Just because the weather is colder during the winter months doesn’t mean that you won’t find plenty to do at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
I’m sharing reasons and incentives for you visit the zoo during the non-peak-season, mid-January through the beginning of March.
1. You can participate in the Penguin Parade at the Cincinnati Zoo
Watch the cuteness of lots of penguins in action as they waddle from their habitat at Children’s Zoo to the Wings of the World habitat.
After the penguins pass you by in the parade, you are allowed to slowly join in on their Penguin parade by walking behind them.
Observe the Penguins before the Parade
The Penguins have such unique personalities and they are so funny to watch as they interact with each other.
We were cracking up as observed one of the penguins trying to take a power nap on a rock before it was time to join the others in its parade debut.
I dare you to try to not smile during the Penguin Parade because it’s almost impossible between the adorable penguins…and the adorable kids mimicking their walk as they pass by.
When is the Penguin Parade?
The Penguin Parade takes place when the weather temperatures are below 50 degrees for the penguins to walk.
You can watch the Penguin Parade from January 5- March 13 at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays in 2020.
(Special walks on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 20 & Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 17)
2. Discounted Admission During Penguin Days
During Penguin Days you can take advantage of half-price admission which is another incentive to visit during the cold weather (winter/ early spring cooler months.) This is a great way for families and groups to save on their visits.
For additional savings, check out the Penguin Pass (valid Saturdays and Sundays during Penguin Days only) which includes discounted admission, a 4-D experience in the 4-D Special FX Theater and $5 Zoo Bucks that you can spend anywhere in the Zoo.
Save Money on Cincinnati Zoo Admission
If you are purchasing your tickets outside of penguin days you can find discounted tickets when you purchase from the Cincinnati Zoo online which will also reduce your time in line when you arrive.
Additional Ways to Save on Cincinnati Zoo Admission
*Military & First Responders get $3 off adults and $2 off child admission. A Valid military, fire or police ID is required to obtain the discount and the tickets must be purchased in person.
*Purchase discounted tickets in local Kroger stores only for $2 off adult admission and $1 off child admissions.
*There are discounts available through local AAA only and the discount is not available at the Cincinnati Zoo ticketing window.
* Learn more about discounts for groups of 15 or more here.
3. Take Advantage of Fewer Crowds at the Zoo
When you visit the Cincinnati Zoo during the winter months after the holidays, you will notice the lighter crowds, especially the later it gets in the afternoon due to school letting out.
If you are concerned that your kids will get too cold, I suggest dressing them in snow pants and layered gear to help reduce complaints so that you can experience a longer stay.
4. Observe the Zoo Animals Who Actually Enjoy Cold Weather
There are many animals at the zoo that actually LOVE cold weather and as a result, they can be more active than in the hotter months.
A few cold-weather animals to be on the lookout for are the wolves, otters, red pandas, snow leopards, cougars, arctic fox, sea lion, and the polar bear….. who kept on posing for us like we were the paparazzi.
Unfortunately, the polar bear pictured above at the Cincinnati Zoo passed away in March of 2021.
5. Explore the Indoor Exhibits
Warm-up at the heated indoor exhibits located throughout the zoo at the World of Insects, Elephant House, Night Hunters, Dragons!, Wings of the World, Gorilla World (indoor viewing) and one of my favorites, Manatee Springs.
Check the daily special animal encounter schedule online before your visit to learn more about how you can meet and possibly touch ambassador animals located throughout the zoo at various times.
This is also a great opportunity to check out the 4-D theater which is included in the penguin pass.
You can find more information from the Cincinnati Zoo website.
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