Address: Kincraig, Kingussie PH21 1NL
The Highland Wildlife Park is open every day of the year with the exception of Christmas Day. Last entry to the zoo is one hour before closing time.
April - October - 10am - 5pm (Open until 6pm in July & August)
November - March - 10am - 4pm
Adult (16 yrs+): £18.50 (£20.50 with donation)
Child *(3-15 yrs): £13.50 (£14.95 with donation)
Under 3’s*: free of charge
Concession**: £14.00 (£15.50 with donation)
You can save money by booking tickets in advance at;
Please note, with the exception of assistance dogs, pets are not permitted into Highland Wildlife Park, including the car park.
* Eligibility for concessions:
Full time students only with valid student ID featuring a valid expiry date
Young Scot cards
Unemployed person with proof, such as a letter from DSS or a post office card
Senior citizens, aged over 65
Blue badge holders
You can also download a copy of the map, by clicking the link below;
Facilities - These details have been taken from the Zoos Website (07/03/23)
Highland Wildlife Park seeks to provide equal opportunities for all visitors and are working hard to ensure that their visitor facilities are accessible to everyone.
The location in the Scottish Highlands means that the site is steep and rugged and while this creates ideal habitats for the animals, as well as great scenery, it can also make moving around the park a challenge in places.
Most of the steps can be bypassed via alternatives paths but due to the nature of the park these are steep in places.
They continue to work hard to ensure the park is as accessible as possible for visitors who have mobility issues and other disabilities.
Free admission for carers
Visitors who require special assistance are offered free admission for one accompanying carer when they pay the full adult/concession/child price.
Please bring relevant proof of entitlement such as an Access Card with ‘+1’ symbol, a ‘plus one’ travel card or letter from Personal Independence Payment, as this will be asked for on arrival.
A limited number of disabled parking spaces are available in our the park.
If you have a larger vehicle, they may ask for it to be parked elsewhere after leaving passengers near the Visitor Centre.
Moving around the park from the car park
The majority of the park is accessible to visitors who may have impaired mobility, however there are certain areas that can only be accessed via steeper and, in places, rough paths.
In particular, the loop from the Visitor Centre via the Arctic foxes, snow leopards and polar bears in both directions is steep with rough pathways.
The male polar bears can be viewed, most days, from the drive-through reserve.
Electric Mobility Scooter Hire
This service is currently unavailable.
A limited number of electric mobility scooters are available for free hire – please ask the retail team on arrival for more information. A £25 deposit is required, which is fully refundable on the return of the electric mobility scooter. These are available on a first-come-first-served basis and are disinfected after each use.
If you require a scooter, they have an updated mobility map to help you around the park.
The two new electric mobility vehicles are up and running with zero emissions – please ask the retail team on arrival for more information.
These are available for hire and are offered on a first come first served basis. A £25 refundable deposit will be required. The mobility vehicles will be thoroughly cleaned each evening and morning before hire.
Some areas of the park are not suitable for the mobility vehicles and those with restricted mobility.
Steep slopes and steps are signposted with alternative routes and there is an updated mobility map available for visitors.
A limited number of manual wheelchairs are available for free hire from the shop at the Visitor Centre. These are available on a first come first served basis and are disinfected after each use.
Only registered assistance dogs that are accompanying their respective partner are permitted to enter the park. If you wish to bring an assistance dog into the park please inform a member of the admissions team when you arrive. Be aware that access may be restricted to certain areas.
Please note assistance dogs in training are not permitted to enter.
In addition to the above admission, assistance dogs are subject to the following regulations of BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria).
All assistance dogs must be up-to-date with all inoculations
Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and under strict control
Dogs must not be allowed to defecate anywhere in the park grounds and any incidents should be cleared away by their owners
If the behaviour of our animals or your dog is affected, please move away from the area to ensure both their safety and those of our other visitors
Accessible toilets are located near the Visitor Centre and adjacent to the Blue Badge parking area.
During holidays there may be additional temporary accessible toilets located in various areas of the park.
