Chester Zoo experts have released new details about a major family friendly campaign to raise awareness for some of the planet’s most misunderstood species this Hallowe’en.
Spectacular acrobats, musicians and costumed characters will light up Chester Zoo for October half term as part of the attraction’s first ever large scale Hallowe’en event – as an evil sorcerer tries to steal the superpowers of the nocturnal animals.
Now for the first time, with thousands of tickets already booked up, zoo bosses have unveiled extra information about the true stars of the show – the animals themselves.
From the incredible burrowing skills of aardvarks to the super sensitive hairs of the Montserrat tarantula, conservationists hope the fun family event will help boost efforts to protect rare animals by changing perceptions about some species and raising awareness of others.
Head of discovery and learning at the zoo Charlotte Smith said: “Most people may never have heard of an aye-aye, but they are the world’s largest nocturnal primate and are quite magnificent. Their superpower – hearing – allows them to find grubs inside the bark of trees, before digging them out with their incredible long middle finger!
“Similarly, our Seba’s bats have a superpower of their own. Their night time navigation skills are a match for the most sophisticated in built sat nav system!
“Even conservationists don’t know much about the mysterious Montserrat tarantula! But we do know that it doesn’t spin webs. Instead it lays silk traps for prey. Its body is covered in tiny hairs so it has super sensitive feeling powers and can sense when a creature triggers the trap.
“Meanwhile, our nocturnal aardvarks are much more cuddly looking and no less amazing. They might be sleepy in the day, but when they wake up their huge claws can dig down as far as three metres in search of food.
“People are often frightened of nocturnal animals, especially at Hallowe’en. Yet these are among the most magical creatures on the planet. We hope to shine a light on their special superpowers for families this half term. This is something families will remember for a long time.”
The Enchantment of Chester Zoo has been specially created for the zoo by the pioneering arts company Wild Rumpus - architects of the award winning Just So family arts festival.
From October 22-31, families at the zoo will meet a cavalcade of curious animal characters with incredible skills – from wise old owls to acrobatic spiders. They will have until dusk to break the sorcerer’s spell as they discover the real life nocturnal animals and explore the dark fruit bat forest, search for aye-ayes in their shadowy habitat, discover the magnificent Montserrat tarantula and the amazing Aardvarks.
Directors of Wild Rumpus Rowan Hoban and Sarah Bird added: “We’re incredibly excited to be partnering with Chester Zoo to present this extraordinary adventure for families this autumn. We can’t wait for families to help us lift the spell, have fun together and come away armed with knowledge about these incredible and endangered nocturnal animals, so vital to our world.”
The Enchantment of Chester Zoo runs 10am–2pm each day from October 22–31 and is free with zoo entry, but booking is advised to guarantee a place.