Edinburgh Zoo swiches on the Giant Lanterns of China

30/11/2017 in Edinburgh Zoo

Above: Attendees at the switch on event enjoying the lanterns

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo has officially launched its awe-inspiring winter event, The Giant Lanterns of China, which will illuminate the Zoo with the light of over 450 colossal, animal-themed lanterns for 50-nights.

The incredible event is Scotland’s only Chinese lantern festival and will run between 1 December 2017 to 25 February 2018. The trail around the Zoo features 34 bespoke installations made of 469 gigantic lanterns including 30 giant pandas, a 19-foot high and 115-foot long Chinese dragon, 20 penguins and 25 flamingos amid incredible illuminating flowers, fauna, insects and Chinese heritage symbols such as signs of the zodiac.

Above: RZSS were delighted to be joined by Sean Batty, and a host of special guests to help official turn on our Giant Lanterns of China event.

The event was inspired by the Zoo’s giant pandas, Tian Tian (Sweetie) and Yang Guang (Sunshine), which are the only giant pandas in the UK. Born in Sichuan, the pandas made the same 5,000-mile journey to Scotland’s capital as the 469 giant lanterns and a team of 25 Chinese craftspeople who installed them on site.

In China, 150 craftspeople put in a total of 25,000 hours of work expertly crafting the silk and steel lanterns, before shipping them to Scotland. The project was made possible thanks to a partnership between the VYA Creative Lantern Company and DDM Entertainment and Events Inc. They have created a breath-taking trail exploring three themes: China, Edinburgh Zoo, and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) worldwide animal conservation work.

Above: Traditional Chinese performers entertain the crowd

Each evening, visitors to the event 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. 

Barbara Smith, CEO of RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “This winter, we have transformed Edinburgh Zoo with over 450 breath-taking giant lanterns and brought a truly incredible taste of Chinese culture to Scotland’s capital. We want to ignite the imagination and show our conservation work in Edinburgh, China and globally in a new light. We can’t wait to open our doors and welcome the world to The Giant Lanterns of China.”

Tickets for The Giant Lanterns of China are available at:


Follow EZ