For the third year now, I have managed to get to the Zoo Nights event held by London Zoo. This year was the first time I had ever been to the zoo in the rain and the first time I had ever experienced the Night Zoo festivities in wet weather. When I saw that rain was forecast for pretty much all of the evening I was disappointed but here in England you cannot be put off by a little rain. With this in mind, we donned summer waterproofs and umbrellas and off we went.
One of the biggest changes for me this year, from 2017 and 2018 was that this year there were a number of protesters outside the parameter of the zoo urging people not to go inside and instead get a refund. They were pretty obnoxiously yelling to people going inside the zoo which made things kind of awkward. There were also a number of (very brave) friendly faced staff members greeting visitors at the gates in light of the protesters.
Once inside, the same exclusions applied as in previous years such as the gorilla enclosure being closed to let the baby sleep. This year there were also a number of animals undergoing health checks on the day of my visit so were not partaking in the Night Zoo activities. These included the warthogs, which I was super keen to see, coming from The Lion King movie earlier that afternoon!
Keeping with the Lion King theme, we did see meerkats and actual lions which were roaring their way into dinner time when we were passing their enclosure. Travelling from the African plains across to Madagascar, one of the first animals we saw this year were the lemurs. They were out and extremely active this year which was lovely to see as in previous years they had always been inside. Not too far behind the lemurs, we got to see some of the otters all curled up and about to sleep (I think), which were just the cutest. The otters are always so active at the zoo during the day, playing in the water and on a slide they just seem to love – it is oh so very cute!
We were lucky enough to see the famous Elios, the new baby sloth at the zoo, who was cuddled up ever so cutely with momma for the evening in the rainforest part of the zoo. Also in this area was a number of very active bats (which I am not a huge fan of), birds, mice, shrews/weasles and small monkeys. Similar to the sloths and in the news on a regular basis are the penguins, especially the famous gay penguin couple at the zoo. Active as ever, the penguins always seem to make people smile come rain or shine.
One of the most interactive areas of the zoo is the farmyard, where a number of large pigs, donkeys, alpacas, turkeys, goats, parrots, rabbits and much more can be found. Each time I visit the zoo I am fond of petting the goats (and always a little apprehensive of the angry looking turkey!)
One of the highlights of zoo nights, at least in terms of how it varies from the zoo in the day time, is the presence of all of the food stalls. A big fan of the souvlaki that is often there and the hotdogs, this year we opted for a change! We picked out an Arepa, a South American maize dough bun, filled with spicy chicken, spring onions and tomato salsa.
After more exploring, we reverted back to the waterhole for a savoury crepe, mine being filled with ham, cheese and a red onion chutney and my Mr opting for an egg and cheese variant. The crepe stand was also cranking out divine looking Nutella crepes so we grabbed one of these to split before heading for the train home.
It is a truly lovely experience at the zoo year after year, although I still did not get to see the warthogs! You can read about my Night Zoo experience of 2018 here. Have you ever been to London Zoo Nights or something similar in a zoo local to you/? What did you think?