Voted #1 Zoo Lights in the Country by USA Today!
Open Sunday – Thursday – 5p – 9p
Friday & Saturday – 5p – 10p
Closed Thanksgiving (open during the day), Christmas Eve (open during the day) and Christmas Day (closed all day).
No additional charge. This event is included with Zoo Admission.
Get discount tickets at your local Kroger.
Special Thanks to: Kingsbury Productions, Lachey Arts, and Madcap
The Cincinnati Zoo will once again be transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 36th annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to admiring the beauty of 3 million LED lights, visitors can watch a Madcap black-light puppet show, ride the BB&T Toyland Express, search for fairies in Fairyland, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands. NEW: Santa will be available for visits starting at 4 p.m., an hour before the rest of the festivities begin.
Friday, November 16, 5 – 10 p.m.
The Cincinnati Zoo is spreading Christmas cheer and making spirits bright this holiday season with the tri-state’s longest running holiday tradition – the 35th Annual PNC Festival of Lights. The event kicks off with a special preview event on Friday, November 16 when more than three million LED lights will illuminate the Zoo.
Preview Night is only open to Zoo members and invited media on Friday, November 16 from 5 – 10 p.m. The event opens to the public on Saturday, November 17.
Join Q102 and performers from their Jeff & Jenn Christmas Choir Competition as they help Santa light the tree to kick off the PNC Festival of Lights!
Special Preview Night Schedule of Activities:
Please keep in mind, a very popular event + a favorable weather forecast = a very busy Zoo. If possible, please arrive early and we will be ready in our Vine Street & Safari Camp parking lots to welcome you and your family!
Guests are invited to ring in the New Year at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. “Party Animals” of all ages invited to celebrate the 9th annual Happy ZOO Year powered by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers. This New Years bash will take place at the Zoo on Monday, December 31 from 5:00-9:00 p.m.
New Years activities will include shows of Winter Wonders by Madcap Puppets, a meet and greet with Father Time and Baby ZOO Year and the Zoo will cap off all celebrations with an EARLY countdown with fireworks presented by Rozzi Fireworks.
Schedule of Activities:
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.
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.
Please note: Beginning December 6, 2017, Wings of the World will close for renovations. When it reopens in spring 2018, guests will enjoy a new and improved experience and an enhanced opportunity to connect to nature through birds.
During renovation, we’ll refinish the walls and floors, upgrade the ventilation systems and install new lighting. While we’ll maintain habitats for a wide variety of birds from around the world, the signage and interactive elements, designed to engage guests of all ages in learning about birds and how to become better bird neighbors, will be all new. Visit us next spring to see all your favorite birds, from parrots to penguins, in a whole new light! This renovation was made possible in part through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
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.
Discounted General Admission tickets can be purchased online, at the Customer Service counter at local Kroger stores and at your local participating Skyline location. Skyline Chili Half Price Nights – Dates TBD.
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.
Traffic will be much lighter to enter the zoo if you are able to arrive before 5pm. 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. Santa will be available starting at 4pm each day through 12/23. Admission is the same price whether you arrive before the PNC Festival of Lights activities start or after.
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.
Our street address is: 3400 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45220. Directions >
New this winter! The I-71 Martin Luther King interchange is now open! Use this from exit 3 off of I-71. Coming from I-75? Try exiting at Hopple Street now that construction is complete!
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 or renewing your membership online, you will receive a confirmation e-mail that you can present at Member Services for your permanent membership cards or a Day Pass (if your cards have already been mailed). If you are giving a membership as a gift, you will receive a gift certificate by either e-mail or traditional mail to present to your recipient.
Warm up with a variety of holiday treats available throughout the park.
Share your PNC Festival of Lights pictures on social media using #cincyzoopic for a chance to be featured in future Zoo marketing material!
PNC Festival of Lights 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 Answer Key