Events & Experiences

What is Edinburgh Zoo's Christmas Nights?

Make your evenings merry and bright this festive season with a magical journey through Edinburgh Zoo! A spectacular light trail will take you on a journey to discover the magic of Christmas spirit and Santa’s time at the zoo.

From Friday 19 November until Sunday 2 January, you can glow around the route with projections, twinkling fairy lights and much more.

Designed for limited visitor numbers with a wide range of safety measures in place, Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights is sure to light up your winter.!

Entry slots are available every 15 minutes from 4.45pm with the last available entry time at 7.30pm for a 9pm finish. Please book online in advance to secure your preferred date and time.

Please note, the 10 December is an adult only evening.

Santa’s Grotto – COMING SOON! 

Feeling especially festive? You can make your visit extra special by booking a trip to meet Santa at his grotto during the trail. Santa will be in his Grotto on event evenings from 19 November – 24 December. Friday 10 December is an adults only night and as such Santa has the night off!

Please note this is an add-on to your tickets for Edinburgh Zoo's Christmas Nights, you must purchase tickets for the evening event along with your tickets to Santa's Grotto.

Visitors who have purchased early bird tickets for Christmas Nights on evenings when the Grotto is open (19 November – 24 December) will receive early access to Grotto bookings before tickets go on sale on Monday 20 September. Early bird tickets are no longer available to purchase.

How long will the event last and what is included?

The event opens each night at 4.45pm for a 9pm finish. Entry slots are available every 15 minutes from 4.45pm with the last available entry time at 7.30pm. No matter when you arrive, you can stay until closing time at 9pm.

The route is approximately a one-mile trail and will take around and hour and a half to complete.

Standard Christmas Nights tickets do not include entry to the zoo during the day. If you wish to visit during the day and attend the event in the evening, please consider buying one of our VIP Package tickets.

VIP Packages

Do I have to book in advance?

EVERYONE is required to book online in advance.

This is important so we can manage our restricted visitor numbers safely.

There are allocated time slots for entry available every 15 minutes from 4.45pm with the last available entry time at 7.30pm – we will only admit visitors during or after their booked time slot if they have advanced online booking confirmation. No matter what time slot you arrive in, everyone can stay until the event ends at 9pm.

Can I change the date of our ticket?

Tickets are non-refundable, non-exchangeable and non-transferable. No refunds or exchanges will be issued for event bookings should you no longer be able to attend.

Tickets can be given to friends or family if you are no longer able to attend, you do not need to be the named person on the booking.

Tickets purchased through third party sellers, such as Groupon and itison, are non-refundable.

Who is the event suitable for?

The event is suitable for all ages, families and couples alike and is designed so that wheelchairs and buggies can get around.

Our Christmas Nights light trail follows a one-mile long route and will take approximately an hour and a half to complete.

We do have some wheelchairs available for hire on arrival. These are available at a first come, first served basis. They must only be used by one visitor per evening, as such will be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Mobility scooters are also permitted during the event.

Please be aware that the zoo is located on a hill and no zoo led mobility vehicle is available during the event. You’re welcome to bring your own mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

How much are tickets?

Please see ticket prices below. Please note that all tickets are subject to a booking fee in addition to the prices listed.

Adult: £18

Child: £12

Member Adult: £14.50

Member Child: £9.50

Carer & U3: Free 

Discounted early bird tickets will be on sale for a limited time only. 

We may run ticketing promotions or discount offers in the lead up to the event through our own channels or with wider partners.

Do under 3's go free?

Yes, children under the age of 3 go free and you can purchase their ticket online through Eventbrite.

What food and drink will be available?

A variety of food and drink offers will be available throughout the event, including hot and cold food, drinks, and snacks.

What is the Christmas Nights VIP Package?

This fabulous VIP package include entry into Edinburgh Zoo for the day, supper at Grasslands restaurant and a head start on your voyage around our Christmas Nights light trail!

After a day at the zoo, you can enjoy an early two course supper at 3.45pm and afterwards be one of the first to head back into the park to see Edinburgh Zoo transformed into a magical festive light trail!

Your VIP package ticket acts as entry into Edinburgh Zoo for the date you have selected. You will not need to pre-book a day visit on our website. The zoo opens at 10am, with last entry at 3pm.  

We cater to a variety of dietary requirements at Grasslands restaurant. From our menu, you will select a main and desert of your choice. You will also receive a complimentary drink (soft or alcoholic for adults), with any additional food or drink orders paid for at the venue.  

For more information, please contact events@rzss.org.uk

Where are tickets available?

Tickets can be booked online through Eventbrite, our ticketing partner from Monday 20 September. We may run offers and promotions through other partners in the lead up to the event. We strongly recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment. Tickets will only be available at the door if there is availability.

