The Crib of the Nativity is Western & Southern’s Christmas gift to the people of Greater Cincinnati. Thousands of visitors of all ages have visited the display each Christmas season, and it has become a multi-generational tradition for many families who appreciate its simple message to “Keep Christ in Christmas.”
The tradition began in 1939 when the first crib was constructed in Lytle Park. During World War II, it was moved to Union Terminal as a source of inspiration to departing troops and their families. The display moved to its current location at Krohn Conservatory in 1967. Over the years, it is estimated that nearly 3 million people have visited.
The crib is a log stable with a thatched roof. Inside there are many antiques, historical photos of the crib at each of its prior locations and photos of the three generations from the Biedenharn family who have constructed the crib every year. The birth of Jesus is depicted with life-size waxen figures in handmade garments. Live animals can be seen at the crib, including several sheep, a cow named Aubrey and a donkey named Sara. One year, twin sheep were born at the crib, and they were named Holly and Berry.
While there is no admission fee at the crib, there is a donation box for The Salvation Army. Donations, matched by Western & Southern through its corporate foundation, help needy children and the homeless of the Greater Cincinnati area. Since 1993, donations from visitors and Western & Southern’s match have resulted in more than $285,315. Last year, the donation of $87,623.40 was the largest ever.
The crib is open from Dec. 10 until Jan. 2 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. It is located at Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Dr. in Cincinnati.