The Cincinnati Zoo is considered by many to be one of the best zoos in the nation, thanks in part to its long-standing breeding programs conducted through the Lindner Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). More than 1.5 million people visit the Zoo each year to view its 500 animal and 3,000 plant species.

When it comes to finding deals on your entrance fee, buying discount Cincinnati Zoo tickets through authorized sellers is easy. Through my position as an authorized aRes seller, I can point you to the best and most reliable ways to save money, so you don’t waste time searching the internet for coupons and promo codes that ultimately don’t work or for obscure special offers.

Cincinnati Zoo Ticket Prices

Cincinnati Zoo tickets can be purchased as General Admission or Admission + Rides and attractions.

Single-Day General Admission Only

Select this ticket option for those interested in exploring the Zoo and gardens. The price varies depending on the chosen day, and below is a price range for general admission.

  • Adult (ages 13–61): $17.00 – $25.00
  • Child (ages 2–12): $11.00 – $19.00
  • Senior (ages 62+): $11.00 – $19.00

Zoo rides and attractions

Platinum and Gold Memberships include admission plus unlimited rides on the zoo train (between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.) and the carousel (between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.). ticket. However, you can also add these attractions to your general admission ticket. Prices vary according to the day selected. Below is a list of prices for rides and attractions.

  • ScooterPals – $5 to start +.35 cents/minute
  • Safari Train – $5 per person
  • Giraffe Feeding – $4 per order
  • Carousel – $4 per person

Ticket Add-Ons

Wild Encounters attractions require an additional ticket. Most additional attractions cannot accommodate strollers, babies in arms, or wheelchairs, so guests who fall into these categories should not purchase an extra attraction ticket. You must wear facemasks to enter your selected experience. Most tickets reflect per-person pricing and are non-refundable. These attractions include the following and have the same price for adults, children, and seniors:

  • Elephant Bath: This private experience allows groups of 2-5 to enter the historic elephant house and participate in an educational and interactive bathing session with the world’s largest land mammal, supporting various elephant conservation efforts. Tickets go live on February 28, 2024, for Ages 10+, with costs ranging from $250 for two people, $125 for each additional guest, and $625 for five.
  • Little Blue Penguin Experience: Guests can go behind the scenes to meet these creatures. Ages 10+ / Price: $50/person.
  • African Penguin Feeding: It’s a feeding-only experience where guests toss breakfast treats to African Penguins and Cormorants. Ages 10+ / Price: $15/person.
  • The Tremendous Tour-toise: A one-on-one experience with a Reptile team member, with the opportunity to feed tortoises and touch their feet and legs. Ages 8+ / Price: $50/person.

Reservations Are No Longer Necessary

While you no longer have to reserve your entry time if you are a Cincinnati Zoo member, you’ll continue to save if you reserve your tickets in advance.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Discount Ticket Promos

The most reliable ways to buy discounted Cincinnati Zoo tickets are listed below.

1. Discount 1-Day Tickets + Combo Packages

We have a discount tickets site thanks to aRes Travel, a San Diego-based, authorized ticket seller to major attractions, including theme parks and zoos across the United States, that I partner with in order to help readers save big on sightseeing.

Most Cincinnati Zoo visitors only spend a single day at the facility when on vacation. If you’re not a Zoo Member, this discount is the cheapest way to purchase a general admission ticket.

2. Cincinnati Zoo Vacation Package

Make a day and an evening of it, or several evenings to explore the surrounding area with an exclusive package. Each deal includes admission to the zoo and botanical garden, plus lodging.

Select how many tickets you need and your dates to find deals. Choose from 93 hotels in the area and choose as many nights as you want, which will allow you to create the leisurely vacation of your dreams in Southwestern Ohio.

Prices will differ depending on the hotel you choose and your length of stay.

3. Half-Price Tickets for Members

An Orangutan sits in the grass at Cincinnati Zoo.

Cincinnati Zoo members receive several perks, including half-price tickets for single-day admission. The price of these tickets is based on the full-price ticket for your selected date.

4. Military and First Responders Discounts

All military members and first responders will get $5 off daily adult and child admission. A valid military, fire, or police department ID is required. You must purchase your ticket in person and cannot combine it with other discounts.

All military members (active and veterans) receive a 10% discount on all Zoo membership levels. All that is needed is a military or veteran ID to bring to the ticketing window in order to redeem this discount.

B105 Military Days at the Zoo occur on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veteran’s Day. All active and retired military members receive free admission and may purchase up to six half-price admission tickets for their immediate family members.

Military personnel who qualify for this offer include active-duty members of all branches, including the National Guard, veterans with an honorable or medical discharge, and Reserve Officers’ Training Corp members with government-issued ID. The Zoo must verify your military ID in person.

5. AAA Discount for Cincinnati Zoo

AAA offers discounted tickets to its club members. Typically, AAA offers discounted rates, including up to 20% off full-price daily admission. AAA members can check the site for more details and current promotions.

6. Group Discounts

Group discounts are available online only for parties of 15 or more. Discounts depend on the number of tickets needed and the day of admission. You can expect the following price ranges for group discounts:

  • Adult (13-61): $15.00 – $23.00
  • Child (3-12): $9.00 – $17.00
  • Senior (ages 62+): $9.00 – $17.00

Organization representatives must enter their company’s unique code on the website to receive the discount. Cincinnati Zoo also has group discounts that vary with each organization. These include discounts for:

  • Groups of 50 or more
  • Non-profit groups
  • School groups
  • Tour groups

For non-profit groups and parties of 50 and more guests, you should contact the zoo’s large group discount team to negotiate rates for everyone in your group. Call 513-559-7767 for more details.

