Visitors arrived at ZSL London Zoo today (Wednesday 2 December) to find the world-famous zoo transformed into a festive wonderland – four weeks after it closed to the public for the second time this year.
Eager visitors formed a socially distanced queue to enter the iconic 36-acre park, before excitedly following the carefully mapped out nature routes laid out across the site - brightly decorated to bring Christmas cheer to a nation emerging from lockdown.
Standing two metres apart, the public enjoyed following the Zoo’s festive trail and visiting the Zoo’s popular zoo residents, including Western lowland gorillas Mjukuu, Effie, Gernot and Alika, Sumatran tiger Asim and the lively Humboldt penguin colony at Penguin Beach.
Santa popped up throughout the day to wave to visitors from afar - on his way to collect Christmas letters from the Zoo’s special Santa Postbox - while children became elves-in-training, following the Zoo’s new themed trail to find out what the animals want for Christmas.
Kathryn England, Chief Operating Officer for ZSL London Zoo, said: “We know that after a month indoors people are more than ready for some Christmas cheer – we’ve transformed our 36 acres of space into the perfect outdoor location for families to safely get into the festive spirit, with giant animal light sculptures, brightly-decorated Christmas trees and our famous carousel all lit up and ready to ride.”
The Zoo will be open no matter what tier London is in, making it a guaranteed Christmas day out for those looking to plan some festive fun this December. A one-way system remains in place, with the prescribed routes ensuring guests remain socially distanced, while getting to explore the whole zoo and its decorations. Catering outlets are takeaway only, and all payments will be contactless.
“While the Zoo has reopened as a much-needed safe space to enjoy a Christmas day out, it does not signal the end of our fundraising efforts,” added Kathryn.
“We’ve now spent 15 weeks of 2020 closed to the public, meaning we’ve lost out on millions of pounds, raised by vital ticket sales, which funds our important work - so we really hope that we’ll continue to receive the heart-warming support we’ve seen from the public so far.”