Event HighLIGHTs

Dates and Times

Nov. 19, 2021 – Jan. 9, 2022

Zoo Hours during PNC Festival of Lights: 10:00am – 9:00pm

  • Festival of Lights activities begin at 4pm
  • No additional charge. This event is included with Zoo Admission.  Visit the Zoo early and stay for the lights!

Santa’s Village

festival of lights santa

Visit with Santa in Santa’s Village nightly at 4pm!

Stop by to see Mrs. Claus in the main gift shop nightly at 4pm!

MadCap Winter Wonders

Don’t miss nightly performances at 6:30pm, 7:30pm, and 8:30pm at the Wings of Wonder Bird Amphitheater

Polar Express Train Tunnel

The Polar Express Train will be equipped with a longer-than-ever light tunnel to make your ride extra bright! North Polar Express train ride begins at 4:00pm.

  • Wonder at the 4 million LED lights throughout the Zoo
  • Families will enjoy searching for Fiona fairy statues in Fiona’s Fairyland
  • Guests will enjoy the new immersive “Under the Sea” area.
  • 27 larger than life Animal Lanterns located throughout the Zoo
  • Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake
  • Meet costume characters
  • Ride the North Polar Express Train Ride daily starting at 2:30pm
  • Roast Smore’s at the Smore’s Stations
  • Enjoy freshly roasted nuts and other holiday treats
  • See animals inside multiple indoor heated buildings
  • Play the 2021 Scavenger Hunt
  • Share your PNC Festival of Lights pictures on social media using #cincyzoopic for a chance to be featured in future Zoo marketing material!

Photo Opp Spots

Pose for Instagram-worthy photos in front of our many photo opp areas!

Sponsored by:

2021 Scavenger Hunt

Looking for another fun way to enjoy #PNCFestivalofLights? Test your knowledge during the new scavenger hunt. Make your way through the Zoo to solve these festive riddles and heat things up with a little friendly competition! Share your scavenger hunt pictures on social media using #cincyzoopic for a chance to be featured in future Zoo marketing material.

Scavenger Hunt



Bright Tips

These tips will help you maximize your holiday experience!

Visit Early to See Animals

PNC Festival of Lights is all about… the LIGHTS! Our Zoo animals usually head indoors around 5pm or sooner so make sure to come early and stay for the lights if you’re hoping to see animals!

Access for All

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Zoo Access for All program is designed to encourage families and individuals of all backgrounds to visit our world-class organization to build lifelong and multi-generational memories.

PNC Festival of Lights Social Narrative

Dress for Cold Weather & Bring a Blanket

Dress warm! You can always shed a layer!

Know How to Get to the Zoo

Our street address is: 3400 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45220. Directions > 

Memberships make Great Gifts

Give the gift that keeps giving! Renew, purchase or gift a membership! The holidays are a peak time for membership gifts and renewals!

Membership Information


The main Zoo lot is open!

Visitors may enter the Zoo using the Pavilion Entry Building from the Main Parking Lot, equipped with stairs & elevators to get to bridge level.

Additional parking can be found on the corner of Erkenbrecher Ave and Vine St. with the Erkenbrecher walk-in entrance.


Food & Drink

Warm-up with a variety of holiday treats available throughout the park!

Food Options

Warm-up with a variety of holiday treats available throughout the park!

Hops: Located in the Vine Street Village, near the new Roo Valley. Funnel Fries with seasonal toppings and dipping sauces.

Sweet Retreat: Located in The Grove. Try our new seasonal doughnut flavors!  Cinnamon sugar pretzels are also available.

The Coop: Located in The Grove. Warm-up with our famous smoked chicken grilled cheese with tomato soup!

S’mores N’ More: Located Vine Street Entry Village. Feel the warmth over an open fire while roasting marshmallows. Purchase a single s’more or a family pack of s’mores (feeds a family of 4), hot chocolate, and caramel corn.

Taco Caja: This stand will be transformed into Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen, a wintery snack haven including S’mores Kits to roast by The Grove fire pit!

Wild Burger:  Located in The Grove. Grab dinner at the Wild Burger with offerings like our Wild Burger or hot dog.  Loaded fries are also available here with toppings of bacon, cheddar, ranch, chili cheese, or philly cheese!

LaRosa’s: Located across from Kroger Lords of the Arctic. Support our local pizzeria and order cheese or pepperoni pizza, garlic & cheese breadsticks, fresh fountain soda, and hot chocolate.

Cup + Cone: Located inside Mai Thai’s Market. Feeling too warm? Cool off with a scoop or two of ice cream. Choose from twelve of Graeter’s most popular flavors and plenty of toppings to go along with it. Enjoy hot chocolate, add “Holiday Cheer”, cinnamon roasted almonds, caramel corn, or cookies and other seasonal favorites.

Tuskers: Located across from the Base Camp Café. Enjoy sweet cinnamon sugar pretzels, funnel cake, or hot chocolate, add some “Holiday Cheer”, choose from six different types of domestic and craft beers, and bottled beverages.

Base Camp Café: Want to skip the line?  Base Camp Café will be available for mobile ordering each night till 8pm. Order online from a selection of great dinner options including; LaRosa’s Pizza, Skyline Cheese Coneys, Chicken Tenders, Burgers and more.

Candy Cane Cottage: Located next to the Base Camp Café. Get refreshed with three flavors of gourmet hot chocolates, caramel corn, and cinnamon roasted almonds. Get warmed up with a hot coffee or latte.