PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden - Attractions

PNC Festival of Lights

PNC Festival of Lights

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
November - January

This family holiday tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden features visits with Santa and his reindeer and stories from Mrs. Claus, among other events.

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The annual PNC Festival of Lights is the #1 Zoo Lights display in the country, according to a USA Today poll! 

Open Sundays through Thursdays from 5 to 9 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Santa will be available for visits and photos starting at 4 p.m. daily, an hour before the rest of the festivities begin.

In addition to admiring the beauty of the lights, visitors can ride the BB&T Toyland Express, search for fairies in Fairyland, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, watch a Madcap black-light puppet show, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands. The Royal Sisters are back and ready to pose for pictures with their fans in the Frozen Wonderland themed area.

PNC Bank has supported the annual holiday festival as title sponsor for more than 20 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.

Photo opportunities! Children can visit Santa (check for dates and times) and costumed characters are always strolling through the park, ready for pictures and fun with guests of all ages. 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.

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).

Enjoy delightful seasonal fare such as fresh-baked cookies, caramel apples, funnel cakes, hot pretzels and roasted nuts. Or, purchase a S’more kit and roast marshmallows over an open fire. 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!

Guests can also warm up and enjoy many of the Zoo’s indoor animal habitats, including World of the Insect, Manatee Springs and Night Hunters. NOTE: The Wings of the World bird house will be closed for renovations.

Half-Priced coupons for select nights are available at participating Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Skyline Chili locations. Discount tickets are also available online at and at any area Kroger.

Celebrate 35 years of family fun and tradition at the Cincinnati Zoo’s PNC Festival of Lights. The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. The PNC Festival of Lights festivities are from 5 – 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5 – 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from November 18 – January 1, 2018, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

Share your #PNCFestivalOfLights pictures, especially photos suggested in the all new scavenger hunt, on social media using #cincyzoopic for a chance to be featured in future Zoo marketing material!