The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is once again lit up this holiday season with the annual Festival of Lights.
The 41st annual PNC Festival of Lights runs Nov. 17-Jan. 7 and is open nightly, except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The zoo opens at 10 a.m. every day, with festival activities starting at 4 p.m., so you can come early to see the animals and stay late for the lights.
At the Festival of Lights, guests can enjoy over 4 million LED lights, a light show on Swan Lake, costumed characters, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, train rides on the North Polar Express, a blacklight puppet show, an immersive “Under the Sea” area and more. There will also be five Fiona fairies hidden throughout Fairyland for visitors to find, as well as plenty of delicious holiday treats like hot chocolate, roasted nuts and s’mores.
New additions this year include new lanterns in the “Under the Sea” display, light-up cotton candy and a 5-foot star for the Vine Street Village tree. You can now also be a part of the Swan Lake Wild Lights show by downloading the CUE Live app, which syncs your phone’s flashlight to the show. (Note from the zoo: The lake show and CUE app will have a strobing light effect. This show could be disruptive to those with sensitivity to light or those who have epilepsy.)
Festival of Lights will run from 4-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 4-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Keep scrolling for everything CityBeat saw during the Festival of Lights preview event.
Photos by Aidan Mahoney