38th Annual PNC Festival of Lights is Back with More Lights and More Zoo for You
Safety modifications include limiting capacity and requiring masks
During a year when everything seems different, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is making sure that Cincinnatians can count on at least one tradition. In order to offer a safe experience for all, guests will be required to wear masks at the Zoo starting November 21, when the 38th PNC Festival of Lights opens to the public.*
“Due to the recent surge in COVID cases, we are taking extra precautions to keep our guests, staff and animals safe this holiday season. Even Santa will be wearing a mask,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “We’ve created a whole village for Santa so kids can visit him in an outdoor setting and also get photos without getting too close.”
He will be sitting in a sleigh, and guests will be positioned next to it. Other safety precautions that the Zoo is taking this year include limiting the number of guests in the Zoo at one time by requiring reservations, serving food at walk up windows, installing plexiglass between seats on the North Polar Express, and cancelling the public tree lighting ceremony and activities that encourage gathering in one spot.
“People are sure to miss the popular Mad Cap Puppet show, but we have to do everything we can to encourage social distancing. The amphitheater, where the show is usually held, will be open so guests can flow through and admire the new Circle of Light lantern display that’s been set up on the stage,” said Maynard.
Guests will still be able to enjoy traditional favorites like the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, giant animal lanterns, train and carousel rides, S’more stations, searching for Fiona fairies in Fiona’s Fairyland, strolling down Candy Cane Lane, and visiting the Frozen Sisters.
Masks are required for all guests ages 6 and older. A variety of masks, including an inexpensive disposable version, are available for purchase at the gate, in gift shops, and online. Animal faces and a new light up design can make mask wearing more fun!
*Seasonal Hours! Starting November 21, the Zoo will open at 1pm daily and close at 9pm. Rides start at 2:30pm, and visits with Santa start at 4pm.