Cincinnati Zoo’s PNC Festival of Lights Voted #1 in the Nation 5 Years in a Row!

Posted December 16, 2022

29 ft tall fiona the hippo nutcrackerWinner of Best Zoo Lights in USA Today’s 2022 10Best poll

CINCINNATI (December 16, 2022) –  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 2022 Readers’ Choice poll! It is the fifth 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 2022 10Best poll.

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“This year marks the 40th anniversary of PNC Festival of Lights, so it’s especially meaningful for the event to be recognized as the best,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “The secret to making the event magical year after year is to add some new things like a Fiona Nutcracker and keep the best of the best, like the Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake and the dazzling Rainbow Tunnel.”

PNC Festival of Lights runs now through January 8.  December 23 is the last chance to visit with Santa, in the all-new Santa’s Village, before he returns to the North Pole.

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.

See for yourself why we’re the best!  Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday – Thursdays and 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays during PNC Festival of Lights. The new electric train starts running daily at 2:30 p.m.   For more information visit