Chester Zoo has released a sneak peek at some of its gigantic new plans for its newly reimagined Lanterns and Light trail. The much-loved wintertime celebration will see visitors discover an incredible light trail set in the 128 acre zoo, lit up by hundreds of colourful illuminated animal lanterns. Guests will also encounter a selection of costumed characters including the main man, Father Christmas.

Father Christmas at Chester Zoo Lantern and Lighst

This year the zoo has teamed up with Sony Music to add festive soundscapes and a selection of groundbreaking installations. Taking centre stage will be a giant, four-metre-tall, interactive 3D woolly mammoth hologram which will be appearing at the zoo in a world first.

Other sparkly new features include an ultraviolet walkway with luminous animal faces, colour-changing rainforests, illuminated dolphins that seem to leap from moats and waterways, a huge fire garden, as well as a variety of fairground rides and Christmas market stalls.

Fairground rides at Lanterns and Light Chester Zoo

The dazzling display has previously received widespread public acclaim, with funds raised from ticket sales supporting the zoo’s charitable conservation mission to help nature survive and thrive. Gemma Wright, Senior Admissions & Membership Manager at the zoo, said: “There’re only three weeks to go until we kick off the festive period with the biggest, brightest and most spectacular light trail ever staged at Chester Zoo.

“This year we’ve incorporated some of the latest 3D technology and we’ll be debuting a world first hologram that’s been specially created just for us and our guests. Visitors will be in awe as they come face-to-face with a giant, life-sized woolly mammoth along with all of our exciting new additions.

“We’ll also be bringing back some family favourites from years gone by, including hundreds of colourful animal lanterns, joyful interactive puppets and Father Christmas himself who will be spreading his festive cheer!

“Importantly though, Lanterns and Light is not only a fabulous way for people to make incredible memories while getting into the spirit of Christmas – it helps our charity zoo continue to ensure some of the world’s most threatened species survive and thrive for generations to come.

Life sized pea light giraffe

Tickets are now on sale for Lanterns and Light which is scheduled to run across 33 special evenings from Friday 17 November to Sunday 31 December 2023, with entry slots from 4pm – 8pm. To book tickets or to find out more, visit


Chester Zoo
Animal Collection
Giraffes, Chester Zoo

A visit to Cheshire isn’t complete without a trip to the UK’s number one zoo. Chester Zoo is home to over 27,000 endangered and exotic animals based in beautiful, award-winning zoological gardens.



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