The Giant Lanterns Of China.
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas? All ready for an amazing 2018??
Well, we started this year with a bang! As a gift we received tickets for the The giant lanterns of china exhibition at Edinburgh Zoo! Well what a wonderful gift. The children LOVED it.
Let Me Tell You Why.
Its been a tough December for us to be honest between coughs colds and tummy bugs. We’ve all felt truly miserable.
We only made it through Christmas and New Year because we were full of medication with smile stuck to our faces. You could tell everyone just wanted to go to bed. So when we got these tickets we decided to cheer ourselves up.
I was secretly dreading even this though, as my youngest AJ is still not well. The thought of walking around with him being cranky in the buggy to go to a zoo where we wouldn’t see any animals????
We visited the Edinburgh Christmas Market in the afternoon, which we love every year. It was very busy but wonderfully festive. Then we headed out to the Edinburgh Zoo.
The Giant Lanterns Of China
The exhibition is said to feature over 450 lanterns spread over 25 different areas. The event runs for 50 nights over December to January at the Zoo.You can buy tickets and get more information here.
This is the first year we have been to see the lanterns and I have to say they were utterly spectacular.
When we arrived we were given a map of the route. Taking us on a loop of the main areas of the zoo. The animal parts were all roped off as the animals were all in their indoor enclosures for the Winter( i’m not surprised it’s freezing)
The leaflet we were given explained that the idea to produce the lanterns came from the existing relationship with the Royal zoological society Scotland and Sichuan zoo where the giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo were born.
The pandas are a major attraction for the zoo and each year there is a lot of hype around whether of not they have managed to breed the pair.
The route took us around 1 hour and 45 minutes to slowly walk round with our kids and a buggy.
The zoo can be immensely busy in the height of summer, so it was a refreshing change to see a more subdued event. It was busy but not overly crowded.
Let The Adventure Begin
Our adventure began with a beautiful sculpture of some foxglove plants and a giant snow drop.
The light structures are made with wire frames and silk stretched over them tightly with lots of lights. The intensity of colour was amazing. Utterly mesmerizing!
We spent a while taking pictures. It was a wonderful opportunity to teach my eldest ED some photo techniques for pictures in the dark, my youngest AJ loved all the light. Although he’s poorly at the moment he was amazed by it all.
There was a few hot drink vendors dotted around and the cafe at the start was open for the duration of the event for a more substantial snack.
We also saw 4 or 5 mini huts serving as market stalls selling handmade Chinese crafts. One Chinese gentleman was very kind and showed my daughter how a warrior toy worked. It was such a unique toy.
Next we stopped to watch the performance of the Chinese acrobats. Firstly, we saw 2 men throwing each other around like confetti on the stage and balancing on each others heads etc.
Then a wonderful lady spinning plates. The lady had 3 plates spinning on sticks in each hand. She continued to spin whilst she dipped and rolled over etc.
Following her was a man juggling and tossing around some glass obs. Very fascinating!
Afterwards Cc decided she was hungry as we hadn’t had our dinner yet.
We were heading home to eat, so we bought a snack bag at the shop. This was a typical kids lunch bag. Sandwich, apple, yogurt, juice and crisps. The only downside was the cost. £6. For one bag so if you can then TAKE YOUR OWN snacks, drinks and food to the Zoo.
Some Of Our Favourites
On the way around the zoo we saw lots of different areas. There was a giant colour changing Chinese vase that spun as well. Then we saw some Scottish thistles that had bees on top and some toads and a trio of peacocks.
After we had a hot drink we then moved onto the Giant Chinese Lantern walkway.
My eldest sons favourite was the immense Chinese dragon lantern which was so big I couldn’t get a picture of the whole thing. The dragon was surrounded by the 12 zodiac signs all lit up with 4 giant dragons shaped lanterns. Now these dragons were different. Instead of silk stretched over the framework these dragons were made from strings of tiny bottles of coloured liquid hung around the frames in layers. They were utterly stunning.
Afterwards we moved over to the lions and zebras. These were positioned in the small rocky enclosure where the lions used to be kept. Some of the lanterns use animatronics to help them move their heads etc. which added a lovely surprise to the lanterns.
My daughter is a big fan of all things bugs so she loved the giant land snail lanterns and the butterfly and dragon fly sculptures. The colours were so bright and vivid. The positioning of the butterflies made it look like they were just about to take off and fly into the sky.
My favourite was the giant panda garden in the centre next to the huge Chinese round house tower. But the penguin area was a close second.
The zoo had subtly inserted some zoo facts and animal information in and around the lanterns. I do feel a little more could have been done to encorporate the lanterns into the zoo. There was also a giant Earth globe with dots showing where in the world their animals come from and what conservation they’re involved in.
So To Sum It Up
This was the most unique event we’ve been to for a long time and we still haven’t stopped talking about it yet. Were already planning to go back next year. Even my husband cracked a smile.
We enjoyed it so much the kids asked for some lanterns around our garden. I couldn’t find animal lanterns. I did find these beautiful ones so they now surround our garden.
So, if your around when this show is on please make time to visit. You wont be disappointed.
Do you have one of these shows in your city?
What’s your favourite event of Christmas and New Year? Please leave a comment and and let me know I’d LOVE to hear all about it.