Wildthings gift shop – there is level access to the shop at the main entrance
Antlers Café – access via the pathway (no steps) around the left side of the Visitor Centre
Oystercatcher café (currently closed) – access via either the ramp from the car park or via the gift shop
Please note that there is no access from the gift shop to Antlers Café within the Visitor Centre.
Gifts and souvenirs reflect the ethos and character of Highland Wildlife Park and the surrounding Highlands of Scotland.
Brimming with interesting wildlife gifts, books and toys. The staff are always willing to help and can also arrange mail order deliveries. They stock an extensive range of local and wildlife related gifts to suit all ages and all pockets including some exclusive line and polar bear themed gifts.
The Tomintoul Venison is located in the main car park and serves high quality Scottish burgers, hot dogs, fries and a selection of hot and cold drinks. This is usually only open at weekends and school holidays until the summer season.
There is no reference to picnic areas on the website, but there is seating near the car park, and benches all around the park should you wish to sit down and eat your packed lunch. There is however no inside area for picnics, and it doesn't say if you can eat your own food in the cafe area or not.
Antlers Cafe - My Opinion of the main cafe at the park
It was most likely the time of year I visited, but last week the offerings at the Antler's Cafe was soup, soup and more soup, and it's a shame that I wasn't really in the mood for soup, as it wasn't actually that cold which is strange for the Scottish Highlands!
There were some sandwiches, and toasties, as well as a good range of cakes, as well as snacks, hot and cold drinks.
With the Burger Van closed, I found myself opting for a Cheese and Ham roll, with a bottle of water and a Millionaire's Shortbread.
It wasn't poorly priced, so I had change for a £10 note, which is rare when going to a zoo cafe these days, but the lack of choice would probably lead me into bringing a packed lunch in the future, unless I knew that there would be more of an offering in the cafe or knowing the burger van was open.
Highland Wildlfie Park - Review 02/03/23
Whilst it is one of the longest drives to get to for most people, the Highland Wildlife Park is probably one of the most beautiful zoos in the country and it is a lovely drive amonst mountains and hills blessed with snow on the tops even in the spring.
I stayed in a local hotel the night before and made my way to the park for opening at 10am. It was notably quiet even for a school day, but the weather was nice, overcast but nice. I really don't there is a more picturesque zoo in the UK, which makes it amazing for photographers and with large exhibits, a lovely drive-through and many vantage viewpoints around the site, it truly is a photographers paradise.
Despite having one of the smallest species list in the UK, this massive site focusses on large exhibits and naturlistic settings for its animals, but features some delights in housing Bukhara Deer (Cervus Hanglu Bactrianus), Eurasian Forest Reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus Fennicus), Himalyan Tahr (Hemitragus Jemlahicus), Mishmi Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor Taxicolor), Turkmenia Mahkor (Capra Falconeri Heptneri), White-Lipped Deer (Cervus Albirostris), Eurasian Elk (Alces Alces Alces) and being one of only two collections in the UK to house Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus). Whilst none of these are really rarities in European Zoos, they are largely unrepresented in the UK, and it makes a trip to the Scottish Highlands more worthwhile to see some of these UK rarities.
The Snow Leopard (Panthera Uncia) exhibit is probably the finest I have seen, not just in terms of space, but they had a whole cliff face to live on and can easily camolague themselves in the crevices and overhangs in what is probably the best exhibit for these animals outside their natural surroundings, especially when the snow falls. Windows on the exhibits and close mesh means photos of them exploring the exhibit along the rock face are most definitely possible and it is quite possibly my favourite big cat exhibit in the UK. Thr birth of a trio of cubs last summer only makes a good 20 minutes watching them more enjoyable.
The park also has two exhibits for Polar Bear, one which holds two males Walker & Arktos, and another at the other end of the park which has the female Victoria and her 2021 cub Brodie living in it. Both exhibits offer plenty of grassland and in the female and cub exhibit, there is a large pond which you often seen Brodie playing with some toys in. A cub born in 2018 called Hamish is now at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, and he was another who was very playful in the pond, so it's clear that Brodie looks set to follow in his footsteps.
