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Edinburgh Zoo has officially unveiled its biggest ever event, The Giant Lanterns of China, featuring hundreds of gigantic lanterns inspired by mythical creatures from Scottish and Chinese folklore and endangered animals across the world.

Scotland’s only Chinese lantern festival has returned with a new theme inspired by the Scottish tradition of storytelling, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s (RZSS) wildlife conservation work and the cultural heritage of Sichuan – where the Zoo’s resident giant pandas were born.

The enchanting trail around the Zoo was created by 200 specialist artisans from China and took over 100 days to construct. It will feature more than 450 bespoke handmade lanterns constructed with 50,000 metres of fabric and 80,000 LED lights.

Barbara Smith, chief executive at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: “Over 50 nights, Edinburgh Zoo will be transformed into a winter wonderland of myths and legends brought to life through hundreds of colossal Chinese lanterns. This year’s event is bigger and better than ever and visitors will come face to face with herds of unicorns, kelpies, a sleeping dragon and Nessie the Loch Ness Monster.”

“Each installation tells a story from Scottish legends and Chinese mythology as well as the crucial conservation projects we undertake with our partners to help preserve the world’s most vulnerable species. “The event is a chance for us to illuminate the critical conservation work of RZSS to protect endangered animals and the real risk of them becoming myths and legends for future generations.”

Tickets for The Giant Lanterns of China are priced from £9.50 for children and £18 for adults and advanced online booking discounts are available. Tickets are available via the website.