From aardvarks to zebras, the animals at Colchester Zoo may have been blissfully unaware of the Christmas period, but Festive Lights helped add an extra sparkle of magic for visitors to the zoo’s 2017 Magic of Christmas events.
Home to over 260 species, and set within 60 acres of parkland and lakes, Colchester Zoo is a popular visitor attraction all year round. The zoo’s management team always like to bring a little extra sparkle to their visitors’ days out over the festive period, creating a winter wonderland of illuminations to complement a programme of special Magic of Christmas events and experiences.
Melissa Fitch from Colchester Zoo explains, “With over 70,000 passholders, along with a great attendance all year, Christmas provides an opportunity for us to offer a magical experience for our visitors each year. In 2017 we wanted to offer something extra and unique, therefore the addition of Festive Lights’ animal illuminations offered an exciting element to the visitor experience within our ever popular Magic of Christmas events.”
The zoo’s management team already trusted our creativity and quality following a project to install agricultural lighting at the zoo. The Christmas illuminations project built on that strong relationship and saw us bring together a combination of bespoke and off-the-shelf lighting in a collaborative design approach, offering the zoo’s team a variety of possible options.
The chosen solution not only included traditional-style Christmas decorations, but also involved custom-designed animal lighting that the zoo would be able to use for other events too, maximising the value of its investment and providing the potential for other themed lighting displays during the year.
Working in close partnership with the zoo’s team, we developed a whimsical 3D life-sized lighting display, which included an array of different animals, from grazing zebras to swans on the lake.
Melissa continued, “For our Magic of Christmas dates, the zoo remained open for an hour after general zoo access had closed and the animals had bedded down for the evening, allowing visitors to enjoy the animal lights under the stars.
“We really loved the ideas that Festive Lights gave us and, throughout the development of our new lighting displays, they kept us up to speed with progress so that we always felt confident it would meet our expectations and be installed on time.”
“Seeing the lights through each development process gave us the assurance that our new lighting display would make our Magic of Christmas season really special and our visitors were delighted by the finished installation, sharing their photos on social media with the unique light displays.”
We delivered and tested the lighting displays, ensuring that they were ready to wow visitors without adding to the workload of staff during one of the zoo’s busiest periods.
Taking place over several dates in November and December, the zoo’s Magic of Christmas events welcomed more than 35,000 visitors, garnering praise and admiration for the lights from wildlife fans of all ages. The unique 3D animal figurines will be returning to celebrate another Christmas in the 2018 festive display, which promises again to be more magical than ever.
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