Now - January 4, 2014
Open Sunday through Thursday - 5p - 9p
Friday and Saturday - 5p - 10p
Closed Thanksgiving (open during the day), Christmas Eve (open during the day) and Christmas Day (closed all day).
2013 PNC Festival of Lights HighLIGHTs
Happy Zoo Year
Ring in the Zoo Year with a bunch of "party animals!" Kids of all ages are invited to ring in the Happy Zoo Year as the Cincinnati Zoo holds its very own New Year's Eve bash.
Enjoy a kid-friendly, Early Countdown Before the Ball Drops
New Years activities will include shows of Winter Wonders by Madcap Puppet Theater at 8:30pm, a meet and greet with Father Time and Baby ZOO Year and the Zoo will cap off all celebrations with an EARLY (8:55pm) countdown with fireworks presented by Rozzi Fireworks
The PNC Festival of Lights has been a family holiday tradition for over 30 years. We are proud to be the largest holiday light display in Cincinnati, but we understand that on some days during certain hours the amount of guests visiting the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden can cause delays. These tips will help you maximize your holiday experience.
- Make a plan
Visit the "plan your visit" section of this site to decide what to see and to learn when rides and activities are scheduled during the holidays. Make your own custom schedule using our FREE mobile app!
- Buy tickets before you arrive
Skip ticket lines at the zoo by purchasing your tickets in advance. Print tickets and present them at the admissions gate. Discounted General Admission tickets can be purchased at the Customer Service counter at local Kroger stores.
- Visit on Sunday through Thursday
Our busiest days in general are Fridays and Saturdays, especially the weekend after Thanksgiving and Christmas. The week between Christmas and New Years Day is the busiest week of the season. If you are able, please try to schedule your visit around these peak days. Stop by participating Skyline locations to get half-priced tickets for select nights.
- Arrive early
Traffic will be much lighter to enter the zoo if you are able to arrive before 6pm. This way you can take your time inside the zoo and be the first to enjoy the most popular holiday activities like riding the train or visiting Santa. Admission is the same price whether you arrive before the PNC Festival of Lights activities start or after.
- Dress for Cold Weather & Bring a Blanket
You can always shed a layer! You'll be more comfortable, and warmer, if you sit on a blanket in our amphitheater during the Madcap Puppet shows.
- Know how to get to the zoo
Our street address is: 3400 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45220. Directions >
- Memberships make great gifts
The holidays are a peak time for membership gifts and renewals. Although we will be happy to process your membership at Member Services, you can save time by renewing/purchasing it online or over the phone (513) 559-7713. If purchasing online, you will receive a temporary membership card to print immediately after completing your transaction that can be scanned at turnstiles. If you are giving a membership as a gift, you will receive a gift certificate by mail to present to your recipient.
Food & Drink
Warm up with a variety of holiday treats available throughout the park.
- I.B. Back Nut Hut: THREE LOCATIONS! Located near Vine Street Entrance, Wings of Wonder, and next to Zoo Cafe.
- Watering Hole: Located next to Historic Vine Street Village. Enjoy specialty fries, popcorn, carmel corn, six different domestic and premium beers, and hot chocolate. Counter service and outdoor seating.
- Outpost: Located near Gingerbread Village/Whiting Safari Camp. Get refreshed with hot chocolate, beer, popcorn, cotton candy, carmel corn, and funnel cakes. Counter service and outdoor seating.
- Rudolph’s Sugar Shack: Located in Gingerbread Village/Whiting Safari Camp. Enjoy hot chocolate, funnel cakes and deep-fried Oreos and more! Outdoor seating.
- Safari Grill: Located in Gingerbread Village/Whiting Safari Camp. Choose from regular menu items. Outdoor seating.
- LaRosa’s: Located across from Kroger Lords of the Arctic. Choose from pizza, snacks, beer, and other refreshments. Outdoor seating.
- Polar Expresso: Located near Kroger Lords of the Arctic. Choose from coffee. lattes, espresso, hot chocolate and indulge in some sweet treats. Outdoor seating.
- Funnel Cake Factory: Located near the entrance to Wolf Woods. Enjoy fresh funnel cakes, soda, and hot chocolate. Counter service only.
- Santa’s Sweet Treats: Located next to The Zoo Cafe. Choose from flavored coffees, lattes, hot chocolate and indulge in sweet treats.
- The Base Camp Cafe is the "Greenest Restaurant in America." What's on the menu?
- The Cantina: Located across from The Zoo Cafe. Enjoy hot chocolate, beer, jumbo soft pretzels, popcorn, and carmel corn. Counter service only
Zoo Mobile App
Find your way around PNC Festival of Lights with the Cincinnati Zoo's mobile app. It's free and available for iOS and Android.