IT was an evening of fire-eaters, steel-drummers and a dinosaur or two.

This year’s Sunset Party in the Park at Marwell Zoo gave animal-lovers a rare opportunity to see some of the most loveable creatures at dusk at a special out-of-hours event.

The big attraction was the Rise of the Dinosaur’s exhibit which saw children of all ages line up to spend some time with Velma the velociraptor and her prehistoric friends.

Some of the resident penguins put on a brilliant display while some of their larger relatives, in the form of Mr and Mrs Pigeon, followed children around the zoo pecking away for crumbs and special treats.

There was an inflatable area, with a bouncy castle and bungee run, fire-jugglers and even some musicians on stilts who performed for the crowd.

And it all kicks off again on July 5 with another behind-the-scenes evening session featuring the popular Jurassic creatures and just a few friendly favourites.

There will be naturalistic gorillas accompanied by their funny explorer friend, a specialist bird exhibition and the Big Noise Samba Band.

For more information visit the zoo’s website at