The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's Festival of Lights Returns This November

When we needed it most, the zoo is working hard to fill their park with the dazzling lights of the holiday season for their annual display

click to enlarge PNC Festival of Lights - Photo: Hailey Bollinger
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
PNC Festival of Lights

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has announced the return of their annual PNC Festival of Lights, and this year, zoo employees, board members, volunteers (and some elves) are lending a hand to fill park with holiday spirit. 

“Hanging four million lights is a huge undertaking, and we needed a little extra manpower to get the job done this year,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard in a press release.

“We asked each department to adopt a section of the Zoo. The scientists placed every bulb precisely where it was supposed to go, the education team is still discussing the best approach to hanging, and the IT team built a robot to do the hanging for them! Jokes aside, a universal spirit of teamwork, pride and friendly competition was fun to witness."

click to enlarge Staff and volunteers hanging lights - Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo
Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo
Staff and volunteers hanging lights

The PNC Festival of Lights, which has been named the No. 1 light display in the nation by USA Today for the past two years, will return on Nov. 21 with reservations required. The zoo will be open daily from 1-9 p.m. The zoo says if you'd like to see the animals during your visit, make reservations between the hours of 1-5 p.m.

The Festival of Lights will continue through Jan. 3, and then will be open for "bonus nights" Jan. 8-10 and Jan. 15-17. 

This year the fest will feature "socially-distanced outdoor visits with Santa" at 4 p.m. daily (through Dec. 23); three s'more stations; North Polar Express train rides; Fiona fairy statues in Fiona Fairyland; giant animal lanterns; and fun and festive photo ops throughout the park. 

Visitors are required to wear masks when inside buildings or in areas where social distancing is not possible. 

Tickets start at $14 for adults; $8 for children and seniors. PNC Festival of Lights is included in admission. 

For more info, visit the the Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights page

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