The walk up to the female bear and cub is quite a stiff one passing views of the drive through along the way, where you may get a glimpse of Vicuna (Vicugna Vicugna), as well as passing the large herd of White-Lipped Deer on your left, one of only three collections to house this species in the UK.
From the female bear exhibit, you are treated to picturesque views of the Cairngorms as well as sights of the off-show Amur Leopard (Panthera Pardus Orientalis) exhibit which is now on phase out, due to the zoo not being able to live feed and therefore meaning they can not be part of the rewilding program for this species. I am told one of the Leopards will be departing to South Korea at some stage, but I am not sure what will become of others held there, or the facility itself.
Next to this is the Scottish Wildcat (Felis Silvestris Grampi) breeding and pre release facility which is another off-show facility and is one of the most vital breeding centres for native wildlife as the Scottish Wildcat is a species of cat which used to be found in the Scottish Highlands but has been all but wiped out by man and inbreeding with feral cats, but in June this year "Saving Wildcats" will be reintroducing 20 cats into the Cairngorms as part of the Rewilding Scotland project, You can read more about Saving Wildcats at https://savingwildcats.org.uk/ and Zoo Trips is a proud supporter of the project, sponsoring Fruin, one of the breeding males at the centre and during my visit, I had a tour of the park and told all about the program by Helena who works for RZSS. Whilst members of the public can't view the breeding facility, you can see Scottish Wildcat in the main area of the park, and it is hoped that this year there will be kittens in the on-show exhibits as well as at the breeding centre.
Leaving the Polar Bear area of the park, you head up the hill past Arctic Foxes (Alopex Lagopus), Snow Leopard, and Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus Jemlahicus), before the hill sweeps downwards past the Turkomenian Markhor, and the male exhibit of Polar Bear. As you are at the Polar Bear area, you have a bottom of the hill view of Snow Leopard which is the best area for photos.
There is then another exhibit housing Turkmenian Markhor, before swinging right to the Northern Lynx (Lynx Lynx Lynx) and then on towards the Wolverine (Gulo Gulo Gulo) who have access to a large exhibit which goes all the way up the hill where you can sometimes see them up by the top area views of the Snow Leopard.
You are now at the Car Park, where the building of a new conservation and visitor is taking place.
There are three other little areas, firstly outside the cafe where you can see Japanese Macaques or Snow Monkeys (Macaca Fuscata) as some people call them, which is another species found frequently in Europe but only found in two UK zoos. Next to these is an aviary which has Eurasian Crane (Grus Grus Grus) exhibited which gives a nice view, but if you head in the other direction along this path, you come to the Amur Tigers (Panthera Tigris Altaica) which is a group of five consisting of a male and female and three cubs born in April 2021. They usually get fed around 2.15pm when there is a keeper talk and this is certainly worth going to, to see them active and up close. The group are split males and females, and they have rotated access to the large exhibit. I suspect in the next year or so, the cubs will depart for other EAZA zoos as part of the EEP breeding program.
There are two other main areas at the zoo, one has the Scottish Wildcat on show, and behind this the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo Bubo Bubo). This area feels rather wasted with the empty former exhibits that once housed Pine Marten, Eurasian Beaver, Eurasian Badger and Great Grey Owl. It's a shame to see this area now rather lacking in species and I hope this is one day again an abundance of native species and given the work RZSS does for rewilding and supporting native conservation, it would be great to see Badgers and Pine Martens again as educational species.
Opposite the Wildcat area is the exit road which backs on to a woodland section. The drive can be reached on foot, and there you get great views of Yak (Poephagus Grunniens) and Bactrian Camel (Camelus Bactrianus Bactrianus), but perhaps the biggest disappointment is how hard it is to focus through the mesh when trying to photo one of my favoruite exhibits at the park, and that is home to Mishmi Takin (Budorcas Taxicolor Taxicolor). They clearly had a youngster in 2022, and this very active group can often been seen at a distance, but there is no real vanatge points to see them without obstruction. This is a shame, as it's a species not shown anywhere near enough in the UK, and I would like to a pathway constructed so you can see them better in the future, and I have already personally made this suggestion to RZSS, so hopefully it's something they consider in the future. The Takin exhibit backs on to the woodland which houses Eurasian Grey Wolves (Canis Lupus Lupus) and next to these are the only group of Eurasian Forest Reindeer (Rangifer Tarandus Fennicus) in the UK. Sadly, I did not get to see these on my visit, which is a shame, as they are an impressive species.