School groups also have special discounted rates. Rates depend on whether the school group wants educational experiences or needs a day out. For more information, contact the zoo’s Education Department at 513-559-7767.

Tours are also available for tour groups. Contact the zoo’s special events department for more information on what you can create for your tour.

7. Corporate Discounts

For those planning a group outing for their company, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden offers a corporate experience through a discount code that is unique to your company.

Contact Group Ticketing to determine your company’s discount. Through this discount, you can order valid, any-day tickets. You may also create discount benefits for your employees through the Zoo’s online ticket store. The corporate discount has a minimum of 15 tickets.

8. Cincinnati Zoo Memberships and Donor Clubs

A tiger at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens rests on a log.

If you plan to visit frequently, a membership usually makes the most sense. You can join as a family, individual, dual-member, or student at three different levels that include standard, platinum, or gold. You can also join as a virtual member, which is one level and includes access to the Cincinnati Zoo’s Live Hippo Cove Web Cam, other exclusive videos, insider news, and other perks.

All members receive unlimited admission, free parking, early entry into the Zoo, two half-price guest tickets per day, select retail and food discounts, discounted admission to reciprocal zoos, and more. Some restrictions apply.

9. Reciprocal Membership Discounts

If you are a member of certain reciprocal zoos and aquariums in the United States, you can receive 50% off general admission. This offer cannot be combined with any special events or promotions.

You must present a valid Reciprocal Zoo Membership and photo ID at the ticketing windows to receive the discount. You must go to the zoo ticket windows to receive this discount. When you present your reciprocal membership card, you’ll get 50% off admission. Check the list of reciprocal zoos before you go.

General Cincinnati Zoo Information

Tulip beds line the walkways in front of the Reptile House in spring at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Tulips in front of the Reptile House

As the second oldest zoo in the United States, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has long been a proponent of saving endangered species. The Zoo was designated a Historic Landmark in 1987 because of its unique architecture in several buildings like the Elephant House, the Reptile House, and the Passenger Pigeon Memorial. The Reptile House is the oldest zoo building in the country, dating from the facility’s opening in 1875.

Since 1975, the Cincinnati Zoo has been part of the city’s public school system with the Zoo Academy, a four-year college preparatory school. The Zoo is also the most prominent non-formal science educator in the Cincinnati metro area, serving more than 300,000 students annually through its education programs.

The busiest times at the Zoo are on weekends and holidays, especially when the weather is nice. Zoo officials suggest that visitors arrive before 10:30 am or after 2:30 pm on Heavy traffic days to avoid parking the admission delays. During the PNC Festival of Lights, the best time to arrive is before 4:30 pm or after 7:30 pm.

HOME TO A FAMOUS HIPPO

Fiona the hippo lives at Cincinnati Zoo. She was born six weeks premature on January 24, 2017. Zoo staff named her Fiona because her ears made them think of the Shrek character of the same name. Fiona the hippo became a social media star thanks to some viral videos. You can see her story on YouTube.

Safety Measures

The Cincinnati Zoo has updated its COVID-19 policies, particularly regarding face coverings. Fully vaccinated guests and employees are no longer required to wear masks in most areas of the zoo. Unvaccinated guests were advised to wear masks, but at this time, we are not finding any requirements to wear masks. Additionally, masks may be required for certain close human-animal contact areas and private animal encounters, such as giraffe feedings and interacting with Galapagos tortoises.

Prohibited items include glass containers, bicycles, skates, skateboards, hoverboards, scooters, and portable radios. The information above is subject to change, so it’s best to review these policies before you go.

Cincinnati Zoo Tickets & More FAQ

Lemurs in a huddle at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
A pack of ring-tailed lemurs huddles together at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Do you have questions about visiting the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden? We’ll attempt to answer them here.

What are the benefits of having a Cincinnati Zoo Membership

Cincinnati Zoo members get many different benefits for their annual fee including:

  • 9 am entry from mid-March through October 31
  • Two half-price guest tickets on each visit that cannot be combined with other discounts
  • Food and merchandise discounts
  • Reciprocal membership at over 100 zoos and aquariums throughout the United States
  • Admission to PNC Festival of Lights
  • Exclusive content and a subscription to the Zoo’s bi-monthly newsletter

Do you have to make reservations to visit the Cincinnati Zoo, or can you buy tickets at the gate?

Members can buy daily admission at the Zoo ticket windows and do not need reservations. Some types of discounted tickets purchased through other sources may require reservations, so read your confirmation email carefully.

How can I get a ticket to the Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights?

The Festival of Lights is included with your admission. If you are coming to the facility only for this event, make sure you arrive before 8:30 pm as no guest will be admitted after that time.

Does the Cincinnati Zoo offer an EBT discount?

The Cincinnati Zoo offers a SNAP/EBT program. As a part of its Zoo Access for All program, the Cincinnati Zoo offers discounted tickets or a Membership to those with a food assistance card – SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. You must have a valid SNAP card and photo ID to purchase tickets or apply for membership. 

What is the UC Health Cincinnati Zoo discount?

The UC Health Cincinnati Zoo discount, also known as UC at the Zoo, was a discount to the Cincinnati Zoo offered through the University of Cincinnati (UC). The mission behind this discount was to make the zoo experience affordable for all. While this discount is not currently being offered, check back in closer to your visit for any updated discounts or deals. 

Can you still get the Kroger Cincinnati Zoo discount?

The Cincinnati Zoo is still a Kroger Community Rewards program recipient. This program allows customers to register their Kroger Plus Card and start earning money for organizations. To participate in the program and support the zoo you can register online


Learn about other discounts:

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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2 Comments

    1. They are mobile-friendly tickets! You can pull up the QR code at the gate for the attendant to scan. Or you can print the tickets – up to you!