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Fiona, the beloved Cincinnati Zoo hippo/queen, has come a long way since we first met her at her media debut on May 31, 2017 at the Cincinnati Zoo. With cameras snapping and Facebook Live feeds rolling, Fiona put on an adorable show for everyone. She gained fame when she was born premature, weighing only 29lbs at birth—a whopping 25lbs lighter than the lowest recorded birth weight for the species. Round-the-clock care provided by the Cincinnati Zoo team allowed her to thrive and grow into the adorable local icon she is today. She turns four years old on January 24, 2021. / Image: Phil Armstrong, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 1.18.21

Celebrate Cincinnati's B-Day Queen Fiona With a Chance to Meet Her

Looking for a way to celebrate Cincinnati’s superstar hippo for her birthday this year? The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is making it easy for you to take part remotely in the Fiona festivities for the local icon’s fourth birthday, which takes place Sunday, January 24th.

The Zoo has organized a virtual fundraiser on Fiona’s big day called Float4Fiona—a slow-paced race involving numbered apples that will bob and float to a finish line. If the lucky fruit doesn’t make its way past the finish line within 30 minutes, the winning apples will be selected at random. Four numbers will be chosen to win various prizes. There will also be more than one name assigned to each numbered apple, so multiple first, second, third, and fourth place prizes will be awarded. (Better odds at winning some goods, amirite?)

Winners of the first-place prize will have the choice between 1) a chance to meet the birthday girl up close with three guests or 2) take part in a Virtual Hippo video chat and receive a custom-made Hippo Kiss painting. In addition to an amazing meet-and-greet, they’ll win a Fiona birthday plate by Rookwood Pottery, a new Fiona t-shirt and a $20 gift card from Rally House, and a four-pint pack of Graeter’s Chunky Chunky Hippo.

Second, third, and fourth-place winners will get limited-edition Fiona kiss prints.

The special event is not only an opportunity to commemorate the Zoo’s resident cutie, but it’s also a way to support the park. Apples are $5 each or four for $16. All proceeds benefit the Zoo’s Emergency Operating Fund, which has kept the park afloat since the upsetting closures and setbacks of 2020.

Although there will be no on-site access to the event on Sunday, January 24th, it will be broadcast live on Facebook for spectators to watch and root for their apples. Winners will be announced during the live stream.

You have until midnight on Wednesday, January 20th to register. After purchasing your apple(s), check back on the Zoo’s website on January 21 to see what number(s) has been assigned to you.

Now head up to the top of this page to view a compilation of Fiona photos in the gallery. We do have to warn you, the gallery's been rated TCFW (Too Cute for Work). Browse appropriately.

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You can purchase your apples online here. They can be purchased now through January 20, 2021 at midnight.