We did it….again! Cincinnati Zoo voted #1 Best Zoo Lights in the country!

Posted December 14, 2019

CINCINNATI  (December 13, 2019) –USA Today announced the results of their 2019 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 second year in a row!

“We’re thrilled to be #1 on this list again,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “We start hanging lights in August and work to make our holiday event bigger and better every year!  It’s great to be recognized as the best, and we are proud to have been voted Best Zoo and Best Zoo Lights in 2019. Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote!”

Experience it for yourself and find out why PNC Festival of Lights has become a family tradition.  For the 37th year of the event, the Zoo will be transformed into a “Wild Wonderland,” illuminated by 3 million LED lights.

The #1 Zoo Lights display in the country is open Sundays through Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through January 4.  Santa is available for visits and photos, through December 23, starting at 4 p.m. daily, an hour before the rest of the festivities begin. If you’re not sure what to ask for, here’s a handy gift guide!

NEW this year:

Families will enjoy searching for Fiona fairy statues in Fiona’s Fairyland and taking holiday photos in Fiona’s Freeze Frame, which will be decorated to provide a festive, 360-degree backdrop! Guests will feel like they’re blanketed by stars in the new, immersive “Northern Lights” experience and can get holiday-themed snacks and beverages, as well as craft beer, right around the corner at the new “Hops”. AND, getting into the Zoo will be much easier this year with an additional walk-in entrance on Erkenbrecher Ave.

Plan-ahead Pricing allows guests to save by purchasing tickets for select dates online in advance.  Prices for traditionally lower traffic nights, such as Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, will be less (by as much as half!) 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. Discount tickets are available at any area Kroger, good for $2 off adult and $1 off child admission any night of the event.

In addition to admiring the beauty of the lights, visitors can ride the Toyland Express, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights Show featuring new music, watch an updated Madcap black-light puppet show, Fiona’s Winter Wonders, or make s’mores in three different locations. The Royal Sisters are back and ready to pose for pictures with their fans in a Frozen Wonderland themed area.

Photo opportunities! In addition to the new Fiona’s Freeze Frame, 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.  Costumed characters are always strolling through the park, ready for pictures and fun with guests of all ages.

And there’s more! Warm up in the Special FX 4-D Theater while you experience The Polar Express™ 4-D Experience.  Tickets for specific show times can be purchased in advance (recommended). NOTE: This is the last year for the 4D Theater and Polar Express.

Sample new menu items at Hops such as delicious waffle pops with flavors like cookies and cream, cinnamon toast crunch, or funfetti!  Funnel fries with chocolate sauce and cinnamon sugar pretzels are also available to warm up your night. 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!