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Culture & Religion

In This Club, The Lions Sleep Tonight

The London Zoo is believed to be the first zoo to use "silent disco" events to bring in more visitors and revenue. Its success has encouraged other zoos to try it as well.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

The London Zoo is one of several zoos, including those in Denver and San Francisco, that have hosted a “silent disco” at which participants are given wireless headphones with a choice of music channels, allowing them to get their dance on without disturbing the animals’ sleep. They have been a huge hit with locals (of the human variety), bringing in an extra 6000 visitors a week during the summer months. Some come dressed in animal costumes, and some get their face painted to look like one of the regular zoo residents.

What’s the Big Idea?

The silent disco is becoming an increasingly popular party option in densely populated areas all over the world, and it’s one of several events that zoos have been offering to draw more adult visitors and increase revenue. Admission to London’s event costs between US$16-40, and prior to the animals’ bedtime they and the guests get a look at each other, as they would during a normal zoo day. Some challenges exist, including the tendency for patrons to sing along with the music. In response, a message is relayed through the headphones: “The animals have gone to bed. Please keep your singing voices in your head.”

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