39th Annual Festival of Lights lights up the Cincinnati Zoo with over 4 million LED lights Things to do in Cincinnati

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Photo: Vincent Di Francesco

The festival of lights

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden transforms into an illuminated wonderland again this year for the 39th Annual Festival of Lights, rated the #1 zoo light show in America by USA today for three consecutive years.

This year’s exhibit will feature 4 million LED lights spread throughout the park, as well as 27 light-up animal lanterns and the fan-favorite synchronized Wild Lights show at Swan Lake. A new “Under the Sea” area in Cat Canyon will provide immersive fun and a new photo op. Other light-up selfie stops include Candy Cane Lane near Gorilla World and the Wings of the World Polar Chair.

Visit Santa’s Village with Santa starting at 4 p.m. daily or watch the Madcap blacklight puppet show. North Polar Express train journeys start at 2:30 p.m.

Holly Jolly Elves with happy singing voices – from Lachey Arts (as in Drew Lachey) – will roam the zoo with other costumed characters. And special glittering Fiona fairy statues will be hidden around Hippo Cove to find (but not take).

If you need something to warm up, stop by one of the s’more stations to roast your own treat or grab a bag of freshly roasted nuts. For an extra kick, add a shot of schnapps to your steamy hot chocolate.

If you want to catch the animals, the zoo recommends coming earlier in the day and staying. Indoor exhibits will also be open.

The Festival Of Lights runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily from November 19 to January 19. 9, 2022. The Cincinnati Zoo itself still opens at 10 a.m. daily during this time. The Festival of Lights is included with admission to the zoo.

For more details and tickets, visit cincinnatizoo.org.

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