Tag Archives: Zoo

a night at the Zoo with friends

Lighting up the dark with a wintery night time walk around Edinburgh Zoo’s Christmas Lights

I find a walk is always a fun way to meet up with other families, especially recently when due to the lock down restrictions meeting up indoors hasn’t been that easy to organise.

Get some exercise, tire out the kids, have a good chat and meet up with loved ones you haven’t seen for a while. And at this time of year there are plenty of night time or early evening walks being lit up around the city.

This week the Sketcher clan met up with pals at the Zoo and enjoyed a spectacular light trail around the animals enclosures. Although many of the residents were keeping a low profile it was good to see (hear and smell!!) the penguins wandering around in the dark!

There was plenty of other attractions to see, and games to play. Including a 360 light show wall and animations projected onto the rocks. Although our friends toddlers found the hedgerow filled with illuminated presents most entertaining of all.

You can see many venues in Edinburgh lit up for Christmas and I really like to see places you know and love transformed into something new. Personally I would of liked more animal themed sights as it was the zoo, but It was a great night, full of festive fun and with good company it makes it all the more memorable.

Read more and book your tickets for a fest night out at the Edinburgh Zoo website.

Giant Lanterns light up Edinburgh Zoo

Zoo Giant Lanterns 2018Edinburgh Zoo is currently lit by an installation of over 450 dazzling giant lanterns.

Each night during the winter Edinburgh Zoo has been transforming from a world class animal attraction destination into a world of light and wonder as the Giant Lanterns of China illuminate a mile long trail of life size animal lanterns and performing artists.

As the animals are tucked up inside visitors walk around the circular route seeing some fantastic creations including those I have sketched above. On our night the rain fell but that made for some fantastic reflections on a cold January night. There are food outlets along the route offering warming snacks and drinks, we all enjoyed some yummy hot chocolate as we walked around.

Zoo Giant Lanterns Panda

The Sketcher twins were amazed by all the lanterns, it felt like we were in the show, surrounded by colour. The craft that has gone into creating these beautiful structures was inspiring and I reccomend you see this wonderful show before it ends on the 25th February.

Because of the rain (and the frozen fingers!), I took photographs on the night and then created the montage sketch at home, with ink  and watercolour paint. 

The Giant Lanterns on the Edinburgh Zoo website

Zoo Giant Lanterns Walkway

A business trip to the Zoo

ZooCorporate1This week I was asked by The Leith Agency to run a drawing activity for one of their clients, at a corporate event inside the Chimpanzee enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.

My workshops and sketching tours usually happen in grand architecture filled locations like the West End or beautifully tranquil gardens such as that of Lauriston Castle. Never before have we sketched Lemurs, chimpanzees and penguins, or heard the distinctive calling sounds of the Buff-cheeked Gibbon as we put pen to paper.

But it is the perfect place to draw and draw fast as each of the creatures on show although obviously are enclosed within a cage, they are free to move and scratch and simply walk away mid drawing!

It was great to take a group of about 45 people out into the Zoo for an hour of creativity, after a little introduction and guidence to be bold, to try and capture the movement and the dynamic lines of each species they all set off with just paper, a fineliner pen and a coloured marker.

The activity linked into the days themes of being bold, decisive and quick to adapt.

And the results were fantastic, as you can see from the examples here. It proved to be a great way to get some creative fresh air after a morning of meetings and talks, plus the activity linked into the days themes of being bold, decisive and quick to adapt. We had fun back in the conference room comparing our drawings, adding a mount to our favourites and picking a winner.


I look forward to doing more, and if you would like to book myself to come and run a creative activity at your team building corporate day, AGM or similar then email me HERE.

Edinburgh Zoo website

Leith Agency website

Edinburgh Zoo has a new exhibit

Dinosaur_EdinburghZooFrom the 3rd April to 1st November 2015 a number of animatronic dinosaurs will be visiting the city zoo.

On a recent visit to Edinburgh Zoo what I first thought to be a crane towering above a fence in the distance turned out to be this beautiful dinosaur.


For a number of weeks the highest part of the 82 acre site has been kept under wraps, as a number of animatronic dinosaurs have move in.


Dinosaurs became extinct around 65 million years ago, and these man made replicas have been brought to Edinburgh as part of ‘Dinosaurs Return!’ highlighting the plight of animals around the world close to extinction.


Dinosaurs Return! opens to the public on April 3rd. But if you are at the zoo before then keep your eyes peeled, you may get an early glimpse.


Edinburgh Zoo website

We’re all going to the…

ZooSignZoo, zoo, zoo! The sketcher family visited Edinburgh Zoo today, quiet at this time of year,and no queues to see the giant pandas.

We had a lovely time, despite the showers. The indoor exhibits were quiet and we could get close to the animals snuggling together behind glass.  As usually for my two the squirrel monkeys were a favourite. The meerkats were all hiding but the giant pandas, usually too busy to see us were very welcoming. They even woke up to say hello!!


I recommend if possible becoming a member for a year. We decided to join this year as this is the final one the twins will be free to get in. It’s great to be able to go in to a few things and not feel like you have to do the whole thing, as you can return another day.


This sketch is black ink with added pencil crayons, incidentally bought in the gift shop by TwinOne 🙂



  • Edinburgh Zoo website


A day at the Zoo

Meerkats and OttersA couple of quick sketches here from Edinburgh Zoo. Almost the end of my week off and this was our second visit to the zoo.

The Sketcher family have signed up for the year and become members. The twins are just at the right age now to soak it all up and wander round asking all sorts of questions about the animals.

Now we are members we will be there all the time so plenty of sketches to come. I’ll make more time to draw on my next visit, but today was all about the kids and spending time as a family.