Noctambule: Granby Zoo’s magical nighttime fall experience
The witching hour, somebody had once whispered to her, was a special moment in the middle of the night when every child and every grown-up was in a deep deep sleep, and all the dark things came out from hiding and had the world all to themselves.'
- Roald Dahl
For a second year, Granby Zoo shares the night with guests, as their Noctambule interactive night zoo visit allows visitors into the world of some of their residents.
Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from September 7th to November 4th, Granby Zoo opens its gates for a threehour tour, the remaining nights, from October 12th to November 4th taking place from 7:30 until 10:30 p.m.
At the gates the visit begins with an enormous glowing moon, animated by a human face, welcoming guests and introducing the show. Moving through the central pathway of the zoo towards the Discovery Hut, where above the crowd, an acrobat creeps, crawls and tumbles, attached to a slackline spanning across towards Dinozoo.
Lit with spotlights, blacklights and warmed with outdoor campfire spots complete with Adirondack chairs, the Dinozoo, Asia, South America, the Village, the Cavern and the Discovery Hut are the feature locations of Noctambule.
While flashlights are handy (and fun) when navigating the paths, they are prohibited once inside some habitats (as directed by Zoo staff, wearing their trademark Safari hats, wreathed in small twinkling lights, easily visible for help or questions).
Throughout the winding pathways, the ground is lit with bilingual text, describing life for the zoo's residents.
Also interacting with visitors are three Noctambule characters - Mother Nature, the Master of Shadows and the Noctambule Fairy, dressed in fanciful, theatrical costumes, telling stories and even gathering folks to perform simple magical rituals to summon warmth from the Earth's core, or to point out some of the more difficult-to-spot animals as they sleep or watch from the shadows.
In the Asia exhibit, a small white, open hut features a performer recounting the story of a thousand paper cranes, while folding origami creations and inviting participants to make a wish.
Among the highlights are a sloth waiting for its evening snack, a colony of bats swirling around a large fruit brochette, clustered right in the fruit and munching away, or flying around, small cave fish that have no eyes, a black bear chowing down on its supper, the lions prowling right alongside the viewing room, just inches away, and snow leopards, with their luxurious tails measuring longer than their bodies.
One of the most simple, yet magical features is a blacklit forest walk, with fluroescent, glowing tree stump circles, a young guest on her second visit commented that it was like something out of Alice in Wonderland.
Winding up the evening, guests are invited to leave a piece of ID with the folks at the dance party hut, in exchange for the required number to outfit everyone in your group with earphones featuring the Noctambule name glowing in a variety of colours on the sides. With a selection of playlists, adjustable from a button on the side of the earphones themselves, guests make their way to the dance floor, complete with a giant disco ball, to dance to pop music. A hilarious sight to behold when you don't have the earphones on - seeing a group of people all dancing in rhythm, but with no audible music.
Granby Zoo's Noctambule's new features this year have developed a neat Autumn nighttime experience, with a new view of the zoo!
For more information, please visit www.zoodegranby.com where all information is featured in English as well. Ages 13 and up visit for $14.99, ages 3 through 12 for $9.99, 2 year olds for just $4.99 and under two years of age visit for free. A reasonably-priced activity for families and kids of all ages.