This Halloween, Edinburgh Zoo Spooktacular! returns with a new series of family-friendly frights.
A supernatural light trail will take you on a journey to discover some weird and wonderful characters, from pirates and skeletons to creepy crawlies and ghosts – as well as themed food and drink kiosks throughout – it’s full of Halloween spirit.
As the nights start to grow darker, an evening at the zoo, has become one of our household favourites. This year we were blessed with a mild night, only a threat of rain, and a glorious moon adding to the spooky ambience.
The light trail starts at the Budongo Gate, at the top of the carpark – complete with fantastically-costumed pirate to jump out and get visitors into the mood (our pre-teens loved the sparring!) – and that sets the tone for the event. It’s a mix of coloured lights, themed scenes and installations and a gentle stroll around the zoo.
Amidst the skeletons and the witches are nods to creatures from more recent classics: Shelob, the giant spider from Lord of the Rings (or Harry Potter, in the form of Aragog) and a take on the Eye of Sauron, also from LOTR.
And in the middle of the inevitable – and very well done – graveyard is an excellent exhibit of gravestones commemorating real animals that have become extinct in recent years; a stark reminder of the state of the natural world, and human effect on the planet as it is now.
The tour is guided throughout, so there’s no getting lost, and taking in the central part of the zoo makes it accessible for all ages – no steep climbs or steps. It certainly appeared to cater for the whole family, from our verging-on-the-cynical boys to the entrance pre-schoolers.
That said, some of the actors were better at judging who to target with their spooky banter – the older children loved it, but on a couple of occasions we watched smaller ones dissolve into unsure tears (though nothing that a wave of their rainbow lightsticks couldn’t make better)
‘We SCARE you to come and brave our illuminated trail from Friday 7 – Monday 31 October’.
For details and tickets: Edinburgh Zoo’s Spooktacular | Edinburgh Zoo / 0131 314 0354
Photography by Nichole Marsh