BY CHARLIE STONG
Without a doubt Christmas and London Zoo are two of our favourite things, so when we heard the two were combining for a spectacular nocturnal light show this year we just had to see what it was all about.
Joining the rest of the press gang and those lucky members of the public to have a ticket for opening night, we – that’s me, my wife, Hayley, and our six-year-old daughter, Nellie, headed through the famous gates to see the zoo’s incredible festive transformation last Thursday.
Armed with warm mulled wine and hot chocolate we embarked on the mile-long trail of Christmas at London Zoo, which runs at the famous venue until New Year’s Day.
The trail is full of delightful illuminations brought to life by more than one million pea lights, 200 visual displays, two illuminated flying flamingos, a pair of giant golden giraffes, one larger than life lion and an 11m-tall tree made of 365 recycled Christmas sledges.
The transformation is quite impressive – and we didn’t hear a single peep out of any of the zoo’s 19,000 impeccably behaved animals, who were tucked up in bed well before our 6pm arrival.
The light show is a sort of mini Lumiere London – the now traditional show which illuminates the capital every January.
But it was so much more than that. There was also a fairground for the kids and even an appearance by Father Christmas himself.
As well as the illuminated animal sculptures, many of the zoo’s much-loved buildings come to life in Christmas at London Zoo, with glowing fountains shedding new light on the jewel in the zoo’s crown – the Grade-I listed Lubetkin Penguin Pool – and festive projections lighting up the historic Mappin Terraces ZSL’s Chief Operating Officer Kathryn England said: “We’re very excited about our new evening event, Christmas at London Zoo, and can’t wait to celebrate the countdown to Christmas Day with wildlife fans from all around the world.
“Christmas at London Zoo is definitely the most unique way to spread goodwill this Christmas – by bringing your family to our exciting new evening event you’ll also be supporting international wildlife charity ZSL’s valuable conservation work.”
Tickets are strictly limited and are already selling out fast – so be quick to grab yourself a place: book your tickets online now at www.christmasatlondonzoo.co.uk.
And for those of you who fancy something a little more adventurous, a limited number of Christmas at London Zoo tickets are also available for upgrade, offering guests the opportunity to finish up the magical evening by sleeping within roaring distance of the lions at the Gir Lion Lodge – nine Christmas cabins nestled in the heart of the Zoo.
And the best news of all is that by taking your family to Christmas at London Zoo you’ll also be supporting international wildlife charity ZSL’s valuable conservation work.
What a way to kick-off the festivities – if we hadn’t felt all that Christmassy before, we certainly do now.
Advance prices: Adult £16.50, child £10.50, family £52, under 3s and carers free.
Discounts available for ZSL members. Transaction charges apply.
For full details and to book tickets visit christmasatlondonzoo.co.uk