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See a collection of  Cincinnati’s finest and most respected music veterans playing together in the Zoo’s beautiful gardens, for FREE! Why tip-toe through the tulips when you can rock the garden?

Admission is free after 5pm. Parking is $9.

As a reminder NO outside alcohol is permitted to be brought inside the Zoo.  Beer will be available for purchase.  Bags may be inspected at the turnstiles before entering the Zoo.

Enjoy the Zoo Blooms while you’re here!


Elephant Encounters

Elephant Encounters

Elephant Encounters

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Who’s Playing?

April 2nd Bands

The Tillers

tillersThe Tillers got their start in August 2007 when they started thumping around with some banjos and guitars and a big wooden bass. They began picking up weekly gigs around the city’s bar scene. It didn’t take long before their signature treatment of classic folk songs became the preferred versions of Cincinnati locals.

The Tillers have since won over Cincinnati’s bar and festival scene, and launching tours with tireless momentum. They were awarded CityBeat Magazine’s Cincinnati Entertainment Award for best Folk and Americana act in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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Musically, the band wears many hats. Their sound has proven to be an appropriate fit with a wide range of musical styles- traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz, punk rock and anything else they might run into. They have shared the stage with a broad swath of national touring acts, ranging from renowned folk legends such as Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, Country Joe McDonald, Jerry Douglas, Iris Dement, Pokey LaFarge and The Carolina Chocolate Drops to rambunctious rock daredevils like the Legendary Shack Shakers.

April 9th Bands

Jake Speed & the Freddies

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For the past eight years, Jake Speed has hitchhiked down Cincinnati’s American folk, bluegrass, and ragtime music highway with his award-winning band, The Freddies. Their traditional and original songs

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Leap right out of Depression-era freight trains and right into Ohio River steamboats. Their near-vaudeville style stage shows and quick-witted charisma rope in loyal fans of new and old generations alike.


Shiny and the Spoon

Shiny-and-the-Spoon-photo1-150x150Called “Perhaps the best folk duo our region has to offer” (The Historic Southgate House), Shiny and the Spoon portray the intimacy of Johnny Cash and June Carter, with head-turning vocals and a vibrant acoustic core, complimented by sprinklings of ukulele, guitar, harmonica, and a good old-fashioned boot-stompin’.

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Their debut and home-recorded EP earned nods from Cincinnati publications such as City Beat and the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, as well as the renowned UK webzine “Americana UK” who called it “an accomplished debut that does exactly what an EP should, makes you want more of the same.”  Original members Amber Nash and Jordan Neff first me in late 2008, and felt an immediate and easy chemistry.  Partially a blind date, the elementary school teacher first laid eyes on a lanky Jordan Neff while he was entertaining guests with an impromptu accordian concert at a party.  Within a month, they had formed a duo, “quickly turning every head in the region.” (The Historic Southgate House).  Joined in 2011 by music veterans Pete Brown on upright bass, and Matt Frazer on drums, the group has quickly moved from house concerts to bandstands, offering new audiences the same unadorned simplicity as before, as though the couches had only been pushed far enough away from the stage to allow a better view.  Shiny and the Spoon offers a sound that blends the heart of American folk music with catchy-pop melody lines and lyrics that portray “a deep current of romantic skepticism that runs just beneath the calm surface.” (Ric Hickey, Adventures of a Loose Wreck).  It is this quality, unusual to such young songwriters, that has quickly made Shiny and the Spoon, one of the regions most acclaimed folk acts.  Their surge in popularity is marked by the creation of a “Shiny and the Spoon” sandwich by local lunch hot spot Tom + Chee.  After launching their first full-length album, “Ferris Wheel”, to a packed house, the group, fronted by Nash and Neff, continue to garner attention and fans with their genuine demeanor and honest and simple sound.  Produced by John Curley of Ultrasuede Studio, their latest release promises to “raise them to the big league.” (AltOhio)

April 16th Bands

Hickory Robot

hickoryrobotHickory Robot hail from the fertile acoustic soil of Cincinnati, Ohio. The original trio of guitarist Jim Pelz, mandolinist Scott Carnder, and fiddler Lauren Schloemer came together in 2008 and by 2010 had released an album of critically-praised originals entitled “Firefly”. In 2011 bassist Mike Georgin completed the quartet and a year of constant gigging resulted in a large regional following and a Cincinnati Entertainment Award nomination for Best Bluegrass Band.

