Donegal’s Wild Ireland is offering a whole new winter experience this Christmas.
The sanctuary at Burnfoot houses amazing animals such as bears, wolves and a lynx, but at Christmas time, there’s one very special guest who’s there for a limited time only.
Santa himself has settled into Wild Ireland to be with all the animals that remind him of the North Pole… and to meet young animal lovers of course!
Snowy owls, arctic foxes, arctic wolves and even Christmas turkeys add to the Wild Arctic Experience that families get to enjoy this month.
Sanctuary owner Killian Mc Laughlin and his team have gone above and beyond again this year to make the scenes extra special.
See a sneak peek here:
Tickets are being snapped up quickly, but some are still available at: www.wildireland.org/wild-arctic
With beautiful fairy lights and animal-themed displays, there’s plenty of magic for children to enjoy. Santa’s Magic Toy Shop and the sanctuary cafe are now open. There’s a polar bear choir, penguins, teddy bears and singing reindeer. Not to mention the real Red Deer who live at Wild Ireland year-round.
“It’s a whole new experience,” says Killian. “It’s bigger and better, there are more lights and more things to see. We are open during the day for younger kids, and at night time we have flood lights that don’t bother the animals. They come out if they want, so we don’t guarantee you will see them all.”
Children who visit Santa are given a ‘very good present’ for being so good all year.
2021 was a “strange year” for Wild Ireland, Killian says.
The park once again had to deal with the challenges of the pandemic and public precautions.
High points for the team included a number of TV appearances and a full series dedicated to the story of the sanctuary, the Bearman of Buncrana, on RTE. The popular fly-on-the-wall programme is back again next year, and series two will follow Killian’s efforts to rescue two caged brown bears from Russia and bring them 5,000km to Ireland.
More TV appearances are in the pipeline on Channel 4 and on the new series of Barra’s Wild Days Out on BBC.
Wild Ireland is going to get ‘bigger again’ in 2022, Killian says, as more extension plans are underway. “There’s a lot more to do,” he says.
Families wishing to visit the Wild Arctic Experience are advised to book early to avoid disappointment, as places are limited and all visitors must have a time slot.