ZSL Zoo Nights – London Zoo After Dark

Flamingo statue at ZSL Zoo Nights

Have you ever wondered what happens at ZSL London Zoo when the sun goes down? Thanks to Zoo Nights now you can find out! Once all the visitors have left and the night zookeepers are the only ones wandering around, the zoo is pretty much animal territory once again. Thousands of different animal species from all over the world call London Zoo their home. Opened in 1828, initially only with scientific and educational study purposes, London Zoo receives hundreds of visitors each day. Tourists, parents and their kids, hopeless animal lovers, school trips (loads of kids), researchers, more kids…

The zoo is only for kids yeah? Wrong. As a self-sufficient adult (midlife crisis approaching), I’ve always found zoos quite fascinating and educational. They provide answers to wildlife’s most important questions. Do platypuses sweat milk? How do different species make babies? What are baby goats called? You know, all the interesting stuff. During the summer, ZSL London Zoo offers the opportunity to learn all about fauna in the most excellent Friday night plan, Zoo Nights. And yes, you guessed it, it’s ADULTS ONLY (sorry kids). Get ready to explore the secrets behind the zoo’s doors after hours, with loads of entertainment, delicious food and of course, wildlife without the horde of children and crowds of school trips! I obviously had to add this to my Ultimate London Bucket List.

Are you ready for a late night safari?

Mama sloth with a baby sloth at London Zoo

Hold on…

I haven’t told you all about Zoo Nights yet. Every Friday night in June and July, London Zoo becomes almost unrecognisable. From 6pm to 10pm, pretty carnival lights, music, stilt walkers and acrobats dressed as animals fill the Barclay Court, where the main square and carousel are. Apart from the obvious animal exhibitions, an array of activities are also open to the public. Get ready for a Transformation Centre with animal face painting, talks where you can discover the unique skills of your favourite animals (and even meet them!) and stand up comedy!

If, like us, you’ve been to Zoo Nights at London Zoo before there are new things for you too! New for Zoo Nights in 2019 are guided tours of the zoo, a Plonk crazy golf course and the chance to meet different animals (like an owl!).

Pygmy Hippo at London Zoo

Ringtailed lemur eating corn at London Zoo

A variety of Themed Animal Live Talks and Pop-Ups are also available throughout the evening: Curious Coatis, Prickly Porcupines, Giraffes Supper Time…they get better and better! Want to learn what happens between the sheets of the animal kingdom? Then make sure you join the Birds and the Bees tour. And if you want to test your knowledge and expertise in wildlife, take part of the Zooniversity Challenge.

For the hungry ones, don’t worry. Just head over to the World Food Market and try some of the best delights from all over the world at the different food stalls (vegan and veggie options available). PS: don’t forget to pet the goats first because – One. They are super cute. And two. How can you resist not doing it as soon as you enter the zoo?

With a goat at London Zoo

Flamingos at Zoo Nights, London Zoo

Candy floss and carousel at London Zoo

ZSL Zoo Nights is an excellent way to educate ourselves about wildlife while having a fun night. Of course, the whole of the zoo is now yours so make sure you make the most of it. The Reptile House, Aquarium, the Rain Forest, Into Africa, Tiger Territory, B.U.G.S., Penguin Beach, Land of the Lions…they are all awaiting you! However, keep in mind the animals also have their bedtimes, of course. All exhibitions close between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, with the exception of the Gorilla Kingdom, which is closed all evening due to two lil’ baby gorillas.

Sumatran tiger at London Zoo

Penguin at London Zoo

With more than a hundred species listed as threatened in the Red Data Book, ZSL London Zoo follows excellent conservation initiatives, both in and out of their doors. Inside, penguins, giraffes, pygmy hippos, okapis, rain-forest animals including sloths (and a lil’ baby one!), monkeys, birds, bats, lemurs…are offered good space and habitat to live in. They are bred in captivity and not caught in the wild, making it also a great way to keep them safe from poachers in the wild. Outside, their charity and projects address different wildlife-human problems, focusing on protecting endangered species and forests.

Sloth and baby sloth eating at London Zoo

Get to know more about the different species by becoming a Keeper for a Day, being part of the Photography Workshops or even booking one of the different Meet the Animals experiences. For the Night Owls, keep you eyes peeled. There is a competition to win a Meet the Animals experience by tweeting or instagramming your Zoo Nights pictures and tagging @ZSLLondonZoo and #ZSLZooNights! And guess what…WE ACTUALLY WON!

Yep, we got to meet the penguins, another experience from my Ultimate London Bucket List! And it was unbelievable.

What’s your favourite animal? Have you been to Zoo Nights before? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

RAWR, G.x

ZSL London Zoo | Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY, London, UK www.zsl.org


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22 comments

  1. Jane

    Great review, had no idea you could do this, sounds amazing! Fab photos and well done for winning the meet the animal experience! I’d love to meet the giraffes

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      It’s a lovely experience, definitely a must! x

      Reply

  2. Jenna

    Great post – I love when zoos have events after their normal hours 🙂 These are some amazing pictures (and it looks like a awesome time!). Thanks for sharing!
    -Jenna <3
    Follow me back? The Chic Cupcake

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you! It is such a fun way to experience the zoo, I would absolutely recommend it 🙂 x

      Reply

  3. Ellie

    London Zoo Nights were top of my summer bucket list for this year and I went back at the start of June (as I couldn’t face waiting like last year) Isn’t it so amazing, and the carnival, childless atmosphere just makes the watering hole sooooo brilliant!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      I agree! It is such a fun thing to do, especially on a Friday evening! I’m going back next year for sure 🙂 x

      Reply

  4. Esther - Little Explorer Adventures

    This sounds like an awesome experience, but if I ever get to do it I’ll have to keep it quiet from my six year old son because I’m sure he’ll be super jealous! Well done for winning the competition! I love Penguins 🐧 😊

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thank you! It’s so much fun, I’m sure you’d love it! If you’d like your son to enjoy it as well, you can always go with him during the day? Not quite the same experience though 🙂 x

      Reply

  5. Kristina

    I would LOVE to go to one of these evenings, it looks like so much fun!

    Love,
    K
    https://ginandbiscuits.co.uk/

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      It’s amazing, try it! x

      Reply

  6. Nic | https://nicbakes.blogspot.com/

    Looks like fun, to see the animals at different times of the day

    Nic | Nic’s Adventures & Bakes

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      It is, isn’t it?

      Reply

  7. Chloe

    Wow this is amazing visiting a zoo at night looks so fun! I visited ZSL a few years ago and it was a really good zoo. Great post x

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thanks so much Chloe!

      Reply

  8. Asher Downer

    Wow this is so cool! I would love to go to a zoo at night! Good post, keep writing x

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Wow, thanks so much Asher!

      Reply

  9. Claire Roberts

    That sounds amazing. Love going the zoo xx

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      I love it too!

      Reply

  10. ThatAutisticFitChick

    That sloth is the cutest! I want to do this so so badly! I’ve never been to London Zoo (I don’t think) but this sounds so amazing and no little kids around to startle me!

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Then you should absolutely go, you’ll have so much fun! x

      Reply

  11. Han

    Omg these photos are epic! I went to a Zoo lates a few years back and it was such a good evening!!

    Han // http://www.behindthefalselashes.com

    Reply

    1. blushrougette

      Thanks so much Han!

      Reply

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