We are delighted to announce the launch of Zoo Illuminations 2018, back by popular demand for a third year! This unique event will take place throughout the months of November and December.

Bigger and brighter than last year, we would like to invite you to experience the zoo at night as you’ve never seen it before… Thousands of lights illuminating enclosures, trees and plants creating what we believe to be a truly magical Christmas experience. Wander through the Lost Kingdom, spot the wolves and lions, Santa and his reindeer and enjoy the tranquility of the Japanese Garden. This year there is also a new area to discover – our illuminated Nature Riverside Walk.  With a festive market, skating experience, children’s rides and festive food and drink stalls, there’s lots to see and do!


Adult (16yrs+) – £12.95
Child (3-16 yrs) – £7.50
Infant (1-2yrs) – £2.50

There are no concession, carer or family rates available for this event. All children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Babies up to 1 year of age are free and don’t need a ticket.

Ticket price includes entry to the Zoo Illuminations (which will be displayed all over the zoo) and Lost Kingdom Reptile House.  Tickets go on sale week commencing 17th September.

The Official Light Switch-On!

The illuminations will officially start on Saturday 10th of November! We hope to confirm who will be switching them on soon. As in previous years, there will be some additional entertainment for the switch-on evening. If you are keen to come along for this night, further details will be shared via Facebook, Twitter and the website very soon.

Dates and Times

The Zoo Illuminations will start on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November. They will be on each Friday, Saturday and Sunday night for the rest of November and then every night in December (excluding the 11th) up to and including Sunday 23rd December. 1000 tickets are available each night.

The zoo is open from 6pm to 9pm each night. There is no time slot allocation and you are welcome to come along at any time. Last entry is 8.30pm.

Ticket Information

Entry: Entry is by pre-purchased ticket only so please ensure you bring along a copy of your printed voucher or a copy on a mobile device. On arrival please go to the zoo entrance and present your voucher. Tickets purchased are only valid for the date shown and can only be used once. Please note that tickets cannot be purchased on the night at the ticket desk.

Special Needs/Autistic Evening: There will be two special evening openings for families on the 20th and 28th November.  Tickets for these nights can be purchased by calling the zoo on 01506 870 000. They cannot be purchased via the on-line ticketing system.  On these evenings there will be fewer people and queues, and quieter music, and we hope to carry on the success of last years special needs/autistic evening!

To Book: All bookings must be made in advance via our online ticketing partner, CityXplora. You can book tickets using either debit or credit card. It is anticipated to be busy again this year and it is therefore recommended to book tickets as far in advance as possible, however bookings will still be accepted on the day if tickets are still available online.

Confirmation of booking: Once you have made your booking, you will receive an email from our ticketing partners CityXplora confirming details of your booking, with a reference number and QR code.  This should be presented to the ticket desk on the night.  Confirmations are sent out very quickly after you’ve made the booking, so if you don’t receive a confirmation please check your junk/spam folders before contacting CityXplora.

Cancellation/Refunds: Once purchased, tickets are non-refundable, nor can they be exchanged for a daytime visit to the zoo. No refunds will be offered if the weather is inclement but the event is safe to go ahead. If the event is cancelled due to extreme weather, tickets will either be refunded within 7 working days and/or you will be offered tickets for an alternate night. Cancellation of an evening due to extreme weather or other conditions outwith our control will be confirmed via Facebook, Twitter and the website.

Change of date: Once purchased, tickets cannot be exchanged for a different date.

Season Pass & Corporate Pass holders: Sorry, but these passes do not allow entry to the Zoo Illuminations event.

What’s On?

Ice skating: We are delighted to offer ice skating sessions this year. This is on a synthetic surface, so no need to worry about getting wet! Sessions will last 20 minutes and cost £2 per person. These can be paid for on the night by purchasing tokens from the token booth in the picnic area. The under-cover marquee, which houses the ice-skating rink, will also have plenty of seating and heaters.

Children’s rides: Weather permitting, there will be some children’s rides open. These cost as little as £1 per ride. Tokens should be purchased from the token booth located in the picnic area.

Food & Drink Outlets: There will be several fast food outlets open in the zoo selling hot and cold drinks, candy floss and sweets. The Leaping Lemurs Restaurant will also be open from 4pm onwards for meals and snacks.

Market Stalls: We will have a range of market stalls selling crafts, zoo vouchers and plenty of other gifts – perfect for buying Christmas presents!

Leaping Lemurs Soft Play: This brand-new facility opened earlier in the year and children up to 11 years old are welcome to enjoy a session on the play frame for a special rate of £1 for 30 minutes.  No booking in advance, simply pay at the soft play ticket desk.

Santa: Santa and his Reindeer will be appearing each evening in the zoo grounds to say hello. If you wish to visit Santa in his Grotto he will be at the zoo every Saturday and Sunday during the day from 11am – 4pm in December up to and including the 23rd December. For daytime visits, regular ticket holders will have a visit to Santa included in the price of their ticket. Season pass and corporate pass holders, and under 3’s will have to pay £5 to visit Santa, which includes a small gift.

Animals: The lions and wolves will be out during the evening as will the nocturnal animals, however we cannot guarantee that you will see all of them on the night you visit. Many animals can still be viewed in their indoor areas. If it is only the animals you wish to see, we recommend that you visit the zoo during the day.

Useful Information

Parking: The main car park inside the entrance to the zoo is free,and there will also be an overflow car park available. On exceptionally busy evenings a courtesy bus may be in operation from the overflow car park. If the overflow car park is in operation, staff will direct you accordingly. Any groups planning to arrive by minibus or coach, please contact the zoo in advance to ensure suitable space is reserved.

Accessibility: The zoo is mainly on the flat, and the majority of paths either have mono-block or concrete suitable for wheelchairs. Some areas, such as the nature trail, are located on steep hills.

Weather: Please note that this is an outdoor event and visitors should dress accordingly for all weathers. There are few areas of shelter and some paths may be slightly muddy. Sturdy footwear and warm/waterproof clothing is advisable.

Cash/Card Facilities: Please note there is no facility to withdraw cash within the zoo. We do accept debit and credit cards in the gift shop and at some of the outlets in the zoo, but it is advisable to bring cash if you wish to purchase food, drink or small gift items.

Dogs: No dogs other than guide dogs are permitted in the zoo.

Smoking: Smoking in only permitted in the designated area in the car park. There is no smoking in the zoo.

Photography: You are welcome to take pictures during your visit. There will even be a special Christmas scene where you are welcome to take family photos. Please feel free to share them on our Facebook page.

Flashing Lights: Please note, a lot of the lights at the illuminations will be flashing.