Hippo's Birthday Inspires Willy Wonka–style Contest

Golden ticket winners will get a kiss from Fiona, the beloved Cincinnati Zoo hippo.

Back on January 24, 2017, all eyes were on the Cincinnati Zoo where an adorable baby hippo was prematurely born. Fiona, who arrived six weeks early and set a record for the lowest recorded weight at birth of her species, soon had a blog dedicated to her health journey. Her steps to survival quickly went viral, capturing hearts and inspiring poetry along the way. Now everyone's favorite hippopotamus is not only simply thriving but turning five years old, so that can only mean one thing: Time for a Willy Wonka–style giveaway!

WLWT reports that Cincinnati-based Graeter's Ice Cream is making 7,500 specialty candy bars for the giveaway with five containing golden tickets. The Charlie Buckets out there who score the shiny token in their sweet treat will win a kiss from Fiona herself—more accurately, a kiss painting created by placing an animal-friendly paint on her snout and then having her smooch a canvas.

The candy bars are going for $5 a pop with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Cincinnati Zoo. And while there are only five chances to nab the ultimate prize, Graeter's is throwing in some perks on a handful of other candy bars as well, such as buy-one-get-one-free coupons for their ice cream cones and tickets for $2 off zoo admission.

While participation in the golden ticket giveaway may be limited to those near Graeter's locations in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Illinois, the Cincinnati Zoo is making sure folks from anywhere in the world can join in on Fiona's milestone. For $5, anyone can get a ticket to Fiona's Virtual Birthday Party and be entered to win a series of Fiona-inspired prizes, including a kiss painting. (More tickets purchased equals more entries into the drawing.) And Fiona, who is now healthily at well over 1,500 pounds, will most certainly be enjoying all the affection along with a bite out of a big ole birthday cake.

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