USA Today Ranks Cincinnati Zoo’s PNC Festival of Lights #1 for Third Consecutive Year!

Posted December 18, 2020

Cincinnati Zoo clinches top spot on 10Best Zoo Lights list

CINCINNATI  (December 18, 2020) –USA Today announced the results of their 2020 10Best Poll for Best Zoo Lights contest today, and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s PNC Festival of Lights took the top spot for the third year in a row!

“We had to make a lot of adjustments this year, for the safety of guests, staff, and animals, so being recognized for still being the best is especially meaningful,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “People are so happy to be here, and I think the beautiful lights and holiday atmosphere really offer a much-needed escape. Thank you to everyone who has visited and to those who took the time to vote!”

There are still spots available to enjoy the 4 million lights at the PNC Festival of Lights this year, and Bonus Nights have been added in January.  In order to allow guests to be socially distant, the Zoo is limiting capacity andrequiring reservations.

“Pulsing entry times has worked remarkably well from a safety standpoint and has improved the guest experience.  For the first time in years, parking hasn’t been an issue,” said Maynard.

Traditional favorites are being offered again this year with some modifications.  Santa is set up in a sleigh in an outdoor wonderland, and guests can sit next to it to get photos.  Delicious holiday treats are available at walk up windows, and plexiglass has been installed between seats on the North Polar Express.

The popular Mad Cap Puppet show is not happening this year, but the Zoo’s amphitheater 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.

Other things that make PNC Festival of Lights the best include the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, giant animal lanterns, 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! The Zoo opens at 1pm daily and closes at 9pm.  Rides start at 2:30pm, and visits with Santa start at 4pm. December 23 is the last night to see Santa before he returns to the North Pole.