ZSL Zoo Nights – London Zoo After Dark

Flamingos at London Zoo

Have you ever wondered what happens at ZSL London Zoo when the sun goes down? 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 obvioulsy 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, Wild Yoga where you can learn about animal named poses, Stand Up Comedy and even a Superhero Trail where you can discover the unique skills of each animal!

Lemur at London ZooPygmy Hippo 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

Street Food stands at ZSL Zoo Nights, 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.

Tiger at London ZooPenguin 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.

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!


ZSL London Zoo | Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY, London, UK

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  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


    1. blushrougette

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


  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


    1. blushrougette

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


  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!


    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


  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 🐧 😊


    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


  5. Kristina

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



    1. blushrougette

      It’s amazing, try it! x


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

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

    Nic | Nic’s Adventures & Bakes


    1. blushrougette

      It is, isn’t it?


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