Holiday Tradition Continues with 34th Annual PNC Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo

Posted November 15, 2016
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CINCINNATI (November 15, 2016) – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden will once again be transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 34th annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to admiring the beauty of 2.5 million LED lights, visitors can watch a Madcap black-light puppet show, ride the BB&T Toyland Express, search for fairies in Fairyland, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands. PNC Festival of Lights opens nightly November 19 and goes through January 1, 2017 from 5 – 9 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and 5-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. NEW: Santa will be available for visits starting at 4 p.m., an hour before the rest of the festivities begin.

Enjoy an enhanced Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake with new lights, colors, 25-ft tree, floating spheres and synchronized music! Meet the Royal Sisters in the Frozen Wonderland themed area and be sure to peek through the windows in Gingerbread Village to find the mouse hiding in each of the gingerbread houses.

PNC Bank has supported the annual holiday festival as title sponsor for more than 20 years. “PNC is proud of our long standing partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo. The PNC Festival of Lights signifies the beginning of the holiday season each year and allows friends and family to create and celebrate traditions as they enjoy the lights, sights and sounds together,” said Kay Geiger, President, Greater Cincinnati/N. Kentucky.

Photo opportunities! Children can visit Santa (starting at 4 p.m.) through December 23rd, when he flies back to the North Pole, and costumed characters are always strolling through the park, ready for pictures and fun with guests of all ages. The breathtaking, 35-foot-tall tree blanketed with more than 20,000 LED lights in the Zoo’s Historic Vine Street Village makes a great family photo backdrop.

12224491_431773490352859_1090474428_nAnd there’s more! Board the BB&T Toyland Express to take in all the sights and lights around the Zoo. Entertainment options include nightly performances of Winter Wonders by Madcap Puppet Theatre and two movies in the Special FX 4-D Theater. Tickets for specific show times for The Polar Express™ 4-D Experience and Ice Age – A Mammoth Christmas can be purchased in advance (recommended).

Enjoy delightful seasonal fare such as fresh-baked cookies, caramel apples, funnel cakes, hot pretzels and roasted nuts. Or, choose to warm up with a mug of Starbucks coffee, a glass of hot apple cider or some hot chocolate. Be sure to also visit the popular S’mores-N-More Stations where guests can purchase a S’more kit and roast marshmallows over an open fire. As always, the Zoo’s gift shops, including the Zoo Shop at the Historic Vine Street Village and the Handcrafted Gift Shop Presented by the Zoosters, located in the P & G Discovery Forest, will be open for shopping. Stop in, take a look around, and pick up some memorable and unique gifts—there is something for everyone!

Guests can also warm up and enjoy many of the Zoo’s indoor animal exhibits, including World of the Insect, Manatee Springs and Night Hunters.

Back by popular demand, the Zoo will be hosting Happy Zoo Year, powered by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers, on Saturday, December 31, from 5-10 p.m. and kids of all ages are invited! Come out and meet Father Time and Baby Zoo Year during a one-of-a-kind meet and greet. Enjoy an EARLY Zoo Year Countdown starting at 8:55 p.m. and top off the night with party favors and Rozzi’s fireworks.

Half-Priced coupons for select nights are available at participating Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Skyline Chili locations. Coupons are valid November 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, and 30 & December 5, 6 & 7. Discount tickets are also available online at and at any area Kroger, good for $2 off adult and $1 off child admission any night of the event.

Celebrate 34 years of family fun and tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo’s PNC Festival of Lights. The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. The PNC Festival of Lights festivities are from 5 – 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5 – 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from November 19 – January 1, 2017, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.