Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Lantern Magic lights up Chester Zoo.

Lantern Magic lights up Chester Zoo.
 By Emma-louise Rawlinson and Claire Henderson
Tuesday 27 November 2012 

CHESTER Zoo, home to over 8000 animals and 400 different species is host to an astonishing Christmas event named ‘Lantern Magic’. Families can walk around the zoo in the dark hours carrying their handmade lanterns amongst a trail of wondrous lights and life sized animal lanterns. 

The Lantern Magic walk trail is 0.75 miles each way with the experience lasting up to an hour. A lantern workshop for the children provides them with their own mini-lantern to guide their way, as well as large lanterns for the rest of the family. 

Staff are spread out around the zoo to guide you in the right direction, as some of the areas of the zoo won’t be open. For safety reasons they ask the public to keep to the trail. The Fruit Bat Forest is open until 19:30pm. 

Families can collect their glow in the dark star from Mother Christmas and place it on the Cedar Wish Tree before meeting Father Christmas. A professional photographer is there to take your photograph which can be purchased at a kiosk. 

Samantha Ricketts, 20, Guest Services Assistant from Upton, said:

“Being Mother Christmas, I interact with the kids; telling jokes and listening to their wishes which I send to my husband, Father Christmas. I hand out the glowing stars, hold them in my hands as they make their wish and then they hang them on the tree.” 

The Lantern Company has been commissioned to create the life sized animal lanterns and illuminated costumes, which are worn by staff members.  

Holly Jenkins, 22, Guest Services Assistant from Ellesmere Port, said: 

“It’s been a good event so far and brought in a lot of families and the event has been sold out for the first two days. With it being the preview weekend, a few things have gone wrong, such as realising we needed shelters for the staff and public with the weather being so terrible.” 

The Lantern Company’s work ranges from small to large-scale theatrical experiences, to big outdoor shows, community artwork shops and training. They produce giant puppets and kinetic professional floats as well as sculptural lanterns for day and night time events. 

“The costumes are great, but they take so long to get on, sometimes up to half an hour,” said Miss Jenkins. 

The preview weekend has proved to be a fun and successful event for all ages and hopefully it will be reoccurring event for other years to come.   

One of the lanterns on display at Chester Zoo.

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