Festival of Lights is one of our annual holiday traditions each holiday season at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
There is something for the whole family to enjoy as the zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland. Each year there are new displays to see, holiday lights, Christmas music, and zoo animal shaped lanterns that guests look forward to each year.
I’m sharing ways for you to save money on your next visit Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo.
I’ve been going to Festival of Lights with my family ever since I was a little kid.
I brought my boyfriend turned husband to Festival of Lights when he visited my hometown during college break and now I love creating memories with my own kids.
Family members of all ages will love experiencing the magic of the holidays together at the zoo.
Purchase Your Festival of Lights Tickets Online in Advance
For best deal, purchase general admission tickets online from the Cincinnati Zoo website in advance.
Online you will pick a select date for your visit to the Cincinnati Zoo and you can present the digital version of your ticket at the main entrance.
The price that you see online today will NOT go lower the closer you get to your desired date. In fact, the price is more likely to increase the closer you get to your desired date, so lock in your price as early as possible.
The zoo has dynamic pricing which changes during select nights during popular days/times based on attendance.
For the best value of your admission, come early to see the animals before 5pm and stay later for the zoo lights.
Parking at the Cincinnati Zoo is $10 per vehicle. You can use cash or a credit card at the gate.
Find the Lowest Price on Cincinnati Zoo Admission
You can save the most on admission to the Cincinnati Zoo here.
What Are the Best Nights to Attend the Festival of Lights?
The least expensive nights are usually Monday’s and Tuesdays.
Midweek evenings are also typically the least crowded nights to plan a visit if you are concerned about crowds and long lines.
The zoo suggests visiting before the time slot 4:30pm or after 7:30pm on nice weather days, weekends, and the week of Christmas during Festival of Lights.
Group Tickets and Discounts at the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights
The more people you bring, the more you save with group rates.
How to Save on Food and Drinks at the Festival of Lights
The Cincinnati Zoo allows coolers, backpacks, umbrellas, strollers, wagons, outside food and drink (with the exception of alcohol).
If you want to save on food items and drinks during your visit, you can pack snacks and thermos with hot chocolate or hot cocoa.
Zoo members receive a discounted rate on food service at various locations within the zoo.
Be on the lookout for two S’mores-n-More stands near fire pits for a marshmallow cooking experience.
How to Save on Zoo Attractions at the Cincinnati Zoo
The best value for multiple rides on the train and carousel is the unlimited rides package.
The rides (North Polar Express Train & Conservation Carousel) are both an included benefit of Platinum and Gold Members.
*Hours for the rides may vary due to inclement weather, maintenance, and low attendance.
For animal lovers, you may want to consider one of the Wild Encounters where guests can get up close with the animals.
Wild Encounters are separate ticketed event but they would make an incredible experience gift.
Save By Investing in a Cincinnati Zoo Membership
For the best overall value for a family, consider investing in a Cincinnati Zoo annual membership with unlimited visits all year long.
Cincinnati Zoo Membership perks include:
- Unlimited admission (excluding special and separately ticketed events.)
- Free parking each visit (Parking cannot be guaranteed on high attendance days. Parking is limited to one vehicle per named adult.)
- Early Entry into Zoo (9 -10am mid-March through October 31)
- Two half-price guest tickets per day. (Limit 2 half-price tickets per membership, per day. Half off full ticket price, offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, i.e. Penguin Days. Member half-price tickets for the Festival of Lights Bonus days must be purchased in person at the Zoo.)
- Discounts at retail and food service locations in the zoo (some exclusions may apply, please see Gift Shop associates for details)
- Discounted Admission to over 100 reciprocal zoos and aquariums – including 7 in Ohio (may not be available at all Zoos listed at this time)
- Discounts on Zoo education classes, camps and lectures
- Free Admission to PNC Festival of Lights
- Access to exclusive content
- Subscription to Z-mail, a bi-monthly e-newsletter with the latest zoo news
What Are the Dates for the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights 2022?
The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo is November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023
The Cincinnati Zoo will be open December 31 for New Year’s Eve and January 1st (New Years Day)
Park Hours 10am – 9pm (PNC Festival of Lights Activities begin at 4pm)