The Cincinnati Zoo Lights Up After Dark

Ever since we were dating, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has been one of our all-time favorite places to visit.

Open since 1875, it is the second oldest zoo in the country, and has been a National Historic Landmark since 1987. The zoo is a leader in the conservation, education and preservation of wild animals and wild spaces, and has successfully bred and rehabilitated animals since the 1880s. Today, many of these animals can still be seen on display at the zoo, including three new manatees (Wooten, Illusion and Betsy) who are on display at the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation Manatee Springs exhibit and the Sumatran rhinos, three of which were born at the zoo!

While attending the University of Cincinnati, I became even more enamored with the zoo because of the classes I attended there, where we had the chance to interact with many of the animals one-on-one, including crocodiles, rare amphibians, tortoises, all kinds of insects and more.

I also met and interacted with most of the 500 animals and 3,000 plant species that are on display, learning more than I ever imagined possible about all of them. It was kind of like going on safari in my own back yard at one of the largest Zoo collections in the country!

Sumatran Rhino

View the Sumatran Rhinos at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

During that time, I also had my first experience with the PNC Festival of Lights, which starts today and runs through Jan. 2, 2011. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, you can’t help but be enchanted by one of the most beautiful light displays you’ll ever see. The zoo becomes an enchanted land of light and sound after dark, and entrance to the festival is included in the cost of admission. Zoo members get in for free. Plus, this is an even better opportunity for you to visit some of the nocturnal animals on exhibit, like the baby Galago’s showcased in the video below. (For more information about the PNC Festival of Lights, visit our Calendar page.)

There are other great ways to support and get involved at the zoo, no matter what season it is. You can make a donation, volunteer, adopt an animal, or simply become a member. We’ve been members for over a decade, in part because we’ve made some great memories there over the years, but also because of the zoo’s mission to “create adventure, convey knowledge, conserve nature, and serve the community.”

We hope you’ll take time to visit the Cincinnati Zoo in the near future. It really is one of our city’s greatest gems.

Jathan & Heather


About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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