Family Fun for the Wild at Heart

22nd July 2021

Leeds is a city packed with activities and attractions that families love, from those looking to entertain young children, to older kids and teenagers looking for summer holiday fun. There are museums and exhibitions to captivate the imagination, food and drink to discover, thrilling sports and outdoor activities, art and craft, music, film and festivals accessible to all.

But some families prefer to walk on the wildside, and Leeds is perfect for that too. There’s all sorts of animal magic to be found around the city, both indoors and out. So get everyone together, and start planning a trip crammed with roar-some fun and creature-filled creativity. Leeds attractions for the family can be found all over the place.

If these nature-fuelled suggestions for Leeds family days out and weekend trips inspire your family to start plotting and planning, you can find a huge range of activities and destinations over at our family page.

Leeds BidPhotograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth

Step back in time with the Jurassic Trail

There’s no denying it. Dinosaurs are just… cool! And there’s always something to be said for things to do in Leeds with the family that get them out and about, racking up the step count. Talking of steps, there are some pretty huge ones to be found around the streets of Leeds from Saturday 24th July to Sunday 12th September. Footprints that lead to some massive, prehistoric creatures…

In 10 locations across the city, enormous dinos will be bearing their teeth and claws for all to see. They’re lifelike enough to give unsuspecting shoppers a scare, but don’t worry – these are the latest animatronic models, just like they use in the films.

See if you can tick them all off in a day or over a weekend’s visit. And don’t miss the chance to stock up on some dino-themed merch at Trinity Leeds, where the biggest monster of all lies in wait.

A great way to get involved is by downloading the Jurassic Trail app, and scanning QR codes as you hunt down your scaly favourites. There are prizes available for the first 25 users who have discovered the most dinosaurs, and you can use the in-app camera function to take some prehistoric snaps to share on social media. Don’t forget the hashtag #LeedsJurassicTrail!

Meerkats at Tropical World - Credit A J Paraskjos

Turn up the heat at Tropical World

Alright, it’s not all steamy – but the huge array of beautiful butterflies, birds, lizards and other tropical fauna and flora to be found in this popular Roundhay Park destination like to keep their conditions as close to the Amazon as possible.

Tropical World is all indoors, making it a great choice for a rainy day, and there are loads of cute and curious creatures to discover across seven different zones. There’s an aquarium section where you might see a snaking orange tentacle, an area with the kind of spiders that give celebrities a fight in the jungle, and a dark creature cavern where you might spot a Gamora the Mexican beaded lizard or an Asian Forest Scorpion.

Another popular stop is the desert zone, home to north Leeds’ only family of meerkats. The tribe are perfectly at home in their bespoke, sandy enclosure, and you can watch the babies and adults scooting in and out of their tunnels and burrows.

What’s more, Tropical World is located within one of the most leafy places to visit in Leeds – Roundhay Park – which is a fantastic family day out in itself. So there’s more than enough reason to hop on a bus and explore the area as part of a weekend city break, or a day out. You can grab tickets for Tropical World in advance, and it’s well worth planning your trip to avoid disappointment on the day.

A Humbolt penguin, Lotherton Wildlife World

Party with the penguins at Lotherton Wildlife World

There’s loads to see at Lotheron, an Edwardian country house and estate that’s well worth exploring in its own right. But top billing has to go to the inhabitants of Lotherton Wildlife World, entry to which is included in the price of admission.

Wildlife World is Lotherton’s zoo, and the menagerie that calls it home has grown from the 20th century birdhouse that sparked the owners’ interest in all things feathered and furry. These days, there are loads of creatures to discover, from exotic flamingos and curious tapirs, to a flock of cheeky Humboldt penguins. Feeding time is a must see!

The attraction isn’t all about the animals, though. Lotherton Wildlife World tells the story of the natural heritage of the country house estate, drawing on the travels of previous owners, the Gascoignes. The modern day estate contributes to conservation initiatives as a member of European breeding programmes, and there’s an ongoing learning and events programme that’s well worth checking out.

You can buy tickets in advance for Lotherton Wildlife World , with gates opening at 8am and Wildlife World itself at 10am.

Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

Get hands on at Meanwood Valley Urban Farm

The city might not seem the natural location for a working farm, stocked with an Old McDonald-worthy list of animals, but Meanwood Valley Urban Farm isn’t exactly your regular smallholding. It’s open 365 days a year for the public to explore, with animals, gardens and a flourishing woodland area that creates a real oasis in the middle of Leeds.

The farm has a worthy goal – it’s all about reconnecting people used to city life with their food, and where it comes from. So you’ll find a destination geared up for families and children, complete with hands-on access to farm animals, an accessible cafe and farm shop too.

Admission is just £2.50 for adults, and 50p for children – which isn’t much more than the 15 minute bus fare from Leeds City Centre – and Meanwood Valley Urban Farm is open 7 days a week. It’s a lovely way to fill your family-friendly day, especially if you stop in for lunch at the Barn Coffeeshop too.

And that’s just the start! There’s also Home Farm at Temple Newsam, Harewood Bird Garden and Farm Experience, Swithens Farm and Hope Pastures.

You can find more family adventures here too