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PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden starts Saturday

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PNC Festival of Lights has returned. Here’s what you need to know about the event.
Cincinnati Enquirer

The PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is coming back this weekend for its 37th year. 

Festival of Lights will open Nov. 16 and will run through Jan. 4.

The Zoo will be 3 million times brighter than usual, illuminated by eco-friendly LED lights and larger-than-life animal lanterns, event organizers said.

This year visitors will see new Fiona fairy statues in Fiona’s Fairyland and can take holiday photos in Fiona’s Freeze Frame, which will be decorated to provide a festive, 360-degree backdrop.

“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, PNC president of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.


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With cold weather in the forecast, guests can warm up and see animals in heated buildings including World of the Insect, Manatee Springs and Night Hunters.

The Zoo will also be hosting Happy Zoo Year, powered by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers, from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 31. Kids of all ages are invited to an early “Zoo Year” countdown starting at 8:55 p.m. and top off the night with party favors and Rozzi’s fireworks.

What you need to know before you go: 

Hours: 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Dates it will be closed: Festival of Lights will not be open Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day

Santa Claus: Santa will be available for visits and photos starting at 4 p.m. daily, an hour before the rest of the festivities begins. Sensory-friendly visits with Santa can be scheduled in advance.

Cost: Prices for traditionally lower-traffic nights – like Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays –will be discounted this year. Discount tickets are available at any area Kroger, good for $2 off adult and $1 off child admission any night of the event.


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