Five Sisters Zoo Christmas Illuminations 2017
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After a successful debut in 2016 the 'Zoo Illuminations' Christmas event at Five Sisters Zoo is back for 2017.
Getting There From Edinbrugh:
Perhaps lesser known to international visitors, Five Sisters Zoo is located just outside the town of West Calder in the council area of West Lothian. The easiest way to reach it from Edinburgh is by train. Travel from Waverley to West Calder Station, at which point we'd recommend either getting a taxi to the zoo's main entrance (about a 4 minute drive) or taking a 25 minute walk.
As a reference, the zoo's postcode is: EH55 8PT.
What's It About?
The purpose of the event is to bring festive cheer and a stunning light display to one of Scotland's most popular zoos. Thousands of glowing decorations are laid out along the site's wooded paths and animal enclosures. Since it takes place at night not all the animals will be on show, but the ones that are will be at their most active. See majestic arctic wolves and the zoo's resident lion pride. These nocturnal creatures are rarely viewable so late into the day.
Animals housed in the Lost Kingdom Reptile House will also be active, and your ticket will provide access to this interior habitat.
Zoo Illuminations opens at 18:00 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from November 3rd to the 30th, and daily from December 1st up to and including the 23rd. The only day it isn't open during this period is December 12th. Doors close each night at 21:00 (last admission 20:30).
In addition to the site-wide Christmas lights display, ticket holders are treated to a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie or sweet upon entry. Juice is also available for non-drinkers and under 18s. Younger visitors are entitled to one free shot on the kiddie rides. Subsequent shots cost £1 a time.
The atmosphere at this year's event is designed to recreate the traditional Christmas village experience with a zoological twist. As you wander through the site you'll encounter a festive market complete with stalls selling handicrafts and gift trinkets. Hot food, drinks and sweets are available at the nearby outlets. Be sure to bring along a supply of cash, as not all the vendors will accept cards.
If you love a bit of winter skating then head along to the marque, where you'll find a vast synthetic ice rink. A single skating session lasts 20 minutes at cost of £2 per person. They can be booked on the night in the picnic area. If you're not much of a skater then the marque has ample seating and heaters so that you kick-back and relax.
Lastly, it just wouldn't be Christmas without Santa Claus! Saint Nick and his reindeer will be around on the night to say hello, but his grotto will only be open on December weekends during daytime. If your kids would love to meet him in person we'd recommend coming along early then sticking around for the start of Zoo Illuminations at 18:00. Remember that you'll need a separate ticket to access the zoo during daytime.
Photography is permitted and encouraged by the zoo. There's even a Christmas themed backdrop where you can pose for funny pictures with your family and friends.