Edinburgh Zoo is to stage a Chinese giant lantern event over the winter season lighting up the city’s skyline with the glow from 34 colossal structures that will form the centrepiece of the installation.
More than 450 dazzling giant lanterns will be installed at the zoo over 50 days from 1 December to 25 February 2018 creating a ‘trail’ around the visitor attraction, which is home to the UK’s only giant pandas.
The installation artworks are being – made from steel and silk – are being painstakingly created by 150 Chinese craftsmen from Sichuan putting in 25,000 hours of work.
The event will celebrate three themes the zoo is keen to showcase to the public: China, Edinburgh Zoo, and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) worldwide animal conservation.
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.”
The event is being delivered in partnership by the VYA Creative Lantern Company and DDM Entertainment and Events Inc.
The craftsmen will expertly produce 34 bespoke installations featuring 469 gigantic lantern; 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).
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.
Tickets for The Giant Lanterns of China go on sale from 9:00am on Wednesday, 26 July 2017. Advanced online booking discounts are available. Tickets are priced from £17.50 per adult and available at edinburghzoo.org.uk/lanterns