29th Annual PNC Festival of Lights – November 25 – January 1

Posted November 16, 2011

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is making spirits bright this holiday season with the tri-state’s longest running holiday tradition – the 29th Annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to over two-million LED lights strung throughout the Zoo, guests can also enjoy Madcap puppets in black-light, a NEW Wild Lights Show, train rides, rappin’ elves and so much more.

The PNC Festival of Lights opens November 25 and glows through January 1, 2012 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m., nightly.

Find fairies like this one in Fairy Land.

This year, guests will enjoy more lights and more color than ever before as they journey through the Zoo’s themed areas. From Fairy Land where kids can search for the five hidden fairies to Candy Cane Forest, Twinkle Trail and Lemon-drop Lane! Through December 23, children can visit Santa in the North Pole and meet the Rappin’ Elves and other costumed characters as they stroll through the park for special appearances.

Cincinnati Zoo members are invited to kick off PNC Festival of Lights during a special members-only preview event on Wednesday, November 23 from 5 – 9 p.m. This year’s event will feature Ciara Bravo of Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush and Cincinnati’s own Nick Lachey, helping Santa light the tree at 6 p.m. in the Zoo’s Historic Vine Street Village.

As guests enter the Zoo they are welcomed at the entrance by a breath-taking 35-foot-tall tree, blanketed with more than 20,000 LED lights in the Zoo’s Historic Vine Street Village. Just beyond the entrance is Swan Lake, where visitors experience the spectacular sights and sounds of the Wild Lights Show – a 21-foot-tall computer-controlled tree with thousands of LED lights dancing to the beat of NEW holiday songs.

In the Wings of Wonder Theater, watch life size puppets come to life right before your eyes during live performances of Winter Wonders by Madcap Puppet Theatre. Each amazing black-light theater-style show features an array of holiday themes including snowmen, ice skating, and of course dancing marshmallows! Enjoy three shows nightly at 6:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Head on over to the Train Depot and see the sights aboard the North Polar Express or meet the Talking Tigers, “Blizzard” and “Snowflake.” Warm up inside the Special FX 4-D Theater for a showing of Happy Feet™ or Polar Express™ 4-D Experience. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance online. Shows will sell out early!

Visit the Zoo’s cold climate animal residents who are especially active and prefer cooler temperatures. Winter is the lions, polar bears, red pandas, Japanese macaques, sea lions and reindeer’s favorite time of the year! You can lose the scarves and mittens while visiting hundreds of other warm-weather animals inside more than a dozen heated indoor exhibits. Satisfy your sweet tooth with scrumptious seasonal fare such as fresh-baked cookies, caramel apples, funnel cakes, homemade fudge, hot pretzels and roasted nuts. Or warm up with Starbucks coffee, a glass of hot apple cider or hot chocolate. Cross items off of your holiday shopping list at one of the Zoo’s gift shops, including the Zoosters’ Treasure House and the Zoo Shop at the Historic Vine Street Village.

But it doesn’t end there! Guests are invited to ring in the Zoo Year with a bunch of “party animals”. Kids of all ages are invited to Happy Zoo Year as the Zoo holds its very own New Year’s Eve bash on Saturday, December 31 from 5 – 9 p.m. Meet Father Time and Baby Zoo Year during a one-of-a-kind meet and greet. Enjoy an EARLY Zoo Year Countdown at 8:55 p.m., complete with party favors and Rozzi’s fireworks.

Discounts are available! Visit any area United Dairy Farmers (UDF) and receive Half Priced Admission tickets good for Monday – Wednesday, through December 14. Discount tickets are also available at any area Kroger, good for $2 off adult and $1 off child admission any day of the event.

Celebrate 29 years of family and tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo PNC Festival of Lights. The Zoo opens daily at 9 a.m. The PNC Festival of Lights is open 5 – 9 p.m. nightly from November 25 – January 1, 2012, except on Christmas Eve and Day.