Going to the zoo…later

It appears that London Zoo (I refuse to call it by its more recent name ‘ZSL – London Zoo’) has finally worked out how to get adults interested in zoology. Basically, it boils down to keeping the park open after office hours; banning children; encouraging grown ups to act like children; and providing booze. Not really rocket science…

Zoo Lates is a rather genius idea which turned out to be a sell-out success last summer. The premise really is quite simple. Close the zoo to its usual clientele (families) and market it at 20-somethings who want to connect with their inner-child, while drinking Pimm’s and dressing up as their animal of choice. When tickets went on sale this summer, quick thinking Jenni had already organised a group of zoo-goers and a suitable date, meaning we got our tickets for a bargainous £10 each. One of the main reasons why I haven’t been back to the zoo since I was a Brownie was because I had it in my head as being prohibitively expensive (a glance at the website reveals this wasn’t a misconception – an adult peak ticket costs £23.00), so £10 for a night out seemed like a good deal.

You could, if you wanted to, spend your evening at the zoo rushing around looking at all the animals before their 9pm bedtime. Or, you could decide to go to a few specific events – like the Giraffe Q&A (I’m gutted we missed that as I’ve always wanted to know what noise giraffes make, and perhaps one of the giraffes could have told me). Or, you could ignore all the animals and simply drink Pimm’s, have your face painted and dance at a silent disco…

We did something of a combination of the three. We kicked off with a picnic that probably went on too long, but we were over excited at being reunited for the first time in months. Pimm’s was drunk while sat in Pimm’s branded double deckchairs. Adults dressed as animals were laughed at (as were men in suits and women in stilettos, it was a zoo!) and animals were visited – but we left too little time before bedtime. Basically, we returned from one of the world’s best zoos having seen penguins, giraffes, a zebra and some otters – not really an impressive tally, but the penguins and giraffes were terrifically exciting!

The penguins were especially exciting and we learnt an awful lot. (In the photo above, the two women in green shirts are demonstrating how tall an Emperor Penguin is – did you know they were that big?!) We even made slight fools of ourselves by waving at Jenni & Gill’s mum via the webcam (she’s a big fan of the penguin beach webcam, so was warned when we were nearby so she could be ready to watch), but we didn’t volunteer to dress up as penguins – unlike others.

Talking of making fools of ourselves, the posting of photos from the evening on Facebook has revealed just how idiotic I can be at times. While taking the photo below, Gill suggested that we all act like tigers. As you can see from the photo, only I responded to the suggestion. As everyone else was behind me, I had no idea that I was going solo until the photo appeared online. Joyous. Always love looking like a total twit! (And yes, I know I don’t look much like a tiger either.)

Can I add that the drink in my hand is not mine and I had actually consumed no alcohol at this point.

Next summer, we have a cunning plan…
1. It will be better weather. (Yes, it will!)
2. We either won’t eat till later, or we’ll eat before we get there – picnicking took up valuable animal watching time.
3. We still won’t dress up as animals, but I’ll check I’m in the majority when doing animal impressions…


  1. Sounds like a fun evening. Always want to go to a Zoo lates.
    When I worked in the zoo kids often asked the giraffe noise question – they don’t generally make any noise, baby giraffes can ‘bleat’ and mummy giraffes sometimes call for their little ones…but that is about it – they do sometimes make the odd snuffling sound, but not really a proper vocalisation.
    I’ve never heard a giraffe make a noise…and I spent a lot of time visiting them!

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