Planning a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo? I’ve got the scoop on what you need to know before you go! It’s one of my favorite spots to spend a day, and I’m here to help make your trip as smooth as possible.

Zoo Hours of Operation

When I’m planning my visit to the Cincinnati Zoo, one of the first things I always check is the hours of operation. It’s crucial for me to know when the gates open and close to make the most out of my visit. The zoo’s hours can vary depending on the season, which is something I’ve learned to pay attention to.

During the summer months, May through September, the zoo typically opens its doors at 10:00 AM and doesn’t close until 6:00 PM. This gives me plenty of time to explore the various exhibits and attractions without feeling rushed. I find the early morning or late afternoon to be the best times to visit as it’s not only cooler but also less crowded.

In the fall and winter months, October through April, the hours shift slightly earlier. The zoo opens at 10:00 AM but closes earlier, at 5:00 PM. Though there’s one less hour to explore in the afternoon, I’ve found this time of year to be magical at the zoo. The cooler weather means the animals are more active throughout the day, and the zoo is adorned with beautiful seasonal decorations.

For those special events like Zoo Lights during the holiday season or exclusive early morning tours, the hours can vary even more. I always make sure to check the zoo’s official website or call ahead for any special timing. These unique events often require separate tickets but are well worth it for the extraordinary experiences they offer.

Here’s a quick summary of the general hours to keep in mind:

Season Opening Time Closing Time
May-Sep 10:00 AM 6:00 PM
Oct-Apr 10:00 AM 5:00 PM

It’s also worth noting that the last admission is usually one hour before the zoo closes. This is to ensure all guests have ample time to enjoy the zoo without feeling hurried towards the end of the day. I’ve found it’s a good practice to arrive early, especially if I plan to visit the popular exhibits or if I’m participating in any special tours or encounters.

Types of Tickets Available

When planning a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo, figuring out the best ticket option for you and your family is vital. The zoo offers a variety of ticket types to cater to different needs and preferences. I’ve broken down the options below to help make your decision easier.

First up, general admission tickets are the most straightforward way to enjoy the zoo. These tickets provide access to the majority of the zoo’s exhibits and are a great choice for first-time visitors or those who prefer to explore at their own pace. Prices for these tickets vary based on age:

Age Group Price
Adults (13-61) $19
Seniors (62+) $15
Children (2-12) $13

Next, there are membership options for those who plan on visiting multiple times throughout the year. Becoming a member not only gives you unlimited access to the zoo but also includes free parking, discounts at zoo shops and cafes, and exclusive early access to events. Membership levels range from individual to family plus, offering flexibility for different group sizes and needs.

For an extra special experience, exclusive encounters and behind-the-scenes tours are also available. These tickets are pricier but offer unique opportunities like feeding giraffes, getting up close with penguins, or even a guided tour that takes you behind the scenes of some of the most popular exhibits. It’s an unforgettable experience that’s worth considering for animal lovers.

Lastly, event tickets for special occasions like Zoo Lights or themed nights provide a different way to experience the zoo. These tickets are typically sold separately from general admission and offer a chance to see the zoo transformed with stunning lights displays or themed decorations.

With all these options, there’s something for everyone at the Cincinnati Zoo. Whether it’s your first visit or you’re a seasoned member, each trip can offer something new and exciting. Remember, buying tickets online in advance can often save time and sometimes even money, so be sure to check out the zoo’s website for the latest deals and promotions before you go.

Ticket Prices for Adults and Children

When planning my visit to the Cincinnati Zoo, one of the first things I like to know is how much it’s going to cost. Understanding the ticket prices for adults and children not only helps in budgeting but also ensures I can make the most out of our visit. I’ve scoured the pricing details and here’s what I’ve found.

For general admission, which includes access to most of the exhibits and daily shows, the Cincinnati Zoo offers different pricing based on age groups. Adults (ages 13-61) are priced slightly higher than child tickets (ages 2-12), which is pretty standard across most attractions. It’s also worth noting that children under the age of 2 enter for free, making it a great option for families with little ones.

The zoo also offers a slight discount for seniors (ages 62 and over). While these prices are subject to change, they give a good baseline for budgeting your trip. I always recommend checking the official Cincinnati Zoo website before your visit for the most up-to-date information. Here’s a quick breakdown of the general admission prices:

Age Group Price
Adults $26.00
Children $21.00
Seniors $24.00

It’s worth pointing out that these prices can fluctuate based on the season and any ongoing promotions or discounts. For example, during off-peak seasons, you might find that tickets are slightly cheaper. Conversely, peak times like holidays and weekends in the summer might see a slight increase in prices.

To save a bit on the admission cost, I’ve found that purchasing tickets online in advance can sometimes offer a discount compared to buying them at the gate. Plus, it’s a great way to skip the long ticketing lines, giving you more time to enjoy the zoo.

Special encounters and event tickets are priced separately from general admission. These can include things like behind-the-scenes tours, feeding the giraffes, or special night-time events. Prices for these experiences vary, so I always take a look at the specific event or encounter I’m interested in for precise pricing.

Special Discounts and Membership Options

When planning my visit to the Cincinnati Zoo, I always make it a point to check if there are any special discounts available. It turns out, the zoo offers a variety of discounts that can really help save some bucks. For instance, military discounts are provided to all active and retired military members and their immediate family members. By presenting a valid military ID at the entrance, folks can enjoy a bit off the regular admission price, which is a lovely gesture of appreciation for their service.

Another fantastic way to save is by taking advantage of group rates. If you’re planning a trip with a group of 15 or more, you’re in luck because the zoo offers discounted rates for both adults and children in such cases. It’s perfect for school field trips, large family gatherings, or even a fun outing with friends. Just make sure to book in advance, as these tickets need to be purchased at least two weeks prior to your visit.

But here’s where it gets really interesting: membership options. For anyone who, like me, can’t get enough of the zoo and plans on visiting multiple times a year, becoming a member is an absolute no-brainer. Not only does membership grant unlimited admission for a year, but it also comes packed with a host of other benefits. Here’s a quick breakdown of the perks:

  • Unlimited year-round admission
  • Free parking
  • Discounts on guest tickets, food, and merchandise
  • Early access to the zoo on select days

There are various membership levels to choose from, each tailored to meet different needs and budgets. Whether it’s an individual membership just for me or a family membership that includes additional guests, there’s something for everyone.

By opting for a membership, not only do I save money in the long run, but I also contribute to the zoo’s conservation efforts. A portion of the membership fee goes directly towards supporting the zoo’s mission to conserve nature, which feels pretty good.

For those who might only visit occasionally but still want to save, don’t overlook the possibility of snagging promotional discounts. The zoo collaborates with local businesses and organizations from time to time to offer special promotions, so keeping an eye on their website or subscribing to their newsletter is a smart move.


Visiting the Cincinnati Zoo is not just about the fun and learning experiences; it’s also an opportunity to support their conservation efforts. Whether you’re taking advantage of the military discounts, coming in a large group, or deciding to become a member, there are plenty of ways to save while helping the zoo. And let’s not forget the potential savings through promotions with local businesses. So next time you’re planning a visit, remember these tips to make the most of your trip both for your wallet and for the incredible wildlife the zoo works so hard to protect. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures and the memories you’ll create at the Cincinnati Zoo!


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