Date and time

Selected dates from Fri 13 Nov - Wed 23 Dec

Price

Child tickets start from £13.50 Adult tickets start from £16 Children aged 2 and under enter free of charge

Location

Chester Zoo

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The Lanterns at Chester Zoo is back for another MAGICAL year, and is set to be more enchanting than ever.

We’ve carefully planned this year’s event to keep you safe, but we’re sure you’ll have the same memorable Chester Zoo experience.

For more information please see our FAQs page here.

All tickets purchased for The Lanterns are vital in our survival and supports us in our mission of preventing extinction.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping to Save Our Zoo.

A STARLIT CHRISTMAS…

Join us for The Lanterns as we transform the zoo into a spectacular wonderland, full of sparkle, delight, a sprinkling of snow and some unexpected festive encounters!

Escape to our eleven fantastical worlds, each different from the last, that will take you on an illuminating adventure like no other! Be immersed in this magical and uniquely Chester Zoo evening event that’s inspired by some of our favourite festive family tales, giving you the chance to see the zoo in a whole new light.

This year’s route will take you on a journey to discover faraway lands that will have your imagination running wild, each filled to the brim with colourful lanterns, spectacular costumed characters and Christmas scenes.

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You’ll be welcomed by the magical glow of the moon and stars, that will have you feeling as though you’re soaring through a dreamy moonlit sky. You’ll then set off Over the Rainbow into the dramatic and POWERFUL world of The Observatory where planets will hover above you!
After then dancing your way through the black and white grasses of Zebra Grasslands, meander through our vibrant Cactus Desert where you’ll be met with an exotic world of colour and movement. Your path will be lit by glowing cacti, frogs and colour changing chameleon characters.

Then, as the winter night draws in, look out for the spectacular Beyond the Sunset which will be a dramatic centrepiece in the heart of the zoo that will fill you with a warm and gentle glow. This space will be filled to the brim with dazzling animal lanterns – species that can only be found in the African Savannah – surrounded by lit trees and glowing grasses. Keep your eyes peeled for a few fascinating nocturnal animal characters that only come out to play when it goes dark.

Be sure to follow the twinkling star constellations as you take the Second Star to the Right to continue your journey through enchanting lands, leading you to Walking In The Air

Making a return this year will be the popular Underwater world which will transport you to the bottom of the sea where you’ll discover a HUGE breath-taking, show-stopping octopus that will leave you in awe.

We promise you’ll leave with memories that last a lifetime.

Seeing, truly is believing…

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Brought to you by Wild Rumpus

TICKETS

Child tickets start from £13.50
Adult tickets start from £16
Children aged 2 and under enter free of charge

Selected dates from Friday 13 November – Wednesday 23 December

To make The Lanterns as safe and as magical as possible we’re offering timed tickets that give entry every 15 minutes from 4pm to 8:15pm.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I book my ticket?

Tickets for The Lanterns are available online here.

What dates are available for The Lanterns?

The Lanterns will take place on various dates from Friday 13 November – Wednesday 23 December. Check the latest availability for all of our dates, here.

What are the opening and closing times for The Lanterns?

To make The Lanterns as safe and as magical as possible we’re offering time tickets giving entry every 15 minutes. When you book you will be able to select your preferred session time, from 4pm to 8:15pm. The last entry for The Lanterns is 8:15pm and the zoo will close at 9:30pm.

If you’re visiting the zoo during the day you’ll need to go back to the main entrance at 3.30pm when the zoo closes and wait for your arrival time for Lanterns so we recommend booking an earlier session time to avoid having to wait around. Please ensure you have bought a separate zoo admission ticket, or you have a valid member’s card if you want to visit during the day. You can buy your zoo tickets using the ‘BOOK NOW’ tab above.

What is The Lanterns?

Now in our ninth year, The Lanterns is our traditional Christmas event offering a wondrous night time journey around the zoo; with all of the spectacle and magic that our lanterns provide and some unexpected festive encounters too.

Join us for The Lanterns as we transform the zoo into a spectacular wonderland, full of sparkle, delight, a sprinkling of snow and some unexpected festive encounters!

Escape to our eleven fantastical worlds, each different from the last, that will take you on an illuminating adventure like no other! Be immersed in this magical and uniquely Chester Zoo evening event that’s inspired by some of our favourite festive family tales, giving you the chance to see the zoo in a whole new light.

The journey around the zoo takes approximately 60 minutes and there are lots of lovely festive feasts for you to enjoy as you travel around.

How much does it cost?

Prices for The Lanterns range from £16 – £18.50 for adults and £13.50 – £16 for children, depending on the day that you choose to visit. Under 3s and carers come free but please remember to book them a ticket. You can find out the price for the day you’d like to visit here.

If you are visiting with a free carer please bring proof of entitlement with you when you visit. Thanks!

How can you ensure that the event will be safe?

Since the coronavirus pandemic began our main priority has been to ensure you can visit safely and The Lanterns will be no different. We’ve made some adjustments to the event this year to ensure that there is less interaction with people and we’ve dramatically reduced the number of visitors to the zoo each evening to help with social distancing.

We won’t have any lanterns to give out on the evenings but you are really welcome to bring your own or buy a Christmas gift in the shop. To see the rest of our safety advice and read our visitor charter, which lists the things that we need from you, here.

We ask that everyone does their bit to help us by following the social distancing rules and enabling people to stay 2 metres apart wherever possible particularly when buying food and drink and moving around the route.
Please be aware that things might change as government guidance changes so please keep checking back and we’ll let you know of anything that might affect your visit before the night of the event.

How will I get my tickets?

If you book online then you’ll receive an email from us with your booking confirmation attached. Bring this booking confirmation with you on the night of your visit to get entry to the zoo.

I’m a member do I get a discount?

As this is a special event outside of our usual opening hours members and non-members pay the same price. Events like The Lanterns help us to raise valuable funds to enable Chester Zoo to continue to invest in our mission and the zoo. We really appreciate your support, especially after a really difficult time and we’re sure you’ll be delighted with the experience we’ve planned this year.

What are the parking arrangements?

There is ample FREE parking at the main entrance to the zoo.

Which parts of the zoo will be open?

The Lanterns follows a specific route around the zoo from elephant bridge, around to The Oakfield and back to the main entrance via the wooden cheetah bridge. We will have food and drink stalls and shopping opportunities available as part of the route. Please ensure that you stick to the route for your safety.

What animals will I see?

On a winter evening the majority of our animals will be tucked up in their indoor houses for the night. We won’t be opening any of our animal houses as it’s really important to us that we don’t disrupt them. The focus for the event will be the amazing lanterns which have been inspired by the natural world. A completely different night time adventure.

What if there is really bad weather?

Wrap up warm and bring your waterproof clothes and we’re sure you’ll still have a wonderful time and make precious memories that last a lifetime. If we have very extreme weather we may need to cancel and we’ll be sure to be in touch with you by email (as soon as possible) if this happens. You can find out more about this in our terms and conditions here.

Will I be able to take photos?

Yes, absolutely and please do share them with us on social media.

Can I bring my own food?

We’ll have lots of delicious food and drink options available to buy on the night but you are more than welcome to bring your own if you would prefer to. We just ask that you don’t bring any alcohol to the zoo with you.

How do I get to the zoo?

Find out more about travel options here

What if I can’t visit because I’m self-isolating or in the case of a local or national lockdown because of coronavirus?

Generally our tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable but we are aware that there are some coronavirus measures that may mean that you need to cancel at short notice. Also, there may be a risk that we have to cancel if affected by a local or national lockdown. In both of these situations we’ll be in touch to discuss ways that we can exchange your booking for another visit in the future.