At the end of the Reindeer exhibit you'll find signage for Red Squirrel (Sciurus Vulgaris), but this actually misleading as the zoo does not have any and it's just an area set up, where the zoo hopes wild squirrels may make their home. I have never seen any and personally think the signage needn't be there, as it implies they have Red Squirrel when they don't.
By this area, you can look out into the drive through, which unless you have your own transport, you are not able to explore. This would be the downside to visiting by public transport as you miss out on what for me is probably one of the best parts of the zoo.
As mentioned above, my favourite part of the Highland Wildlife Park is the drive through area which is home to Eurasian Bison (Bison Bonasus Bonasus), Red Deer (Cervus Elaphus Scoticus), Bukhara Deer (Cervus Hanglu Bactrianus), Przewalski's Horse (Equus Ferus Przewalskii), Vicuna (Vicugna Vicugna), and Eurasian Elk (Alces Alces Alces).
The area is split into three sections, firstly with the main reserve holding the Red Deer, Bison and Przewalski's Horse, before you go across a cattle gridded area which houses the Bukhara Deer and Vicuna before the final section over another cattle grid which is where the Erasian Elk or Moose as many would recognise them as can be seen. I have found that the Elk are most active in the afternoon around 3pm and as one of very few zoos in the UK who house the species, they are most impressive for me, especially to see a breeding pair, so I do hope they breed in due course. As you leave the Elk over another cattle grid, you are back in the main reserve.
In the drive through there are notable other delights, notably wild Oystercatcher (Haematopus Ostralegus), Lapwing (Vanellus Vanellus) and Curlew (Numenius Arquata) who are wild birds living on site and it is a delight to see them foraging and nesting in the winter and spring months. The park also often gets migratory geese at certain times of year as well.
The drive through pretty much completes what is a fantastic zoo in the UK and it is very much worth the trip to Scotland alone to see it. For me it is one of my most enjoyable days out and with plans to branch out further into native wildlife and supporting rewilding programs for Pine Hoverfly (Blera Fallax) and Scottish Wildcat, it's ethos definitely fits in well with me.
Photography wise, it is one of the best zoos in the UK for photos of some cracking species and the drive through which is incredibly picturesque is a size and quality which rivals and betters most safari parks, yet there is no carnivores or fences in sight.
Highland Wildlife Park is most definitely one of my favourite collections in the UK, and looking back I am struggling to see how it didn't make my top ten last year. It truly is shocking omission from it and is easily up there as one of my favourite collections. With new builds and so much progress happening, it remains an exciting time for this RZSS collection and I am most definitely a fan.
Highland Wildlife Park - Polar Bear Magic Moment Review - 03/03/2023
In the UK, two zoos hold Polar Bears and both offer VIP Encouncers with them. Yorkshire Wildlife Park offer a 45 minute experience at £225 per person, or £450 for two people, but at the Highland Wildlife Park, a 30 minute experience is offered at £130 per person, which is a £95 saving per person and it is for that reason that I chose to do this experience at Highland Wildlife Park and there was no regrets my end.
My expeirence took place at 11.15am with Lauren, one of the carnivore keepers at Highland Wildlife Park and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had with a large animal, and for £130 I found it exceptional value for money.
The experience takes place with the male Polar Bear's Walker and Arktos at the bottom of the drive through section of the park and closed toe footwear is required, as well as the wearing of a face mask and gloves.
The experience is very thorough with Lauren telling me all about the animals and unlike some other experiences, this is done one to one, unless you booked two people to do the experience. I like this and it gives you valuable time with the animals and to ask all the questions you have.
