Without a doubt, 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for people around the globe. This has certainly been the case for many of us here in Edinburgh and throughout Scotland. Therefore, as we enter the holiday season, we are looking for something to provide joy, happiness, and a bit of a break from the difficult reality we are all facing. We are proud to share that Edinburgh Zoo is shining the way with their spectacular ‘Christmas Nights’ event. So, put on your favourite holiday music, grab a cup of hot cocoa, and join us as we take you on a virtual trip to Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights extravaganza.
We are proud members of Edinburgh Zoo and visit often. What isn’t there to love?! Animals, fresh air, breathtaking views of the city, and the knowledge that we are supporting important conservation efforts not only in Scotland, but around the world. In fact, we highly recommend you check out our previous articles on the Zoo- here and here- so that you can see more of what happens during their regular, daytime hours.
This holiday season, we are especially encouraging our readers and social media followers to please support your local businesses when possible. For us, Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights was a fun way to support our local Zoo while enjoying the kickoff to our holiday season. Below is a picture of one of their Christmas nutcrackers that is delightful during the day but is even more special at night. That is what is so special about the Christmas Nights experience- the Zoo undergoes a magical transformation that is pure joy. We hope you enjoy it is as much as we did.
As soon as you enter the Zoo, you know the night is going to be filled with festive fun. It seems that Rudolph the Reindeer is ready to help guide us around the Zoo. I think it's best that we keep this a secret from our Golden Retriever Tour Guide, Sawyer, as he might be a bit jealous to find out someone else is doing his job .😉
It’s easy for many of us to get caught up in life’s daily grind where we forget to take moments to relax and be in the moment. So, as we head out on this adventure, be sure to take deep, comforting breaths and imagine yourself strolling along the beautifully lluminated trail.
The trees were in spectacular form and created the perfect wintery ambience.
One of the highlights of the evening was exploring Penguin Rocks by ‘moonlight’. Edinburgh Zoo poetically describes the scene- “huddled together in the night air, the colony rise like ghosts, lit by the light of the moon as it dances on the water”. It was quite a delightful and unique experience to visit our penguin friends at night.
A nice feature of the Christmas Nights event is that they have a little ‘Christmas Market’ area with locals selling a variety of goods- perfect for a bit of Christmas shopping.
Let me reassure you that our next stop was done all in the name of ‘research’ and it’s a burden that I’m all too often willing to bear- food tastings! That’s right, we had to stop and sample some of the fine food so we could share our ‘research findings’ with all of you. Many of the food offerings are also supplied by local food truck businesses.
To start the evening off right, we tucked into some fresh, fried donuts. They were quite tasty, and I really don’t see why donuts aren’t an appetizer more often.😉 For our main meal we decided to try the food at the Ròstadh (which is the Scots Gaelic word for ‘roasting’) food truck, and it did not disappoint! I had the pheasant burger that was topped with bacon (you can never go wrong with bacon), peanut butter, and maple mayo. That may sound like an odd mix of flavours, but it worked, and it was so delicious!
Sami had the BBQ pork bao bun topped with crunchy slaw, BBQ sauce and sriracha. He was also thoroughly pleased with his choice and shared that it was quite delectable. We shared a serving of skin-on fries seasoned with sea salt oregano. With our bellies full and satisfied, we headed back out to continue our exploration.
One of my favourite parts of the evening was our ‘trip’ to the Arctic. Edinburgh Zoo really outdid themselves with this stunning visual and audio display. Our ‘walk through the Arctic’ involved sightings of the Northern Lights, a reindeer, and a polar bear!
We hope you have enjoyed our brief journey to Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Nights. If you live in Edinburgh, we highly recommend that you visit this fantastic event as we have only touched on some of the highlights and there is much more to see in person. It’s an excellent way to get some fresh air, a break from the stress, and a chance to let yourself be in the moment. Of course, we understand that many of you reading this are elsewhere around the world. Hopefully, this has at least helped you to relax a bit and experience some holiday cheer.
This year has been a difficult one for Edinburgh Zoo as there has been a tremendous dip in the number of visitors due to the pandemic. Therefore, if you would like to support them, please be sure to check out their website for more information. In the future, if you visit Edinburgh, we highly recommend you make a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. After you visit some of the wild animals, be sure to check out our more domesticated animal and resident 'lion king'- Sawyer. He (along with our human tour guide, Sami) would love to guide you around on of our Edinburgh walking tours.
Until next time- Explore and Discover!