Cincinnati Zoo’s PNC Festival of Lights Voted #1 in the Nation 4 Years in a Row!

Posted December 17, 2021

Winner of Best Zoo Lights in USA Today’s 2021 10Best poll

 CINCINNATI (December 17, 2021) –  USA TODAY’s 10Best editors announced this morning that Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s PNC Festival of Lights took the top spot in the Best Zoo Lights category in its 2021 Readers’ Choice poll! It is the fourth consecutive year that the readers have voted Cincinnati Zoo #1 in this category.  Cincinnati Zoo also won in the Best Zoo category in USA TODAY’s summer 2021 10Best poll.

“So much work goes into hanging 4 million lights throughout the Zoo,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “Our core lighting team starts hanging in August and then it’s all-hands-on-deck leading up to opening night! I did a tree or two myself!  We add something different each year and keep the things that bring people back again and again, like the Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake and the dazzling Rainbow Tunnel.”

The event kicked off on November 19 and runs through January 9.  December 23 is the last chance to visit with Santa before he returns to the North Pole.  Sensory-friendly Santa visits are over for this year.

The spectacular lights are the main attraction during PNC Festival of Lights. Visitors coming to see animals should come earlier in the day or visit indoor habitats such as World of the Insect, Manatee Springs, and Night Hunters during the evening hours. The Zoo opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m.

See for yourself why we’re the best!  Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. during PNC Festival of Lights.   For more information visit

NOTE:  The Zoo will be closed December 24 and December 25.