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Chester Zoo reveals plans for Christmas ‘Lanterns’ event

Chester Zoo has revealed its plans for its traditional Christmas event, The Lanterns.

Now in its ninth year, visitors are able to experience the zoo after hours on a set trail in the dark, taking in illuminated wildlife, colourful lanterns and encountering enchanting costumed characters.

The wintertime celebration has previously received widespread public acclaim. This year, the zoo has heavily reduced the number of tickets available to help keep visitors safe and ensure that everyone can maintain social distancing.


Conservationists at the UK’s largest zoo say the event is ‘vital to the survival of the zoo’ following three months of closure, due to the coronavirus pandemic, which left a £5.5m scar on the wildlife charity’s finances. 

Jon Turley, Head of Guest Experience at Chester Zoo, said:

“Events that help us to bring some additional income into our charity will be absolutely crucial in securing the future of our zoo and our species-saving work. That’s why we’re so, so excited to be able to bring The Lanterns back again this year.

“With safety and social distancing firmly at the forefront of our minds, far fewer tickets have been made available for our event this time around, which might just make it an even more magical experience for those who secure a ticket.

“We’re planning to transform the zoo into a spectacular winter wonderland, featuring 11 fantastical worlds. Guests will be welcomed into an exotic world of colour and movement, where larger than life illuminations and animal characters await. Making a return this year will be our popular ‘Underwater’ world, which will transport visitors to the bottom of the sea where they’ll discover a giant show-stopping octopus.

“We’ve made a few adjustments so that there will be less physical interaction with visitors this time, but we’re sure that our array of never-before-seen features will ensure guests will make memories that last a lifetime. We can’t wait to welcome people back to The Lanterns, see lots of big smiles on faces and, at the same time, raise valuable funds so we can continue our mission of preventing extinction as a wildlife conservation charity.”

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 13 November - Wednesday 23 December 2020. Child tickets start from £13.50 and adult tickets start from £16.

For full information and to book tickets, visit: www.chesterzoo.org/lanterns

  • Chester Zoo (www.chesterzoo.org) is a registered conservation and education charity
  • It’s home to 35,000 animals and more than 500 different species, many of which are endangered in the wild
  • The zoo also supports field projects around the world and closer to home, preventing the extinction of highly threatened species
  • Last year, the zoo welcomed more than two million visitors, ranking it as the UK’s most visited zoo and England’s most visited tourist attraction outside London
  • The zoo has a vital role in inspiring and educating people about the natural world and the impact humans have on it – creating and nurturing the conservationist in us all.

Wild Rumpus

Wild Rumpus (www.wildrumpus.org.uk) exist in a space where arts and culture meet the natural environment. Working from The Forge, four acres of woodland and a farmhouse in Cheshire, they create experiences which inspire curiosity and design events that immerse audiences in incredible stories and moments of wonder.

2020 marks their 11th year of creating extraordinary worlds and ambitious outdoor arts events.

As a social enterprise, alongside producing large-scale events, Wild Rumpus run an extensive volunteer and talent development programme working with performers, producers and programmers to shape a cultural environment where excellent outdoor work thrives.

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