish in the amusement park. Entrance to the park itself is free but you need to pay if you want to ride or visit the animals. We definitely recommend the Zoo and Ride Pass which gives you admission to the zoo (including the paddle boats) and unlimited rides all day. There are Go-Kart and Animal Rides too but those require separate ticket purchase.

We think the combination Zoo and Ride Pass makes for the perfect day. We start our day in the zoo which opens at 10:00 AM and then transition to lunch around noon and into the amusement park after that as it doesn't open until 12:00 PM. There are lunch opens within the park - food stands and snack bars - as well as picnic tables and a covered shelter where you can eat. You're also welcome to bring your own food into the park so packing your own picnic lunch is also acceptable and a great option if you're looking to save some money, although the prices at the snack bars are not unreasonable.

You'll see that as soon as you drive into York's Wild Kingdom, the fun begins - even before you leave the car! The driveway is lined with trivia about wild animals.

There is free parking at York's Wild Kingdom, and the lot begins to fill up fairly quickly at 10:00 AM when the zoo portion of the park opens. Both times we've arrived at 10:00 AM the ticket line is already fairly long, so my suggestion is to get there as close to opening as possible! If you don't make it before the main parking lot fills up, there is parking a little farther away (still walking distance) with a free tram shuttle ride to bring you to back to the gate.

One of the first things we enjoyed in the zoo area this year was the paddle boats. The paddle boats are free with your purchase of a zoo ticket. There are lifejackets provided and you can paddle along through a little pond area with bridges and tons and tons of ducks! We even brought some duck food with us in an empty popcorn box and, needless to say, the ducks were just as excited to us as we were to see them! This was such a fun and relaxing way to start our day!

Be sure you bring lots of quarters with you to York's Wild Kingdom because you'll find these little food dispensers all over the zoo! This is one of my daughter's favorite parts of our visits.

We fed ducks...


and deer!

You can see by the pictures that one of the most fun aspects of York's Wild Kingdom is that there are lots of opportunities to get up close and personal with the animals, rather than only looking at them behind fences. 

And don't worry... there are lots of hand washing stations throughout the park!

My daughter is a ride-a-holic, so despite our fun in the zoo, she was anxiously awaiting the opening of the amusement park at noon! We found an empty picnic table and enjoyed a quick lunch with a combination of food brought from home and food purchased from the snack stand. You can see a copy of the menu here.

We then continued our adventure in the amusement park! My daughter is five years old - really a perfect age for the amusement park portion of York's Wild Kingdom. There are a lot of rides geared toward younger children and there are only a couple of rides that she is not big enough to go on without an adult. Older teens might be easily bored so purchasing individual token tickets may make more sense for them, but for younger kids who ride just about anything, this park will not disappoint. Even when the park is crowded the ride lines are reasonable and fun abounds.

There are kiddie rides, a bounce house, fun houses, the classic ferris wheel and carousel, one small roller coaster, and a few extras mixed in. We were able to enjoy all of our favorites, multiple times.

You can check out more ride pictures in last year's post! I regret not taking more pictures on this trip, but I suppose a lack of pictures indicates lots of fun, right?!

There is still time to make your way up to York's Wild Kingdom this summer, and if you're looking for something fun to do with your family, we highly recommend it. York's Wild Kingdom is one of our favorite places to visit and we can't wait to go again soon!

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