Zoo Lates at ZSL London Zoo

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A mobile bar at London Zoo Lates

As I alluded to on the new, super-shiny Here To Geneva Facebook & Twitter feeds, last week we visited ZSL London Zoo to check out their ‘Zoo Lates’ event. Running every Friday night until the end of July (plus a bonus night in August), ‘Zoo Lates’ is a chance for adults to enjoy all the zoo has to offer without having to worry about or be distracted by children.

After having our bags checked by the most cheerful security team we’ve ever encountered, we headed in and immediately sought out one of the many bars that are dotted around the park. We were keen to enjoy the freedom of wandering around a zoo with a cool cider in hand while we could. Thirst suitably quenched, we wandered around from exhibit to exhibit, occasionally having to remove our animal-themed head wear so as not to upset the inhabitants.

A tiger naps in front of crowds at London Zoo Lates
A tiger naps in front of crowds at London Zoo Lates
A mobile bar at London Zoo Lates
A mobile bar at London Zoo Lates
Visitors enjoy the after-work entertainment at London Zoo Lates
Visitors enjoy the after-work entertainment at London Zoo Lates

The new multi-million pound ‘Tiger Territory’ was impressive and drew a great deal of attention. The crowd pressed their noses to the glass, held their smartphones in anticipation and craned their necks for a chance to glimpse and photograph one of the big cats. London Zoo has been around since 1828 so space is very much at a premium, but every effort is made and every penny raised is spent wisely to ensure the animals are as happy and comfortable as possible.

While viewing and learning about the animals is the most important part of ‘Zoo Lates’, there was plenty more to keep us entertained. There was a stand-up comedy den, a silent disco, an acoustic music stage and an amphitheatre housing a ‘cavalcade of musical comedy, dance and cabaret’. There was also a food festival where London finest street food hawkers had set up shop selling a very large variety of scrumptious food. There was so much going on in fact that it was a struggle to see everything. We took into consideration the early closing times of some exhibits (some as early as 8.30pm) and tried to plan our route through the zoo accordingly, but we were still surprised and disappointed to be denied entry a couple of times to some exhibits. While we fully appreciated that some animals went to bed earlier than the event’s finish time of 10pm, we still couldn’t help feeling a little bit rushed.

Street food at London Zoo Lates
Street food at London Zoo Lates
Visitors enjoy the ambiance as night falls at London Zoo Lates
Visitors enjoy the ambiance as night falls at London Zoo Lates

That said, we really enjoyed ourselves at ‘Zoo Lates’. The atmosphere was fun and laid back, the food was varied and delicious, the cider was refreshing and crisp and the animals were absolutely brilliant. We couldn’t recommend this unique event enough.

If you’re lucky, you might be able to find a special deal on tickets somewhere on the net. Otherwise tickets are available to buy on the ZSL website, where you can also find much more information.


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