The 39th Annual PNC Festival of Lights Kicks Off Tomorrow Night at the Cincinnati Zoo

Posted November 18, 2021

More lights, more entertainment, more fun!

CINCINNATI (November 18, 2021) – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s 39th PNC Festival of Lights opens to the public tomorrow night and runs through January 9!  Bring your family and friends to Cincinnati’s favorite holiday tradition and see why it’s the #1 Zoo Lights display in the country*.

“It really does get better every year,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard. “We always add something new and keep the things that bring people back again and again, like the Wild Lights Show on Swan Lake and the dazzling Rainbow Tunnel.”

Visitors are sure to get excited about the new Under the Sea area where they will be surrounded by lights and giant, colorful jellyfish. Pose for Instagram-worthy photos here and at Elfie Selfie Stations, sponsored by T-Mobile, set up throughout the Zoo.  Find them using the Zoo’s new interactive map app!

“The new app is really easy to use and will help visitors find restrooms, food, animal habitats, and all the special holiday activities around the Zoo,” said Maynard. “Select your desired destination on the map, and a dotted line will guide you from where you are to where you want to go!”

The four million LED lights, hung with care by Zoo employees and volunteer elves, are the main attraction during PNC Festival of Lights. Visitors coming to see animals should come earlier in the day or visit indoor habitats such as World of the Insect, Manatee Springs, and Night Hunters during the evening hours. Starting tomorrow, the Zoo will be open daily from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Santa will be available for visits and photos in the Serengeti Shelter starting at 4 p.m. To give more people a chance to ride the popular North Polar Express Train, sponsored by Superior Credit Union, it will start running at 2:30 p.m. daily.  AND, it will chug through a longer-than-ever light tunnel to make your ride extra bright!

“We’re thrilled to welcome the Madcap black-light puppet show back this year,” said Maynard.  “The Royal Sisters will be here too, ready to pose for pictures with their fans in a Frozen Wonderland themed area.”

Save time and money by purchasing tickets online before you visit.  Prices for traditionally lower traffic nights, such as Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, will be as much as half less than those purchased for the most popular nights.  Prices will go up based on demand for certain nights, so buy early to get the best rate. Memberships are on sale now and are a great value if you want to enjoy the Zoo year-round.  A Standard Membership pays for itself in just 2 visits!

PNC Bank has supported the annual holiday festival as title sponsor for almost 25 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.

Share your #PNCFestivalOfLights pictures on your social channels using #cincyzoopic for a chance to be featured in future Zoo marketing materials.

*VOTE for PNC Festival of Lights! USA Today readers have voted PNC Festival of Lights #1 in the Best Zoo Lights category for the last 3 years and is nominated again this year – vote here!