Santa Delivers Gifts to Cincinnati Zoo Animals Ahead of Long Trip Back to North Pole

Posted December 22, 2020

CINCINNATI (December 22, 2020) – All of the animals at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are on Santa’s nice list, but he made a few special gift deliveries to some of its younger residents as he prepares to head back to the North Pole.  Tomorrow night, December 23, is the last night that PNC Festival of Lights guests will be able to visit him in his outdoor wonderland.

“Santa brought baby rhino Ajani Joe a great big ball and went with a sure favorite for red pandas – bamboo,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard.  “Fiona was thrilled with the lettuce that he brought her and liked the box it was on just as much! Baby wallaby Pocket and baby giraffe Theo took their time investigating Santa’s gifts.”

The Zoo’s internal elves, aka the volunteer enrichment committee, helped Santa prepare gift boxes, houses, and stockings using recycled materials and non-toxic paint that is keeper approved and safe for the animals.  The curator of nutrition selected the edible treats!

“This year, visits with Santa were a little different.  Guests were socially distant from him but were still able to get great photos posing next to the sleigh where Santa sat,” said Maynard.  “We set up a whole village in one of our picnic shelters in order to move the experience outside.  Santa wore a mask, as he did for the gift delivery!”

There are still two nights, tonight and tomorrow night, left to visit Santa.  The Zoo will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  PNC Festival of Lights reopens on December 26 and runs through January 3. Join us on December 31 for Happy ZOO Year, powered by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers. Reservations for all dates are required.

BONUS NIGHTS! Bonus nights (January 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17) have been added to give everyone a chance to see the lights! Experience PNC Festival of Lights for yourself and find out why USA Today readers have voted it #1 Best Zoo Lights in the country for the past three years!