Edinburgh Zoo Giant Lanterns: when is it on and how to get tickets for Scotland’s only Chinese lantern event

Lost Worlds will feature titanic creations like a T-Rex and a 65-foot snake. Picture: Sin Addison/ RZSS
Lost Worlds will feature titanic creations like a T-Rex and a 65-foot snake. Picture: Sin Addison/ RZSS
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Edinburgh Zoo is bringing back its award-winning Giant Lanterns event this winter.

After last year's success, the luminescent event will return this winter with a brand new, prehistoric theme.

Careful! Those took over a hundred hours to make. Picture: Sin Addison/ RZSS

Careful! Those took over a hundred hours to make. Picture: Sin Addison/ RZSS

Here's everything you need to know about the only Chinese lantern festival in Scotland.

What is the Giant Lanterns Event?
Last year, Edinburgh Zoo was aglow thanks to hundreds of hand-crafted Chinese lanterns in the shape of mythical creatures, drawn from Scottish and Chinese folklore.

In addition to the huge range of wildlife usually on display, the zoo also briefly became the home to unicorns, kelpies and, of course, the Loch Ness Monster.

The display involved over 200 Chinese artists working for 100 days, and made use of about 50,000 metres of fabric and some 80,000 LED lights.

The only Chinese lantern festival in Scotland returns this November. Picture: Sin Addison/ RZSS

The only Chinese lantern festival in Scotland returns this November. Picture: Sin Addison/ RZSS

Read More: In pictures - Chinese lanterns dazzle at Edinburgh Zoo’s magical night trail

This year, the event returns bigger and better than ever – bumping the number of lanterns from 450 to somewhere beyond 600.

This time around, the focus has switched from the animals that our ancestors dreamt up, to the ancestors of our present day animals – the dinosaurs.

Set 570 million years in the past, the display will guide visitors on an evolutionary journey from the humble beginnings of a few glittering microbes, to the awesome spectacles of the terrible lizards themselves.

While the on-going Jurassic Park movie series is testament to our evergreen fascination with the giants that once roamed our planet, now is an especially fitting time to reflect on them.

Edinburgh Zoo's events and experiences manager Lyndy Donaldson says: “Giant Lanterns - Lost Worlds will offer visitors the opportunity to discover the amazing creatures that once lived on our planet and help us raise awareness of the very real threat of extinction faced today by endangered species around the world.”

Read More: Jurassic Park at 25: how a dinosaur supervisor created its iconic effects and scenes

When is it?

Giant Lanterns – Lost Worlds will run for 47 nights, from 15 November to 26 January.

You can enter any time between 4.45pm and 7.30pm.

How much does it cost?

Tickets for Giant Lanterns Lost Worlds start at £8.50 for children aged 3-16 and £17 for adults. Children under 3 enter free.

You can get tickets on the door, but you're encouraged to book online in advance to secure your preferred date and time.

Members of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland will receive a discount and group deals are also available.

You can purchase tickets online now on Edinburgh Zoo's website.

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How do I get there?

There is a high frequency bus services from Edinburgh city centre, with two bus stops outside the zoo's front entrance.

Lothian Bus 12, 26 and 31 services all stop outside and can be picked up near both Haymarket and Waverley Station or in the city centre.

The 100 Airlink service also stops regularly outside the front entrance and operates between Edinburgh Airport and the city centre.

For those arriving from outside the city, full information on trains to Edinburgh can be found at Trainline. Buses are available from either Edinburgh Waverley or Haymarket.

The Zoo is also very close to Carrick Knowe cycle route (access from Downie Grove), which connects to most of the city. To work out your best route, see the Spokes Edinburgh Cycle Map.

Just Eat Cycles provide bikes to rent at various locations across Edinburgh, and full details can be found here.

Where can I stay?

Edinburgh boasts a wide range of accommodation options, from Airbnbs to hostels and hotels.

The Edinburgh Zoo website offers a selection of recommended hotels, ideally situated for those visiting the zoo.