zoo lates | this city life

Fun times at Zoo Lates, ZSL London Zoo

I love London Zoo, so bagged early tickets to their Zoo Lates summer event as soon as they announced they’d be doing them again this year. I missed out on the festivities last year so made sure I wasn’t going to miss it again! Every Friday in June and July, ZSL London Zoo open their doors after hours for an over 18 only night out with a difference.

Zoo Lates ZSL London Zoo

It’s a shame the sunny weather didn’t hold out, but that didn’t stop people from having fun! I actually really enjoyed walking around the enclosures without having to let kids stand in front of me or be moved along by buggies. We got to be selfish for a change.

Zoo Lates Galapagos Tortoise ZSL London Zoo

My favourite animals ever are turtles and tortoises so I was most pleased with a front row view of the Galapagos tortoise feeding time, where we got to see Dirk tucking into some lettuce and then enjoying a dessert of (ahem) his lady tortoise friend – that got a few giggles from the audience. Who needed real kids at the zoo anyway?!

Then we headed over to Penguin Beach for the most popular show of the evening – the penguins! We were told that it was way past their bedtime but a few of them had stayed up for an extra swim and snack. We were introduced to Ricky the Rockhopper, London Zoo’s most famous penguin. He’s got a lot of celebrity fans apparently, but he still found a minute to pose for a photo for me. He even has his own Facebook page!

Zoo Lates Ricky Rockhopper ZSL London Zoo

One of the best things about Zoo Lates is that you can dress up and get your face painted, and not feel stupid for doing so! We saw people in monkey and tiger onesies, elephant hats, lion masks…everything that the kids usually wear. I figured there would be some dressing up, so painted my nails for the occasion…

Zoo Lates Anna Maes at ZSL London Zoo

Oh, that’s the mac ‘n’ cheese we found there too, by Anna Maes. I spied the stall as soon as we arrived in the food area, and could see it was going to good from the massive queue! It was the tastiest mac ‘n’ cheese I’ve had in a long time, so if you ever see their stall go and try something!

There were plenty of bars dotted around the zoo, including a Pimm’s tent with a blues band playing until closing as well as the food stalls, and a Just Dance area with a silent disco. Improvised comedy shows were going on in the aquarium, and a cabaret with a difference in the amphitheatre.

Silent disco Zoo Lates ZSL London Zoo

We had such a good evening, next time it might be an idea to make a group outing of it.

Charley is a professional copywriter and tea-lover currently living in Leeds. She writes about city living and city travel (with a few cats thrown in).

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