5 Reasons Why the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights is the Perfect Holiday Outing

One of our favorite holiday traditions is to go to the Cincinnati Zoo’s Festival of Lights. It’s a wonderful way to kick off the holiday season in Cincinnati. Festival of Lights has something for everyone – from parents to kids to teens and everything in between.

Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights

 

It’s Bigger and Brighter Than Ever

This year’s celebration will be bigger and brighter than ever with four million LED lights!

Christmas Tree at the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights

The zoo is covered with lights! From the candy cane forest to fairyland to tunnels of light.

Tunnel of lights at the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights

 

See Amazing Zoo Animal Lanterns

See some of your favorite zoo animals as lanterns. You’re not likely to see Fiona and Bibi outside but you CAN see them in lights!

Fiona at Festival of Lights
a Lioness Lantern at Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights

You’ll find 30 animal lanterns all around the zoo during Festival of Lights.

Gorilla Lanterns at the Festival of Lights, Cincinnati Zoo

There’s Lots of Fun for Kids of All Ages

The zoo has numerous “zones” including Santa’s Village. Santa arrives at the zoo each day at 4pm (through Dec. 23).

Santa with children at the Cincinati Zoo's Festival of Lights
photo credit: Festival of Lights, Lisa Hubbard

You can even catch a show or two. Madcap Puppets perform a black light  “Fiona’s Winter Wonders” puppet show every night.

Madcap Puppets at Festival of Lights, Cincinnati Zoo

You Can Take a Tour by Train

The North Polar Express Train will be running during the Festival of Lights. Enjoy the lights over Swan Lake and the rest of the zoo as you travel by rail. Train rides begin at 2:30pm.

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo

See Some Animals

Some of the animals will be out and ready to greet you. Zoo animals usually head indoors around 5pm or sooner so make sure to come early and stay for the lights if you’re hoping to see animals!

See more about which animals might be available on the day of your visit here.

Reptile House, Manatee Springs, World of Insect, Jungle Trails West, Dragons, Night Hunters, and Education will be open during PNC Festival of Lights.

an snowy day at the Festival of Lights
photo credit: Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo is open November 18, 2022 through January 8, 2023.

Festival of Lights and Cincinnati Zoo hours*:
Visits with Santa begin at 4pm (through Dec. 23) and Festival of Lights activities begin at 4pm; During the Festival of Lights the zoo closes at 9pm (Sundays-Thursdays) and 10pm (Fridays-Saturdays).

Festival of Lights is included in your Cincinnati Zoo admission. Parking fee is charged.

*PNC Festival of Lights is closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. The Zoo is closed all day on Christmas.

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