Giant Fiona Nutcracker

Posted November 3, 2022

Giant Fiona Nutcracker in Place at Cincinnati Zoo for PNC Festival of Lights! 

24-ft-tall hippo ready to welcome guests with a smile  

CINCINNATI, OH (November 3, 2022) — Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s 40th annual PNC Festival of Lights is two weeks away, but the symbolic start of the Zoo’s holiday season was put in place this morning when a new, giant Fiona nutcracker was erected at the Zoo’s main entrance. 

Assembly Time Lapse Video | Photos 

“This nutcracker is truly unique,” said Cincinnati Zoo’s vice president of marketing and visitor experience Chad Yelton. “It’s 24 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and looks just like Fiona!  COST of Wisconsin did an incredible job putting her together.” 

Fiona fans will have fun finding hidden details on the nutcracker that are part of the famous hippo’s story.  Some of the “Easter Eggs” to look for are: 

  • Six slices of watermelon on her belt (because she was born 6 weeks pre-mature and loves watermelon) 
  • Camera on the belt buckle because she grew up in front of the camera 
  • 29 buttons on her coat represent her birthweight of 29 pounds 
  • Aquarius symbol on the buttons is a nod to her astrological sign 
  • Her birth stone, garnet, is in her crown  
  • Fritz, her new little brother, is painted on her toenail 

“There are other items of significance on the structure, which is made of steel and fiberglass, but we’ll let people have fun finding those on their own,” said Yelton. “It took 12 people about 1650 hours to make our vision come to life.  We are thrilled with how it turned out!” 

PNC Festival of Lights opens to the public on November 18 and runs through January 8, 2023.  The event is FREE for Zoo members, and memberships are on sale now!! General admission tickets can be purchased here.