FOOTBALL fever kicked off at Flamingo Land near Malton as Leeds United footballers and their families spent a day at the park.
The zoo and theme park is proud sponsor of the Leeds United Youth Academy and was delighted to welcome the team.
Yesterday saw members of the first team squad and the youth academy take their seats on some of the country’s most thrilling roller coasters including the record breaking Mumbo Jumbo, motorbike coaster Velocity and the suspended looping coaster, Kumali.
Flamingo Land spokesman Mark Crane said the players had really enjoyed their day, despite the wet weather.
He said: “We invited the players and their families along to forge links with the park and give them a great day out.
“Many of them had change to experience an animal encounter, with Luciano Becchio feeding the sea lions and Neil Warnock meeting a rhinoceros.
“Their mascot Lucas the Kop Cat spent time with our park mascots Mia and Mylo.
“The weather wasn’t great, but everyone had a brilliant time.”
Players enjoyed getting up close and personal with some of Flamingo Land’s amazing species, such as Californian sea lions, Rothschild’s giraffes, meerkats and lemurs.
They also got to visit Humboldt penguins in their new home, Penguin Coast.
The team members also got chance to go on many of the park’s thrilling rides, such as Mumbo Jumbo - the steepest roller coaster in the world.
Paul Bell, director of commercial affairs at Leeds United, said: “It’s been a fantastic day and it’s been great to have all the players here with their families.
“We have a great relationship with Flamingo Land, and it’s also a good opportunity for them to showcase their fantastic rides and zoo.”
He added that members of the public had been thrilled to meet their footballing heroes during the day.
Mr Bell said: “We’ve had lots of people coming up for pictures and autographs.
“The players spent time chatting to everyone. It’s been great.”
The team’s mascot, along with Mia and Mylo from Flamingo Land, were also at the Bongo Warrior Acrobat Show during the afternoon.
They also spent time at Children’s Planet, the park’s new animal exhibit where youngsters mimic the nearby animals by climbing and burrowing in their own play area. Players also helped out at penguin feeding time.