Review of 'Sunset Safari at ZSL'

The Sunset Safari is a great way to see the zoo - after hours and with limited numbers. On offer are talks from scientists and keepers, a street food market, various bars, live musical entertainment, street performers, and much more. On arrival you are given a map that also has timings of “Sunset Safari Specials” (talks and demonstrations) and events in “The Theatre of Life” (a covered amphitheatre that hosts a number of interesting things). There are also guided tours (for additional cost) and a self-guided tour (which is generally just following the dotted line on the map). Though there are children this was originally targeted at an adult crowd though very attendees get really intoxicated - Very genteel.

Generally offered on Fridays from 6 pm until 10 pm the only complaint I have had, this being the second year we have attended, is that many of the animal enclosures are closed well before 10 pm so if you want to see something it is best you see it right when you arrive. We have found the most interesting aspect of the evening is listening to the keepers talk about their charges - Seeing the animals fed but also hearing about the conservation efforts of ZSL (the Zoological Society of London). We attended the 7 pm talk “Prickly Porcupines” where we heard the keeper talk about his charges as he fed first an aardvark then the porcupines, then we were at the 8 pm talk “Meet Our Owls” where we were introduced to a tawny owl as the keeper allowed us to pet it, and then at 9 pm we attended the “Wild Talks - Tales from the Field” discussion in “The Theatre of Life” where we heard about the efforts to understand fish in the Thames, specifically Smelts and eels, by one of the scientists involved in the project.

There was a stage with live entertainment in the “Base Camp Lawns” that had a number of large cushions and deck chair scattered around it for those that just wanted to chill. The street food is varied and generally quite good with reasonable prices - We spotted burritos, philly steak sandwiches, falafel wraps, brownies, polish food (sausage and dumplings), burgers, Argentinian steaks, fried chicken, chicken wings and much more - All at about £6 or less. There are several bars around the zoo but they are all generally around Barclay Court - Where the street vendors are also arranged.

What can happen is that certain areas of the zoo are closed due to either the animals needing to be left alone or if there is development happening. Last year it was the lions but this year it was the gorillas due to a recent birth.

The price is cheaper than a normal day time ticket to the zoo and I think it quite good value though to make the most of it you will probably want to get around and see as much as you can. Remember to take advantage of the rare opportunity to talk to the keepers and scientists one-on-one about the work they are doing - It is fascinating.

A great experience and a lot of fun.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2016-06-10

London Zoo

Location: London (England)

Address: Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY

Public Transport: TUBE Camden Town TUBE Baker Street

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7449 6200


zsl_london.jpg The London Zoo is a small zoo located on the north side of Regent Park with a long history – indeed, the old penguin enclosure is actually a listed structure. They have a wide assortment of animals including three lions in their new, much-vaunted, enclosure made up to look like it is straight out of India as well as the ever-popular penguins, tigers, giraffes, hippos, kangaroos, etc. The grounds are very nicely laid out and much of it is like a park. Certainly worth a half-day to look around but much longer and you might be getting bored. Visiting can be quite expensive with adult tickets right now at about £25.