Chester Zoo has revealed plans for the much-anticipated return of its beloved wintertime celebration – The Lanterns.
If you’re unfamiliar with the event or have not been lucky enough to experience it before, now in its tenth year, visitors to The Lanturns are given the unique opportunity to experience the UK’s leading charity zoo after hours on a set trail in the dark.
Not only does the trail take you a collection of spectacular illuminations and colourful lanterns, but you’ll also get to meet some enchanting costumed characters along the way.
Among the many new elements at this year’s festivities will be brand new illuminated characters – including orangutans, butterflies, caterpillars and wolves – as well as a special light show dedicated to celebrating the zoo’s recent 90th birthday that will take visitors on a journey through time as they explore the zoo’s history.
Conservationists say that the event will support the zoo’s crucial work as a wildlife conservation charity.
It will also help with its recovery following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking ahead of the event’s return, 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 [as] 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, and 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 [and as] it’s the zoo’s 90th birthday year, another hugely exciting new area will celebrate our anniversary through a special light show [and] take visitors on a journey through time as they explore our history.”
She also confirmed that lots of firm family favourite laturns will be returning as well this year, like Father Christmas, the zebras, elephants, and lions.
Just like last year, the Christmas celebration will again have a restricted capacity due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19 – however, the zoo will be offering more timed entry slots than ever before to provide more people with an opportunity to enjoy the festive fun.
“It’s been another strange and challenging year for everyone, so we’re just thrilled to be able to provide our guests with some much needed Christmas cheer,” Gemma added.
“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 12 November – Thursday 23 December 2021, with slots available from 4pm – 8.15pm, and tickets for children starting from £11 and adult tickets from £13.
You can find more information and pre-book your tickets here.
Featured Image – Chester Zoo