Giant Lanterns FAQ

How long will the event last and what is included?

The lantern route is a one-mile long loop and will take approximately an hour and a half to complete depending on walking speed. You will see stunning lantern displays throughout the route, some of which are huge impressive structures and some of which as smaller animal lanterns, all beautifully hand-crafted by Chinese artists using traditional techniques. Food and drink stalls will be located along the route.

Why do I need to choose a time slot?

The event takes place each night from 4.45pm – 9pm but will take around an hour and a half to complete so we ask that you pick an arrival time. Slots are available every 15 minutes from 4.45pm with the last available entry time at 7.30pm for an 9pm finish. Guests arriving for the 7.30pm slot are asked to leave by 9pm when the Zoo closes. If you’d like longer than 1.5 hours, please choose an earlier time slot.

What time can I get into the event?

Please aim to arrive for your chosen time slot. The zoo will open at 4:45pm and last entry will be 7:45pm with the event closing at 9pm.

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! This event takes in the majesty of the lantern sculptures set in a beautiful horticultural site. If you’d like to see the animals, you can purchase a reduced-price ticket on the same day as your lanterns visit. Just present your lanterns ticket on arrival to receive the discount.

Are the lanterns the same as last year?

No, the lanterns are brand new for 2019 and we have developed a really exciting new theme for this year's event: Lost Worlds! We are delighted to confirm that the Giant Lanterns event will be back with bite this winter at Edinburgh Zoo. The brand new, and totally roar-some theme, will take you on a journey back in time to discover who roamed the earth before us!

Who is the event suitable for?

The event is suitable for all ages, families, couples and groups alike. 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.

We are a group, can we all come together?

Yes, groups are welcome to come along together. There is good availability per time slot, so it is very likely you’ll find a time to book together. There is a 10% discount for adult groups of 10 or more – just select the group ticket option when booking online. Please email ([email protected]) if you’d like to check timeslot availability and pricing for larger groups (100+ people)

Do under 3's go free?

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

Where are tickets available?

Tickets can be booked online through Eventbrite, our ticketing partner. 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. On the day ticket prices begin 24 hours before the event start time.

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 below.

Ticket type Full price (walk up)    Online advance Peak Online advance Off Peak*
Adult £20.00  £18.00 £17.00
Child  £9.95  £9.50  £8.50

* Off Peak dates are: 4th/5th/9th/11th/12th/18th/19th Dec only.

Groups of 10 or more adults get a 10% discount on the online advance tickets. For travel trade bookings, please contact [email protected].

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

RZSS members receive 25% off tickets to the Giant Lanterns of China event with a valid membership card.

Can we use discounts and gift vouchers to purchase lantern 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, day time corporate tickets, Scotrail Kids go free. Other discounts may also not be redeemed during this event. Please contact us on [email protected] if you have any discount enquiries.

I have received a complimentary/reduced price voucher, how do I redeem this?

Use the code given to you when you visit the Eventbrite page. Only one code can be used per transaction – please see the small print on your voucher for more information.

Please note that when using your discount codes, these can only be applied to our standard Adult and Child entry tickets and not the Advanced tickets as these are already at a discounted rate.

Does my Lanterns ticket include day entry? If I would like to come during the day and at night, how can I book both?

Please note once you purchase your Lantern ticket(s) this does not include your entry to the Zoo for the day as well.

However, If you’d like to visit the zoo in the daytime, you can purchase a reduced-price ticket on the same day as your lanterns visit. With your lanterns ticket, an Adult is £10 and a Child is £5. Just present your lanterns ticket on arrival to receive the discount. The zoo will close at 4pm and you will be required to leave and re-enter for the lantern festival at 4:45pm. 

Alternatively, if you have purchased a Zoo day entry ticket and you would like to come along to the lanterns in the evening, you can also upgrade on the door for £10 per Adult and £5 per Child to come to the same evening’s lantern event.

Please be aware that we do have an event capacity, so this is dependent on there being space for that evening, and bear in mind that our lantern event does not run every night. Please check our website, to confirm that the Giant Lanterns event will be on for the evening you are looking for.

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 [email protected] 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?

If it’s raining the event will still go ahead. We would only cancel the event if the weather is deemed unsafe due to high winds or extreme conditions. See below if the event has been cancelled.

What happens if my event is cancelled?

RZSS 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. Attendees will be able to rebook another date subject to availability. 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.

Tickets purchased through third party sellers such as Groupon and itison are refundable however, this needs to be approved, please email [email protected] with your request.

What should I wear?

Please be aware that this is an outdoor winter event in Scotland, so please dress appropriately.

Is this event wheelchair and buggy accessible?

Yes, the route is designed so that wheelchairs and buggies can get around. We do have some wheelchairs and pushchairs 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. There will not be a mobility vehicle in operation at these events as the route encompasses some smaller pathways not accessible by vehicles.

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.

I have luggage, where can I leave it?

We have a small number of lockers for hire at the Zoo where you can leave bags. These are available on a first come, first served basis. We don’t have facilities to store large suitcases. Please follow the link below for more information

How do I get to the Zoo?

Have a look at our webpage for details on how to get to the Zoo for this event:

Are there cash machines on site?

No there are no cash machines on site. Some of the restaurants and kiosks take card payments, but please bring cash with you to avoid any disappointment.

Do I have to pay for car parking?

Yes, car parking is charged at £2 per vehicle. Please be aware that during busy nights, the car park might get busy.

What food and drink will be available?

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

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.

Are dogs allowed?

With the exception of guide-dogs for the visually impaired, dogs and other pets are not permitted into Edinburgh Zoo for the Giant Lanterns 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.

Get our latest offers, animal stories & event news straight to your inbox!