Edinburgh Zoo Nights promises a wild night out in one of the capital's landmarks

Edinburgh Zoo Nights promises a wild night out in one of the capital's landmarks

Food, drink, comedy and animal handling among the activities on offer

Food, drink, comedy and pandas. Sounds like a good night out? That’s what Edinburgh Zoo (in partnership with your favourite listings magazine) is promising as part of the inaugural Zoo Nights event this month, the latest in a line of attempts to turn Edinburgh’s more traditional daytime family entertainment venues into evening destinations.

‘We want to do this to reach a different audience,’ says Jo Paulson, events executive at the zoo. ‘We’re a charity and we’ve got conservation aims, so it’s a way for us to make a bit of income towards that and also attract a different audience to the families who come during the day. People come to the zoo when they’re children and then come back when they have kids and grandkids, and we want to reach those in the middle.’ The zoo will be open as if it were a normal visiting day of 6–10pm, but there’ll be a bar on the lawn, a vintage tea party serving cocktails within the Budongo Trail (the home of the zoo’s chimpanzees) and street food stalls.

There will also be a silent disco and stand-up from Susan Morrison, who’s no doubt brushing up on her panda jokes right now. That anyone attending can see the pandas before 8.30pm (although entry to the enclosure will be managed) is surely a big attraction. ‘It’s something completely different,’ says Paulson. ‘It’s a unique venue and a chance to socialise with your friends on a Friday evening somewhere other than the pub.’

Edinburgh Zoo, Fri 24 May & Fri 28 Jun.

Summer Nights at the Zoo

There is no one among us who hasn't wanted to visit the zoo after hours. Just what do all those critters do after dark, anyway? Now's there's a way to find out! The zoo opens its gates for a series of adults-only extravaganzas featuring locally sourced food, interactive science stations, talks about conservation, a silent…