Event HighLIGHTs

New This Year!

Dates and Times

New Dates & Times!

Nov. 21, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021 with bonus nights on January 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17

Zoo Hours during PNC Fesitval of Lights: 1:00pm – 9:00pm

  • Reservations Required – not yet available – coming soon!
    • Zoo Members do not need a reservation from 7:30pm – 8:30pm only, M-Th from November 23 – December 17
  • Closed all day Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Festival of Lights activities begin at 4pm
  • No additional charge. This event is included with Zoo Admission.  Visit the Zoo early and stay for the lights!

Santa’s Village

Head down to our picnic shelters near The Grove and be transported to the brand-new Santa’s Village!

  • Get a photo with Santa and join him on his sleigh
  • Santa is available for photos starting at 4:00pm (through December 23)
  • Say hi to Mrs. Claus
  • Drop off your letter to Santa in our North Pole mailbox
  • Find the mouse in each Gingerbread House

Roo Valley

For the first time ever, Roo Valley will be transformed into a Wintery Walkabout! Hop on it! Don’t miss kangaroo lanterns, lights and more! Don’t forget to stop at Hops for a cold-weather treat.

African Penguin Point

Waddle to the newest habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo and be amazed by even more LED lights shining bright!

Familiar Favorites

  • Wonder at the 3 million LED lights throughout the Zoo
  • Families will enjoy searching for Fiona fairy statues in Fiona’s Fairyland
  • Guests will feel like they’re blanketed by stars in the immersive “Northern Lights” light experience.
  • 27 larger than life Animal Lanterns located throughout the Zoo
  • Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake
  • Meet one of the Royal Sisters in Frozen Wonderland
  • Ride the North Polar Express Train Ride daily starting at 2:30pm
  • Roast Smore’s at the Smore’s Stations
  • Enjoy freshly roasted nuts and other holiday treats
  • See animals inside multiple indoor heated buildings
  • Play the 2020 Scavenger Hunt
  • Share your PNC Festival of Lights pictures on social media using #cincyzoopic for a chance to be featured in future Zoo marketing material!

2020 Scavenger Hunt

Looking for another fun way to enjoy #PNCFestivalofLights? Test your knowledge during the new scavenger hunt. Make your way through the Zoo to solve these festive riddles and heat things up with a little friendly competition! Share your scavenger hunt pictures on social media using #cincyzoopic for a chance to be featured in future Zoo marketing material.

Scavenger Hunt

Letter to Santa

Write your letter to Santa and bring it to the Zoo to drop in our mailbox!

Print your letterhead here!



Bright Tips

These tips will help you maximize your holiday experience!

Make a Reservation

Everyone visiting the Zoo, including members, needs to make a reservation. The availability per time slot will differ between member reservations and admission tickets. Please email [email protected] for reservation questions.

Zoo Members do not need a reservation from 7:30pm – 8:30pm only, M-Th from November 23 – December 17.

Make a Reservation

Pack a mask! They are required in indoor buildings and high congestion areas like Hippo Cove.

COVID-19 FAQ’s and Zoo Requirements

Visit Early to See Animals

PNC Festival of Lights is all about… the LIGHTS! Our Zoo animals usually head indoors around 5pm or sooner so make sure to book a reservation early and stay for the lights if you’re hoping to see animals!

There will be six indoor animal buildings open this year during PNC Fesitval of Lights: Reptile House, Manatee Springs, Insect World, Jungle Trails West, Dragons, Night Hunters. Warm up inside any of these indoor buildings!

For the safety of our animals and guests, this year Elephant Reserve, Wings of the World and Jungle Trails East will be closed during PNC Festival of Lights.

Access for All

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Zoo Access for All program is designed to encourage families and individuals of all backgrounds to visit our world-class organization to build lifelong and multi-generational memories.

PNC Festival of Lights Social Narrative

Dress for Cold Weather & Bring a Blanket

Dress warm! You can always shed a layer!

Know How to Get to the Zoo

Our street address is: 3400 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45220. Directions > 

Memberships make Great Gifts

Give the gift that keeps giving! Renew, purchase or gift a membership! The holidays are a peak time for membership gifts and renewals!

Membership Information

Food & Drink

Warm-up with a variety of holiday treats available throughout the park!

Food Options

Warm-up with a variety of holiday treats available throughout the park!

Hops: Located in the Vine Street Village, near the new Roo Valley. Funnel Fries with seasonal toppings and dipping sauces.

Sweet Retreat: Located in The Grove. Try our new seasonal doughnut flavors: Cinnamon sugar pretzels are also available.

The Coop: Located in The Grove. Warm-up with our famous smoked chicken grilled cheese with tomato soup!

Taco Caja: This stand will be transformed into a wintery snack haven including Smores Kits to roast by The Grove fire pit!

Wild Burger:  Located in The Grove. Grab dinner at the Wild Burger with offerings like our Wild Burger, hot dogs,.  Loaded fried are also available here with toppings of bacon, cheddar, ranch, chili cheese or philly cheese!

LaRosas: Located across from Kroger Lords of the Arctic. Support our local pizzeria and order cheese or pepperoni pizza, garlic & cheese breadsticks, fresh fountain soda, and hot chocolate.

Cup + Cone: Located inside Mai Thai’s Market. Feeling too warm? Cool off with a scoop or two of ice cream. Choose from twelve of Graeter’s most popular flavors and plenty of toppings to go along with it. Enjoy hot chocolate, add “Holiday Cheer”, cinnamon roasted almonds, caramel corn, or cookies and other seasonal favorites.

Tuskers: Located across from the Base Camp Café. Enjoy sweet cinnamon sugar pretzels, funnel cake, or hot chocolate, add some “Holiday Cheer”, choose from six different types of domestic and craft beers, and bottled beverages.

Base Camp Café: Want to skip the line, Base Camp Café will be available for mobile ordering each night till 8pm. Order online from a selection of great dinner options including; LaRosas Pizza, Skyline Cheese Coneys, Chicken Tenders, Burgers and more.

Candy Cane Cottage: Located next to the Base Camp Café. Get refreshed with three gourmet hot chocolates caramel corn and cinnamon roasted almonds. Get warmed up with a hot coffee or latte.

Smores N’ More: Located Vine Street Entry Village. Feel the warmth over an open fire while roasting marshmallows. Purchase a single smore or a family pack of smores (feeds a family of 4), hot chocolate, and caramel corn.