China’s giant lanterns to light up Scotland

25/07/2017 in Edinburgh Zoo

This winter, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo will be home to The Giant Lanterns of China, an installation of over 450 dazzling giant lanterns that will illuminate the Zoo for 50 awe-inspiring nights.

Between 1 December 2017 to 25 February 2018, Edinburgh Zoo will become the only place in Scotland to host such an event – lighting up Edinburgh’s skyline with the glow of 34 colossal, animal-themed lantern installations.

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In partnership with the VYA Creative Lantern Company and DDM Entertainment and Events Inc., 150 Chinese craftsmen from Sichuan will create an incredible trail around the Zoo. The craftsmen will expertly produce 34 bespoke installations featuring 469 gigantic lanterns by putting in a total of 25,000 hours of work. The trail through these great steel and silk sculptures will explore three themes: China, Edinburgh Zoo, and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) worldwide animal conservation work.

There will be 211 large scale animal-themed lanterns including 30 giant pandas, 12 lions, 30 native birds, 15 snails, 20 penguins and 25 flamingos alongside detailed backdrops of flowers, fauna, insects and Chinese heritage symbols such as signs of the zodiac and traditional archways. One of the highlights will be a 19-foot high and 115-foot long Chinese dragon, majestically guarding the Zoo until the event ends at during the Chinese Spring Festival.

The partnership to create the lanterns stems from a long standing relationship between RZSS and Sichuan, the birth place of Edinburgh Zoo’s giant pandas. Edinburgh Zoo is home to the only giant pandas in the UK, Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine).

Barbara Smith, CEO at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “This winter, Edinburgh Zoo will be transformed by The Giant Lanterns of China, an awe-inspiring installation that will illuminate Edinburgh in spectacular style. Edinburgh Zoo has very strong ties with China and Chinese culture thanks to our famous giant pandas. As the only place in Scotland to see these lanterns, The Giant Lanterns of China will encourage local supporters and visitors from around the world to view our animals and conservation work in a new light.”

Each evening of the event, visitors will be entertained with special surprises such as performances, food and craft stalls. It will give visitors a taste of Chinese culture while they explore the epic works of lantern art. 

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Advanced online booking discounts are available. Tickets are priced from £17.50 per adult and available at

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