Given that I used to work for ZSL London Zoo when I was at uni, I have a special spot in my heart for the Zoo. So when I was invited by Love Pop Ups London to come along and review the ZSL Zoo Nights, I immediately said yes!
*Full disclosure, my evening at ZSL including the crazy golf, was free in return for this review via Love Pop Ups London. All opinions remain my own*
ZSL Zoo Nights are back!
What are ZSL Zoo Nights?
Do you ever fantasize about visiting that child magnet, ZSL London Zoo, without children around? If the answer is yes, then Zoo Nights are made for you! Held after normal London Zoo hours, ZSL Zoo Nights allow the adults to have all the fun, without worrying about disturbing any children (by this I mean you can drink undisturbed by kids!) It’s been around for a few years, the last time I did a ZSL Zoo Night I was in my late 20’s and on a date. So what are the ZSL Zoo Nights like in 2019?
What’s included in your ZSL Zoo Night ticket?
You get entry into London Zoo and access to most of the animal exhibits (the Gorillas were off limits when I visited, due to them having a little baby – we wouldn’t want to disturb baby sleep time!).
There is a full programme of live talks you can attend, from 7pm through to 8:45pm, including Penguin Beach, Megabugs, Giraffe Supper Time, Lions and Owl meet and Greet. We also spotted snakes and lizards in the Reptile House. Check out the ones we saw:
As we walked through the Land of Lions we saw Gir Lion Lodge:
We also spotted snakes and lizards in the Reptile House before that closed for the evening. There are some other activities going on not by the animal enclosures:
I enjoyed this a lot, it was like being kids again, crawling inside the belly of the Whale to learn about turtles and plastic in the oceans.
The Light Lounge
Based on the Main Lawn we saw the aerial acrobats on the trapeze, whilst sitting in deck chairs.
There are plenty of deck chairs and bean bags to sit on and enjoy the entertainment, a drink or a free Magnum (see below!)
I didn’t see this when I visited, but apparently the keepers bring out some of the animals to meet you on the Display Lawn. Pygmy Goats are meant to be the highlight!
Transformation Station & Face Painting
Even adults love having their faces painted! Whilst I didn’t spot this when I visited, this is located by the World Food Market/Lawn. I saw plenty of people walking around with their faces done up.
Check out live acoustic sessions over by B.U.G.S, where they have an outside stage:
In addition there is stand up comedy 9-9:30pm in the Terrace Restaurant and then Zooniversity Challenge quiz 9:30-10pm in the Terrace Restaurant too.
The Zoo closes at 10pm with last orders at 9:45pm.
Additional paid activities:
Plonk Crazy Golf
New for 2019 is the Plonk mini golf course. As part of this review I got to try it out for free and it was a LOT of fun!
The course is all animal themed and the holes are very tricky. I haven’t done any mini golf for a long while, so didn’t have the tricks to get a *good* score.
Inside the Night Cave where Tiva’s skillz were *almost* a hole in one!
Silent walking tours
Whilst we didn’t do a tour, we saw groups of people wearing headsets walking around the zoo. Tours are £10 each and you can do ‘You’ll never see a moon-walking Emu’ full of fascinating animal facts, or ‘The Birds and the Bees’. I’m sure you can guess what the second one is about!
Food & Drink
Most of the food offering was centered around the main courtyard. They have a mix of different street food stalls at the World Food Market, so you are sure to find something you’ll like. I plumped for Venezuelan arepas – corn patties filled with pork, cheese and other delicacies (veggie and vegan options are available at most stalls).
As well as our savoury food, we picked up a free vegan Magnum from the Magnum garden opposite the Main Lawn. They say that there are limited supplies each evening – so get in early to claim your free one!
We also picked up some Rose wine in a can from one of the Watering Hole outposts near the Lions.
This wasn’t as successful, so I stuck to drinking water brought in my insulated water bottle. There are plenty of places at the Zoo where you can refill water bottles, however they don’t sell any drinks in plastic bottles any more – so if you buy water, it comes in a can!
ZSL Zoo Nights are still a great night out, both for friend groups and for those I saw on dates. It’s a lot of fun being able to ‘play’ in the Zoo and embrace your inner child without any *real* children being around. They have plenty of things to entertain you and to make this different to a usual day out at the Zoo (apart from not having kids around that is!). I appreciated the food selection at the World Food Market – there was literally something for everyone there. I wouldn’t recommend the Rose wine, but there were lots of other beverages available. One thing to note is that you can’t bring your own food and drink in – there are bag searches on entry – but water bottles are fine.
For £20 for 4 hours of fun, this well priced for a different kind of night out in London!
ZSL London Zoo is running Zoo Nights over the longer hours of light in the Summer, so check out their website above to see what Fridays you can book on.
You can get to ZSL London Zoo from Camden Town tube + 15 minutes walking, Regents Park tube + 25 minutes walking, or you can get the 274 bus to get closer with less walking.