Chester Zoo to open at night for animal-themed lantern display

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All funds generated by the experience will help boost Chester Zoo’s mission of preventing extinction, both through its conservation breeding programmes and field projects, in 20 countries around the world.

And The Lanterns event, which launched on November 11th, has already proved so popular, Chester Zoo had to release another batch of tickets to cope with the huge surge in demand.

A treat that leaves you all aglow, the popular winter evening experience saw over 90,000 visitors in 2019 before the Covid pandemic hit.

Instead of going from paddock to enclosure to see the animals, like a normal daytime trip to the zoo, The Lanterns is a wholly different and unique affair.

Your first encounter a large bright owl circling near a glowing white moon before crossing a rainbow-illuminated bridge.

Children will thrill at the sight of a golden-lit lion, but instead of shaking its mane and pouncing for the kill he gently approaches as though asking to be stroked and petted.

The trail is lit up by hundreds of illuminated animal lanterns, costumed puppeteers and theatrical performers. There is also a visit from Father Christmas and his reindeers.

New features for this year include a life-sized orangutan in a dazzling UV jungle, a giant polar bear overlooking a magical fairy-tale castle and a stunning snow leopard protecting its mountain home.

Meanwhile for those who have been before, this winter the trail also follows a new, longer route.

Scott Manton, Chester Zoo’s Guest Experience Supervisor, said: “The zoo is a spectacular place in the day, but as the sun sets its transformed in to a colourful festive celebration that lights up the night sky as we begin our very own countdown to Christmas.

“This year we’re taking visitors on a magical journey through distant lands, while discovering different animal-themed tales from around the world.

“Delve into a Norwegian fairy-tale as you encounter a multi-coloured, glowing castle towering high in the heart of the zoo and watched over by a huge polar bear.

“Wander through giant lotus flowers and flying dragonflies in a Japanese inspired garden, then earn your stripes with our zebras in an African-inspired display full of colour and music.

“Father Christmas and his fellow reindeer will also be joining the celebrations each night and will be here to spread some festive cheer while guests tuck in to delicious festive treats at our Christmas markets, including Yorkshire pudding Christmas wraps, bratwurst hotdogs and a range of tasty plant-based options, too!”

Scott added: “The Lanterns is a fabulous way for people to take in the magic of Christmas at the zoo – all while knowing they’re also helping our charitable mission to protect some of the world’s most threatened species.”

Extra tickets are now on sale for Chester Zoo’s “The Lanterns” event, which will run on selected dates from Friday 11 November to Friday 23 December with entry slots available from 4pm – 8pm.

Child tickets start from £12 and adult tickets start from just £15. Visit:

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