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In October of 2012 the band released their 2nd album, “Sawyer”, to even greater acclaim, and a Cincinnati Entertainment Award nomination not only for Best Bluegrass Band for the 2nd year in a row, but also for Album of the Year. Citybeat Magazine’s summation: “stellar songwriting”; “impeccable musicianship”.

2013 has seen the band expand their touring territory, playing festivals and shows throughout the Midwest, opening for acts as diverse as Dr. Ralph Stanley, John Cowan, and Hot Buttered Rum, and continuing to garner praise and gather fans. As one critic pronounced, “The Robot is on the Rise!”


Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle

buffwabsBuffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle is a Cincinnati based, 4 piece Americana/Folk band that blends the tradition of heroes like Woody Guthrie and Mississippi John Hurt w/ contemporary flavor. In its short existence, the band has grown its fan base by getting out in front of folks. Whether it’s the great variety of local shows or their regional touring, they always bring high energy onto every stage on which they perform.

Buffalo Wabs (aka Matt Wabnitz) spearheads this group, playing guitar and taking most of the vocal duties. Casey Campbell, Ian Mathieu, and Scott Risner comprise The Price Hill Hustle side of the equation. The group is deeply rooted in the tradition of Old Time pioneers; however, the energy they bring to a live performance could burn down the rowdiest honky-tonk in town.

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“The Hustle,” as they are often referred to, brings something uniquely different that is rarely found with bands. The band brings its own vibe everywhere it goes. It’s almost a culture in itself. Followers have even begun to invent their own vernacular; for example, you may hear someone say they got “Hustled” last night. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Getting “Hustled” is just one’s way of saying, “I saw Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle and they TORE IT UP!” Hopefully you can get yourself “Hustled” real soon.

April 23rd Band

The Cliftones

the_cliftones_4_25_13_cin_zoo_scott_preston-28-150x99The Cliftones are an original reggae band from Cincinnati, Ohio.  Their unique blend of roots and dance hall rhythms in combination with their 8 member band (including a phenomenal horn section) shakes the rafters and leaves the crowd a sweaty tired mess every time.  Their influences range from The Gladiators, The Congos, Lee Perry, Tony Rebel, Buju Banton, Michael Rose, Yellowman, Black Uhuru, Aswad, Bob Marley, Eek A Mouse, Dennis Brown, Max Romeo, the Hooters and many more.

April 30th Bands

Plastic Ants

plastic antsMaximum chamber pop from Cincinnati, Ohio, featuring singer-songwriter Robert Cherry, bassist-producer John Curley, drummer Joe Klug, and keyboardist-singer Guy Vanasse. In a world carved out by Plastic Ants you’re only as tall as the height of your hopes. And things, well, they’re looking up.


Green Light Morning

Green-Light-MorningThe story of Green Light Morning started back when Aaron Bright (keyboards/backing vox) and Aaron Patrick (lead vox/guitar) met touring in previous bands the big creak and Oval Opus respectfully. They met when both bands had a song placed in the same Universal movie called Winter Break. This led to their bands trading shows across the Midwest and up and down the east coast. This has offered Green Light Morning a quick uptake in initial fans despite the bands infancy.

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It was important to the Aaron’s that if they were going to reinvigorate their music career that they carefully craft the best recording they could. This led them to recording their first EP with producer Rich Stine at Fidelitorioum Recording studios in Kernersville, NC where legendary bands like REM, Ben Folds Five and Wilco recorded their initial albums. It was mixed by Micah Wilshire  (Mark Ballas, Pat McGee, Honor by August) and mastered by Brad Blackwood (Maroon 5, Alison Kraus, Sister Hazel, the Black Eyed Peas).  John Benham aka jb4 (drummer) had been working with the duo and jumped on board with the band at this time.

After hearing the results of their work the trio quickly knew they needed to form a band and the next logical move was to add in Ted Burger (guitarist) and Michael Theobald (bass) to the mix. In November 2011, Green Light Morning was born. A fresh new writing project based on story telling lyrics combined with soul and melodic hooks.  Whether Green Light Morning plays as a two/three piece or a full band their shows offer a honest and rememberable experience in which you will find yourself singing along.

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