DETAILED plans for Chester Zoo's annual festive winter spectacular have been released today.

The Lanterns - running on selected nights from November 23 to December 23 - raises funds to help the zoo's work as a conservation charity fighting to prevent extinction around the world.

Visitors will be welcomed this year by nine specially-created 'worlds', filled to the brim with animal-inspired illuminations, magical lanterns and twinkly costumed characters.

After walking through a 'Garden of Delight' - filled with illuminated flowers that reach up to 10-foot in the air and giant friendly snails - guests will then meander through a series of fairy-tale worlds.

First is a 'Moonlit Meadow', home to some favourite animal lanterns from years gone by, featuring species such as giraffe, elephant, lion, tiger, rhino and zebra – as well as specially created new sun bears, cheetahs and mandrills.

The journey continues through a giraffe lantern filled zone called Shangri La, into a Cloud Cuckoo Land of stunningly colourful bird lanterns and costumed characters, including a brilliant Southern cassowary and majestic great hornbill.

The zoo's Northern Lights zone will feature Christmas trees, Christmas markets and Father Christmas.

The snow-filled Enchanted Woodland, placing much-loved British wildlife up in lights, before discovering the colourful Wonderland – a radiant, topsy-turvy world.

In Rainforest Aglow, families can walk underneath fantastical neon vines – and look out for the glowing sloth couple overhead.

Finally, no Christmas spectacular would be complete without penguin lanterns and characters, which can be found in the zoo's new Ice Kingdom.

The Lanterns has been created by the zoo, in partnership with multi award-winning outdoor arts producers Wild Rumpus

Festive food will be served throughout the route – including at the zoo's Christmas markets and a brand new pub, The Oakfield, which was the original family home of Chester Zoo founder George Mottershead.

Jon Turley, Chester Zoo's head of guest experience, said: "We really hope this specially crafted journey through the zoo will create some magical, festive family memories.

"The Lanterns will take you into colourful new worlds - whether you want to stroll among our animal inspired lanterns or meet a host of twinkly costumed characters, such illuminated reindeer, dazzling penguins and even an emu and a curious white rabbit.

The experience lasts approximately one hour.

Tickets are available online from