The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's fabulous Fiona is turning 4 years old on Jan. 24, and to celebrate, the zoo is hosting a one-of-a-kind fundraiser where the winner gets to meet the sassy hippo in person.
Float4Fiona is a floating fruit race where people can purchase a numbered apple, which will then be placed in Fiona and Bibi's habitat at Hippo Cove.
After, those hundreds of apples will very slowly bob their way to the finish line.
The owner of the winning apple and three guests will get to meet Fiona — "the apple of everyone’s eye" — in person.
“Since we can’t invite people to a big old party for Fiona this year, we will hold the race before the Zoo opens on her birthday, Jan. 24, and share it live on Facebook so people everywhere can watch and hope their apple finishes first,” said Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard in a release. “If you win and are not able to travel to meet Fiona in person, you can opt for a private video chat and custom-made hippo kiss painting.”
The first four apples to cross the finish line will win. There's the grand prize winner — who gets to meets Fiona — and the owners of apples two, three and four will receive a special limited-edition Fiona kiss print.
Each apple is $5, or you can buy a four-pack for $16. All Float4Fiona apple proceeds will go to the Zoo’s Emergency Operating Fund, which was established after the COVID closure earlier in 2020.
“Cincinnati Zoo animals eat about 15,000 pounds of apples a year, and the Emergency Operating fund helps us cover that cost,” said Maynard. “In addition to raising much-needed funds, the event is sure to be a bushel of fun!”
The race takes place at 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 24 and you can watch on Facebook live at facebook.com/cincinnatizoo.
The winners will be announced during the race. And, unfortunately, due to COVID, fans will not be able to watch the race in-person.
For more info and to purchase apples, visit store.cincinnatizoo.org.