CINCINNATI, Ohio (WDTN) — A giant new statue featuring Cincinnati’s famous hippo friend is marking the beginning of Cincinnati Zoo’s holiday season.

According to Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the 24-foot tall Fiona nutcracker was erected on Nov. 3 at the zoo’s main entrance.

“This nutcracker is truly unique,” said Chad Yelton, Cincinnati Zoo’s vice president of marketing and visitor experience. “It’s 24 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and looks just like Fiona!  COST of Wisconsin did an incredible job putting her together.”

There are several hidden details on the statue that Fiona fans can enjoy:

  • Six watermelons slices on her belt (because she was born six weeks premature and loves watermelon)
  • A camera on her belt buckle because she grew up in front of the camera
  • 29 buttons on her coat representing her birth weight of 29 pounds
  • An Aquarius symbol on the buttons represents her astrological sign
  • Garnet in her crown for her birthstone
  • Her new little brother, Fritz, painted on her toenail

“There are other items of significance on the structure, which is made of steel and fiberglass, but we’ll let people have fun finding those on their own,” Yelton said. “It took 12 people about 1650 hours to make our vision come to life.  We are thrilled with how it turned out!”

The statue can be seen at the PNC Festival of Lights which opens on Nov. 18 and will run through Jan. 8, 2023. The event is free for zoo members.

General admission tickets can be purchased here.