Lauren first of all shows you a healthcare training session, where you can see the variety of training methods the zoo uses to work with the bears which range from standing on their back feet and vertically upright, to opening their mouths for dental checks, as well as presenting a paw so they can have their claws treated.
I was astonished at just how big the paws of a Polar Bear was, but perhaps the one thing that really surprised me, was just how laid back they were, how gentle and respectful they were and whilst physically intimidating, they truly were gentle giants.
Lauren went on to tell me how they done blood draws as well, and I found the training session really interesting.
With the bears behaving, I fed Walker first and then Arktos. They had a mixture of horse meat diced and stripped as well as fruit and veg which consisted of cooked carrot and apple of which both were covered in a bit of blood from the meat.
I enjoyed feeding both bears and they were unbelievably placid, enabling you to get close and seeing them up close. They were happy being fed and these activities get them used to being confident and comfortable around people they didn't know, which helps when it comes to health checks and veterinary treatments.
With both bears fed, they got a second treat which benefits them. Armed with bottles, I got to get super close to them as I gave them their Cod Liver Oil supplement. This was without doubt the highlight of the whole experience, being right up close and literally being nose to nose with such a beautiful species of animal. I hope this little video gives you an idea of what to expect from this amazing encounter if you chose to book it.
I can safely say, this experience was thoroughly enjoyable and to get so close to majestic animals was unreal and worth every penny of the £130. I can't compare it to the experience offerd at Yorkshire Wildlife Park for £95 more, as I haven't done it, but I would imagine it would be pretty similar and I wasn't expecting to get anywhere near as close as I did to these massive but gentle carnivores. I guess if you are a Seal you may have a different opinion altogether however!
I really enjoyed the experience and before it ended, Lauren got Walker to come outside and got him to stand up in front of me, showing just how big they are on their back feet, which was very impressive.
For me, this experience was excellent value for money and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who would love to have a close up encounter with a Polar Bear. I found it a great experience and one I would have no hesitation doing again given the chance!
Species Held (As of 07/03/23)
Arctic fox (No Subspecific status) (Alopex lagopus (Syn.: Vulpes lagopus))
Bactrian camel (Two-humped camel) (Camelus ferus f. bactrianus (Syn.: Camelus bactrianus bactrianus))
Bactrian deer (Bukhara deer) (Cervus hanglu bactrianus (Syn.: Cervus elaphus bactrianus))
Domestic Yak (Bos mutus f. grunniens (Syn.: Poephagus grunniens))
Eurasian crane (Grus grus grus)
Eurasian elk (European elk) (Alces alces alces)
Eurasian forest reindeer (Rangifer tarandus fennicus)
Eurasian Great Grey Owl (Strix nebulosa lapponica)
Eurasian wolf (Canis lupus lupus)
European eagle-owl (Bubo bubo bubo)
European lowland-bison (Wisent) (Bison bonasus bonasus (Syn.: Bos bonasus bonasus))
European wolverine (Gulo gulo gulo (Syn.: Gulo gulo sibirica))
Himalayan monal (Impeyan monal) (Himalayan monal-pheasant) (Lophophorus impejanus)
Himalayan tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus)
Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata)
Mishmi takin (Budorcas taxicolor taxicolor (Syn.: Budorcas taxicolor))
Northern lynx (Lynx lynx lynx)
Polar bear (White bear) (Ursus maritimus (Syn.: Thalarctos maritimus))
Przewalski's horse (Asian wild horse) (Equus ferus przewalskii (Syn.: Equus przewalskii))
Scottish red deer* (Cervus elaphus scoticus*)
Scottish wildcat* (Felis silvestris grampia*)
Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)
Snow leopard (Ounce) (Panthera uncia (Syn.: Uncia uncia))
Tajik markhor (Turkomen markhor) (Capra falconeri heptneri)
Vicuna (Vicugna vicugna (Syn.: Lama vicugna))
White-lipped deer (Thorold's deer) (Cervus albirostris (Syn.: Przewalskium albirostris))
Last Updated: 07/03/23