The Lanterns return to Chester Zoo with new illuminated animals

By Emma Gill

Illuminated animals will light up Chester Zoo this Christmas with the return of The Lanterns.

Now in its tenth year, visitors get an after-dark experience at the attraction following a trail through 'spectacular illuminations and colourful lanterns' while encountering 'enchanting' costumed characters along the way.

There'll be some new illuminated characters this year, including orangutans, butterflies, caterpillars and wolves as well as a 90th birthday light show, taking visitors on a journey through time as they explore the zoo’s history.

Conservationists at the UK’s most popular zoo say that the event will support the zoo’s crucial work as a wildlife conservation charity and will help with its recovery following the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gemma Bamford, senior admissions and retail manager at Chester Zoo, said: “We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to our very special Christmas event, The Lanterns. It’s become a firm favourite and something of a family tradition for so many people now and this year will be more magnificent and magical than ever.

“The event will see the zoo transform into a spectacular winter wonderland, where guests will be welcomed into an exotic world of colour and movement, where larger than life illuminations and animal characters await.

“This year’s theme is all about shining a light on species that face a fight for survival in the wild, where numbers of many of these incredible animals are plummeting to worryingly low levels. Never-before-seen illuminations of orangutans, butterflies, caterpillars and wolves are just a few of the species that will feature as part of our ‘into the wild’ theme."

She added: "It’s the zoo’s 90th birthday year and so another hugely exciting new area will celebrate our anniversary through a special light show - taking visitors on a journey through time as they explore our history.

“Lots of firm family favourites will also be returning this year, like Father Christmas, the zebras, elephants and lions who are sure to put on a fantastic show.”

The popular Christmas celebration will again have a restricted capacity this year due to the ongoing pandemic. However, the zoo will be offering more timed entry slots than ever before, providing more people with an opportunity to enjoy the festive fun.

Gemma added: “It’s been another strange and challenging year for everyone and so we’re just thrilled to be able to provide our guests with some much-needed Christmas cheer.

"We know how much people are looking forward to getting out and about this Christmas and doing something lovely with their loved ones, so we’ve added five extra nights and more time slots this time around - giving more opportunities for people to come and see The Lanterns.

“This event is an important step on the road to our recovery after all of the different challenges we’ve faced in recent times and will help us raise valuable funds, supporting us to continue our mission of preventing extinction all around the world.”

The Lanterns has been created by the zoo in partnership with multi award-winning outdoor arts producers, Wild Rumpus.

Tickets are now on sale for selected dates from Friday, November 12 to Thursday, December 23 with slots available from 4pm to 8.15pm. Child tickets start from £11 and adult tickets start from £13. Book online.


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