In October 2022, we collaborated with Twycross Zoo to stage a nine-day event across half term. October Fiesta was a brand-new event for all the family. Inspired by the Mexican celebration Dia de Los Muertos, visitors enjoyed a host of interactive activities and entertainment and discovered more about the South American animals who live there.
Twycross Zoo approached OPUS to develop a half term offer which not only stood it apart from traditional Halloween events, but which also was programmed with a cultural lens. At every point across the programme, we ensured we presented cultural context explaining the significance of everything from the traditions of Dia de los Muertos to the decor used on site.
Working with a Mexican-led arts and performance company, we designed an immersive storytelling experience, paired with an interactive games session where families could play traditional Mexican and South American games. Visitors entered the zoo to the sounds of an authentic mariachi band, immediately making a welcoming first impression for families.
We created a full design and dressing plan, adding splashes of colour to activity areas through papel picado and marigolds, acting as wayfinding but also providing an educational moment through interpretation boards. A beautiful ofrenda was created in the centre of the main piazza, a traditional altar colourfully adorned with candles and flowers, where visitors gave thanks to loved ones and animals passed.
Children could take part in craft activities, making either calavera (decorative skull) or monarch butterfly masks. Monarch butterflies hold cultural significance in Mexico at this time of year, as thousands migrate south from North America. We took inspiration from this across our programme, pairing colourful butterfly walkabout characters with education moments and interpretation boards.
We’re delighted to announce our October Fiesta for half term – a brand-new event for Twycross Zoo that promises to amaze and entertain our visitors. With a whole host of exciting activities taking place on site, families will have the chance to immerse themselves in the traditions and stories of the Dia de Los Muertos and learn more about incredible animals from across the globe. This exciting new event offers us the opportunity to shine a light on the incredible story of Monarch butterflies – who make a mass migration every October from North America to central Mexico, in search of warmer climes. Our special storytelling sessions will invite visitors to learn more about these amazing animals, and the importance of helping to protect them for future generations.