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The Cincinnati Zoo's new Fiona nutcracker has a few Easter eggs. Here's what to look for

A crew lifts Nutcracker Fiona's head into place.

There is a new giant nutcracker at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to greet guests at the Festival of Lights. You guessed it — Fiona!

"For more than two decades, we've had a rhino nutcracker, a lion nutcracker, an elephant nutcracker, but we thought we'd set it up for our 40th anniversary of the PNC Festival of Lights," says Chad Yelton, vice president of marketing and visitor experience. "Of course, if you're going to step it up, you might as well use your one and only Fiona as the nutcracker."

Yelton says the Fiona nutcracker took 12 people 1,650 hours to create from steel and fiberglass.

The new nutcracker stands 24 feet tall and 8 feet wide, wearing a purple coat. You'll want to look closely though, because the zoo says there's hidden meanings behind each part of it:

  • Six slices of watermelon on her belt, because she was born six weeks premature and loves watermelon
  • Camera on the belt buckle, because she grew up in front of the camera
  • 29 buttons on her coat represent her birthweight of 29 pounds
  • 24 feet tall because she was born on the 24th
  • Aquarius symbol on the buttons is a nod to her astrological sign
  • Her birth stone, garnet, is in her crown
  • Fritz, her new little brother, is painted on her toenail
  • Her pedestal is a nod to the pool where she swims with her tilapia friends
    close up of a blue fritz painting on a large gray toenail
    Tana Weingartner
    The artist included a nod to Fiona's new baby brother, Fritz, on her toenail.

"Fiona is going to stand guard for the zoo for the next couple of months, and we think people are going to love her," Yelton concludes.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.