Will I see any animals?

It’s very unlikely you’ll see the animals as at that time of year they’ll mostly be in their indoor enclosures where it’s warm! If you’d like to see the animals, you can purchase a reduced-price ticket on the same day as your Edinburgh Zoo Christmas Nights visit. Just present your Christmas Nights ticket on arrival to receive the discount.

What measures are in place to keep visitors safe from Covid-19?

We want visitors to enjoy themselves at the zoo which means safety comes first, and it is important everyone follows the government guidance to protect themselves and others.  

There are a wide range of safety measures in place to protect you, our staff, and our animals. We have reduced the capacity of each time slot, created one-way routes, added hand-sanitising stations and will be asking everyone to wear face coverings in indoor areas. 

Do I need to wear a face mask?

In line with government guidance, face coverings are mandatory in all indoor areas, including our admissions building and gift shop.

Exceptions can be made for children under five years old, people with breathing difficulties and those with disabilities where the use of masks would be distressing or make communication difficult.

Masks are not provided so please do bring one along with you.

Can we use discounts and gift vouchers to purchase tickets?

As this is a special event, we do not accept standard entry discounts such as Blue Peter Badges, ASVA cards, gift vouchers, Young Scot Cards, RZSS Complimentary tickets, daytime corporate tickets, Scotrail Kids go free. Other discounts may also not be redeemed during this event.

Please contact us on events@rzss.org.uk if you have any discount enquiries.

Do I need to print out my tickets?

No, we don’t require you to print your tickets. We can scan them from a mobile device.

I don’t have my ticket confirmation, what should I do?

You should have received an email from Eventbrite directly after booking with your ticket information. If you have not received this, have a look in your junk email folder. You can also log into Eventbrite to find your ticket details. If you’re still having difficulties, email events@rzss.org.uk listing the date you booked, the name and email address you used to book and a contact telephone number.

Will the event go ahead in bad weather?

Please note if it’s raining the event will still go ahead. This is an outdoor, all-weather event. Booked tickets cannot be changed due to adverse weather on the evening.

We would only cancel the event if the weather is deemed unsafe due to high winds or extreme conditions. We will not be able to issue refunds if you choose not to attend and the event is still going ahead. See below if the event has been cancelled.

What happens if my event is cancelled?

Edinburgh Zoo will only cancel an event if it is deemed unsafe to attendees, for example, in high winds. If we decide to cancel the event, attendees will be notified by email with as much notice as possible and a full refund will automatically be issued. An email will be sent to the email address used to book the tickets. It is the responsibility of the attendees to check their emails before arriving at the event to check for any updates, and to make sure email addresses are correctly entered when booking tickets. Updates will also be made on our website and social media sites.

What should I wear?

Please be aware that this is an outdoor event; please dress appropriately for the weather and terrain.

How do I get to the zoo?

Getting to Edinburgh Zoo

Is this event wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the route is designed so that wheelchairs and buggies can get around. We do have some wheelchairs available for hire on arrival. These are available at a first come, first served basis. Mobility scooters are also permitted during the event.

Please be aware that Edinburgh Zoo is on a hill. Unfortunately, our mobility vehicle will not be in operation during this event due to ongoing social distancing restrictions.

Are there cash machines on site?

No there are no cash machines on site. Please note due to Covid-19 we will not be accepting cash payments.

Do I have to pay for car parking?

No, not for this event. Please note, the car park might become busy at times.

Will the gift shop be open?

Our gift shop will remain open until 9.30pm.

Do carers get free entry?

Carers tickets are available through Eventbrite, but you must provide proof on arrival. A maximum of one carer is permitted to enter Edinburgh Zoo free of charge when accompanying someone with additional needs.

How sustainable is this event?

RZSS is a charity committed to the conservation of our natural world. All our operations work to meet the highest levels of sustainability: minimising waste, reducing single-use plastics, reusing materials where possible and segregating and recycling waste.

Are dogs allowed?

With the exception of guide-dogs for the visually impaired, dogs and other pets are not permitted into Edinburgh Zoo for this evening event. We also do not permit dogs to be left unattended in the car park.

Please note:

Only fully trained and accredited assistance dogs, who are assisting a visitor, are permitted to enter. Please bring relevant proof of accreditation as this may be asked for on arrival.

All registered assistance dogs must be up-to-date with all inoculations.

Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times and under strict control.

Dogs must not be allowed to defecate anywhere in the zoo grounds and any incidents should be cleared away by their owners.

What next?

Animal Adoption is a great way to support RZSS, treat yourself or buy as a gift for the animal lover in your life!

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