There are tons of fun and educational experiences at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Between the animal shows, animal keeper chats, and animal interactions, there’s plenty to do, see, and learn about during your fun-filled day at the Zoo! If you would like to build your own schedule, download our mobile app and plan your day!Seasonal SuggestionsWinterNovember 20 – January 2Itinerary Option A 10:00am – Elephants Start your day visiting Asian elephants Jati, Schottzie, Mai Thai and Sabu at the Elephant Reserve. It’s a great way to start off your day at the Zoo, up close to these very active and intelligent animals!10:30am – AfricaIt might be too chilly for some of the animals to be outside, but stop by and see giraffes and meerkats who have viewing areas for their indoor exhibits! Phase V, the final phase of Africa, will feature one of the most charismatic African wildlife species – Nile hippopotamus – in an exhibit that will give you the opportunity to see these enormous animals both above and under water. This should prove very exciting, since our hippos will be a breeding pair! Phase V is expected to open in summer 2016.11:00am – Wings of the World Bird House Warm up in the Bird House! Feathers, wings and hollow bones are just a few of the physical characteristics that enable birds to fly. The ability to fly has allowed a great diversity of birds to arise and successfully adapt to habitats across the globe. Wings of the World welcomes visitors to a celebration of flight.Originally a reptile house built in 1936, Wings of the World was renovated in 1996 to house and display a variety of birds from songbirds to puffins. Elaborate artwork and lavishly planted aviaries give life to naturalistic exhibits, portraying habitats such as rainforests, grasslands and wetlands.11:45am – Base Camp Cafe All that fun and walking around has probably put you in the mood for some lunch! Check out America’s Greenest Restaurant Base Camp Café for a selection of different meals from burgers and salads to weekday daily specials. With great food and an outstanding view of the Zoo’s Africa exhibit, you can’t go wrong with this combination at the Base Camp Café!12:45pm – Manatee Springs Take a seat in front of the Zoo’s female manatees Betsy and BamBam at Manatee Springs. While warming up inside this exhibit, learn all about the manatee release program that the Zoo takes part in while watching these two manatees swim around, eat, and play!After just learning all about manatees, why not ride one? The Conservation Carousel is a short walk from Manatee Springs and with 32 animals to choose from, kids love the opportunity to ride the different animals that they’ve seen on their Zoo trip! 1:15pm – Bears A polar bear playing with toys? See the Zoo’s polar bears Berit and Little One do just that and more! These marine mammals will be up close while they swim around and interact with each other while you learn all sorts of new polar bear facts. On the way, stop by and see Chester the Andean bear and Mato & Yona the American black bears.Your day at the Zoo isn’t over yet! With many, many more exhibits to see and many, many more animals to interact with, there’s no shortage of fun and adventure at the Cincinnati Zoo!Itinerary Option B4:00pm – 4D Special-FX TheaterPNC Festival of Lights is about to begin! Relax in the 4D Special-FX Theater for a short show before the light show. Immerse yourself in a cinematic adventure that combines 3D projection with thrilling sensory effects such as wind, mist, snow, scents, and more. This one-of-a-kind experience is filled with excitement, stunning visuals, and all sorts of surprises. (Theater, Train & Carousel hours: 4pm-close daily from November 20 – January 2)5:00pm – Sifaka chatWarm up in Jungle Trails and learn about sifaka from their keepers! The sifaka is a large lemur built for a specialized type of locomotion called vertical clinging and leaping. Maintaining an upright posture, it uses its powerful legs to jump from tree to tree. Active by day, the sifaka sleeps in small groups high up in the treetops to avoid predators at night.5:30pm – Meet a Creature Inside Manatee Springs (and also at the Education Center) get close enough to care with some of the Zoo’s variety of special animals in the education programs. While you’re there, take a seat in front of the Zoo’s female manatees Betsy and BamBam. While warming up inside this exhibit, learn all about the manatee release program that the Zoo takes part in while watching these two manatees swim around, eat, and play!6:00pm – Kea EncounterGet close enough to care with the kea at Wings of the World! Unlike most parrots, the kea is adapted to a non-tropical mountain climate and will eat nearly anything edible. Famous for its curiosity and playfulness, the kea has been known to cause quite a bit of damage to the sealing around car windows and windshield wipers with its long, sharp beak.Warm up in the Bird House!6:30pm – Giraffe Chat Take a peek into the indoor giraffe exhibit and learn all about your favorite (tall) animals from their keepers. Do you know how many neck bones a giraffe has or why their tongue is purple? Get all of your questions answered at this chat.6:30pm – Elephant Q& A Warm up inside with your three favorite pachyderms Jati, Schottzie and Mai Thai at the Elephant Reserve! Learn more about these incredibly sensitive, intelligent and magnificent creatures from their keepers.7:00pm – PNC Festival of Lights The Holiday tradition continues with 33rd annual PNC Festival of Lights! Continue to make your way through the Zoo to experience the magic of the twinkling lights illuminating the Zoo. Stop by the brand new Frozen Wonderland themed area where you can meet everyone’s favorite Royal Sisters and then head over to the new Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake.7:30pm – Bonobo chatAs your making your way around the light show, stop back by Jungle Trails for the bonobo chat to learn more about this intelligent, and extremely endangered species from their keepers. Also called the pygmy chimp, the bonobo is slightly smaller than the common chimpanzee. Sharing more than 98% of its DNA with humans, the bonobo is our closest living relative. Like humans, bonobos live in family groups and are highly intelligent.7:30pm – Carousel & TrainDon’t forget to hop on the Polar Express train and the Conservation Carousel while you’re here! With 32 animals to choose from, kids love the opportunity to ride the different animals that they’ve seen on their Zoo trip! Take a ride on an all-time Zoo favorite! Our Safari Train is FUN for the whole family, taking visitors on a journey around the Zoo. The ride starts with a trip through Wolf Woods, then gives riders a bird’s-eye peak into the African Veldt, and finishes with a relaxing ride around Swan Lake. This is an experience you won’t want to miss!Your day at the Zoo isn’t over yet! With many, many more exhibits to see and many, many more animals to interact with, there’s no shortage of fun and adventure at the Cincinnati Zoo!Blogger ToursRoad Trip USA by Kevin RichbergA Day at the Zoo by This Ohio LifeInsider’s Guide: Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Visit to The Cincinnati ZooThane’s Special Tour of the Cincinnati ZooZoo Director Thane Maynard has given hundreds of tours of the zoo over his 37 years here. So here are his tips on maximizing your visit to the park.Cheetah EncounterSee the fastest runners in the world at their best. Catch our Cheetah Encounter Show at the Cathryn Hilker Running Yard.Wolf WoodsPerhaps the best kept secret at the zoo, our Mexican wolves are great animals with a great conservation story to tell.Blakely's Barnyard bonanzaThis Children’s Zoo show is hilariously fun and active, particularly for young families.Wings of Wonder Bird ShowThe best bird show I have ever seen anywhere just completed its 31st season under trainer Gary Denzler.World of the InsectThe Cincinnati Zoo’s Insectarium is home to the largest collection of living insects on Earth.Gorilla WorldOur western lowland gorillas are one of the best exhibits any time of day. Simply great.Base Camp CaféSharing a meal on the deck overlooking our new Africa exhibit is hands down the best dining experience this side of the Serengeti. Mix it up and try a zoo salad.Passenger Pigeon MemorialThis 140 year old building houses a tribute to “Martha,” the last of her kind.Sumatran RhinoThe Cincinnati Zoo is the only place outside of Indonesia where you can see the rarest large mammal in the world.