Chester Zoo say they are 'very sorry' to have disappointed some visitors to their popular Lanterns event.
The annual family Christmas spectacle which sees the zoo transformed into an enchanting world of animal-inspired adventure, has become a much loved occasion on the festive calendar, growing more in popularity over the last five years.
Ticket demand is always high, and that's also been the case for the 2017 event which officially opened last Friday (November 24), with much anticipation for the new features that include a theatrical trail through the zoo, created with outdoor arts producers Wild Rumpus.
And while there has been lots of positive feedback from this year's Lanterns, the Zoo have also received complaints on social media about the cost, as well as the event being 'too crowded' and 'too short'.
One customer wrote on Facebook: "Having attended last year and last weekend there is no comparison. In my opinion the event hasn't improved for the better and isn't value for money at all.
"I attended with my three children who couldn't understand why Father Christmas was 10 feet in the air and the entire walk around focused on them remembering to tell Santa what the animals wanted for Christmas but then given no opportunity to do so. Real shame as last year was magical but different vibe this year."
Another said: "This was our first year at the lanterns and although it wasn’t what we expected the kids still really enjoyed themselves. I just wish it was a bit longer and we got to explore the zoo a little more."
And one wrote: "My little boy really enjoyed it but my husband and I thought it was quite bland, there wasn’t a great deal to look at, the lanterns are mainly only in one small area and it’s over in 45 minutes. We also only got a quick hello from Santa and that was it. Quite expensive for what was there."
However, responding to the comments in a statement, the zoo apologised for the fact some customers were disappointed and assured the public that all the feedback was being reviewed.
"We really appreciate your feedback so thanks to all who have been in touch. It’s great to hear that many had a wonderful evening but we're very sorry that some have been disappointed with the tweaks we have made this year.
"Based on the comments we received in previous years, we altered things a little to give The Lanterns a more theatrical feel this time around. Please be assured that we are listening to you and the senior team here at the zoo are reviewing all your comments.
"It’s really important to us that everyone has a fab experience so if you would like to discuss this in more detail, please pop an email to our team at email@example.com with your contact details, your time slot and the date of your visit."
Plenty of customers were satisfied with their experience though, and praised the zoo for trying something different.
One said: "We came on Friday for our first lantern visit after hearing rave reviews about previous years. We absolutely loved it, we thought everyone had worked so hard to put it all together and loved the theatrical parts just as much as the lanterns.
"We have already said we can't wait till next year. Job well done."
The Lanterns at Chester Zoo runs until December 30.