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The beloved London Zoo has provided generations of children with hours of fun since it opened in 1847. And this summer, the after-hours Zoo Lates is bringing grown-ups into the action too.

From 6 pm to 10 pm every Friday, the Regent's Park enclosure opens its gates to those over 18 years of age for some after-dark entertainment. Naturally the 17,500 animals – from gorillas and tigers to butterflies and penguins – are the main attraction. And not to be missed is the Tiger Territory, the recently opened £3.6 million home to two critically-endangered Sumatran tigers named Jae Jae and Melati.

But animals aside, party goers can continue to monkey around at the silent disco, where you dance to music played through individual headphones, or in the adult-sized playroom, complete with a giant ball pit. Comedy and cabaret acts such as Twisted Cabaret and Auntie Myra's Swingin' Safari keep everyone entertained, while pop-up bars, picnic baskets by Gordon Ramsay and a rotation of popular food trucks ensure that everyone is fed and watered.

Face painting, animal masks and costumes are encouraged – although not around the real animals (apparently they confuse easily). We can't think of a better place to unleash your inner animal and go wild.

Zoo Lates is open every Friday night from 14 June to 26 July. Tickets should be booked in advance on the website.

Malika Dalamal is the London Localite for BBC Travel

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