London Zoo usually closes its gates at 6pm, but this summer there's a chance to stay late and find out what happens after hours.
Zoo Nights takes place on four Friday evenings in June, when the zoo stays open late for adults only. It's a chance to see some of the animals at their liveliest, and learn more about them.
Many species at the zoo are crepuscular — meaning they're most active at dusk — so if you've ever visited the zoo during the day and found your favourite animal asleep, this is a chance to see them wide awake. Animal bedtimes are staggered (and some animals are off-limits completely for their own welfare) So make sure you visit your fave creatures first. (And make sure they're definitely appearing at Zoo Nights.)
Get the lowdown on sex in the animal kingdom on the Birds and the Bees tour around the zoo, or for a more PG-rated experience, book onto the You'll Never See A Moon-Walking Emu tour, which covers all manner of surprising animal facts.
In the main area of the zoo, street food stalls serve dishes from around the world (from past experience, the delicious cooking smells are enough to draw you in), and acoustic music provides a chilled out atmosphere. Giant animal lanterns and costumed stilt walking performers are on hand so you can still get that all-important animal photo, even if the real animals won't come out to play.
For an extra special treat, book yourself a VIP Zoo Nights Stay, which includes access to Zoo Nights, an overnight stay in the on-site Gir Lion Lodges, and a private tour the next morning followed by a day at either London Zoo, or its sister site, Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire. It's not cheap (£378 for two people), but what a treat for an animal lover.
Zoo Nights take place at ZSL London Zoo, Regent's Park, on Friday 7, 14, 21 and 28 June 2019 from 6pm. Tickets are £19.95 and need to be booked in advance (and usually sell out, so be speedy). Extra charge for tours.