OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS, Dinner with Santa series, education programs and more make it a ZOOper holiday season for all!
RESERVE YOUR TICKETS FOR OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS OPEN NIGHTLY THROUGH SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2023
Discover the magic of OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s festive celebration of lights and holiday fun, presented by OG&E. Revelers of all ages will enjoy the opportunity to discover larger-than-life illuminated lanterns highlighting wildlife of the world, prehistoric animals and seasonal scenes while on a driving tour through the OKC Zoo. The estimated drive time to complete the OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS tour is 20 minutes. After the driving tour, guests park and re-enter the Zoo for an additional walking experience that begins in the entry plaza with a musical light presentation. The walking tour continues through the Zoo’s Children’s Zoo and along the Lakeside pathway where guests will enjoy interactive light displays and picture-perfect photo ops. Savor the evening with sweet treats such as s’mores and cookies and tasty beverages available for purchase in the Safari Café and Canopy Restaurant. Then pop in the Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop to check out a wide selection of one-of-a-kind toys and gift ideas including the event’s exclusive souvenir Glow Packages featuring light-up wristbands, necklaces, sabers and various zoovenirs. Both small packages, $49.99 each, and large packages, $89.99 each, are available to purchase online in advance with event tickets at www.okczoo.org/safari-lights. Brighten your OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS nights with this season’s new and returning special activities including Dinner with Santa family-friendly series, the OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS Lounge private event space, photo opportunities with Santa and more. Click here for additional details. OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS runs nightly through New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, 2023 with drive-thru and walk-thru experiences from 5:30 to 11 p.m. with the last check-in at 10 p.m. OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS will be open on holiday nights including Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Online reservations are required for OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS and can be made at www.okczoo.org/safari-lights. Drive-up purchases will not be accepted. Tickets are limited to ensure optimal guest experience. Admission for the drive-thru experience is $65/vehicle and includes up to 4 walk-thru admission tickets. Admission for the walk-thru only is $15/guest ages 3 and older. Supporting OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS sponsors include Devon and MidFirst Bank.
The OKC Zoo is now hiring for part-time positions for evening shifts to help bring OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS to life. Must be 16 or older to apply. Those interested in this festive seasonal opportunity to earn holiday money can apply online at t https://www.governmentjobs.com/careers/okczoo/. The Zoo is also in search of volunteers to assist with OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS in various capacities. This is an ideal opportunity for group volunteers and individuals. Learn more at www.okczoo.org/volunteer.
BOOK THE OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS LOUNGE FOR YOUR HOLIDAY EVENT
As part of this year’s OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS festivities, the OKC Zoo invites you to bring the whole family or your small business together for our brand-new experience in the Safari Lights Lounge. This is the perfect social setting to celebrate the season and experience the magic of OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS, presented by OGE, with colleagues, family and friends in a private event space, the OKC Zoo’s Treehouse. All package options include up to 15 admission tickets to the walk-thru course of OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS, access to the Zoo through a private entrance, a picture-perfect holiday backdrop, plus setup, breakdown, and cleanup of the event space. Learn more at OKCZOO SAFARI LIGHTS Lounge.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28: OKC ZOO HOSTS SENSORY-FRIENDLY NIGHT FOR SAFARI LIGHTS
The OKC Zoo is hosting a Sensory-Friendly Night for OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS on Monday, November 28, from 6 to 10 p.m. with last entry at 9 p.m. This evening is designed for guests with sensory sensitivities and their families. Guests can expect a smaller crowd, limited flashing lights, quieter music and designated quiet area inside the Zoo’s Canopy Restaurant. Reservations are required and can be made at okczoo.org/safari-lights.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29: GIVING ZOODAY, CELEBRATE "BABY'S FIRST CHRISTMAS" SUPPORTING THE OKC ZOO
The Oklahoma Zoological Society (OZS) and Oklahoma City Zoo host Giving ZOOday, a fundraising campaign, on Tuesday, November 29, Giving Tuesday. Join OZS and the OKC Zoo on Tuesday, November 29, as they kick off a 24-hour fundraising campaign celebrating Baby's First Christmas to support the OKC Zoo’s growing animal family. Baby's First Christmas centers on the OKC Zoo’s new arrivals including Asian elephant, Rama; beaded lizard hatchlings; cownose stingray pup, Jensen; Sumatran tiger twins, Luna and Bob; okapi calf, Nzadi; African lion cubs, Neema, Zahara, Makena and Mshango; and chimpanzee infant, Kiazi. These births represent important conservation of critically endangered or threatened species. Our Zoo family is continuing to grow, and we hope you will be a part of that growth and excitement. To celebrate Baby's First Christmas, supporters should visit ozsgiving.org/FirstXmas or text FirstXmas to 41444. Message and data rates may apply. A fundraising goal of $10,000 has been set to ensure our little ones, and future arrivals, have the care they need to grow and thrive with enriching habitats and activities. Donors who contribute more than $100 will receive a special holiday gift from the OKC Zoo.
FRIDAYS AND SATURDAYS DECEMBER 2-17: OKC ZOO’S DINNER WITH SANTA SERIES
The Oklahoma City Zoo invites you to experience dinner with the big guy himself and take in the views of OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS during Dinner with Santa, an all-new, family-friendly event series. Hosted in the Zoo’s Canopy Restaurant, Dinner with Santa, includes a delicious holiday buffet, kids’ activities and, of course, a meet and greet with Santa. Dinner with Santa occurs Fridays and Saturdays December 2 through 17. Dinner service begins at 5 p.m. and concludes at 6:30 p.m. During dinner, Santa Claus will make an appearance to meet and greet little ones and hear what is on everyone’s wish lists. Participants will also have an opportunity to take their holiday photos with Santa in front of a festive backdrop for an additional fee. General admission for Dinner with Santa events is $55 for adults (ages 12 and up) and $50 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older. Children two years or younger are free. ZOOfriends members will receive a discount on all event tickets. Each group reservation will receive access to OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS drive-thru for one vehicle and walk-thru admission per individual. Online reservations are required for participation in Dinner with Santa and can be made at www.okczoo.org. Additional OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS tickets can be purchased in conjunction with making event reservations. No walk-up tickets will be sold. Event tickets are non-refundable.
DECEMBER 2022, JANUARY 2023: OKC ZOO’S SCHOOL’S OUT DAY CAMPS
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s School’s Out Day Camps offer a unique educational experience for students during school breaks and holidays. These daily themed camps include educational activities, in-park exploration, up-close animal ambassador visits and more. School’s Out Day Camps are available for children ages 4 to 12. The cost is $45 per camper (members) and $50 per camper (nonmembers) per day. Camps run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Zoo’s Rosser Conservation Education Center. Campers must bring their lunch and snacks. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Visit Schools Out Camps (okczoo.org) to view the complete camp schedule and themes for December and January, and to register.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3: OKC ZOO’S NEW PARENTS DAY OUT
During the busy holiday season, parents can always use a little help… and so can the OKC Zoo! The Oklahoma City Zoo is hosting a new Parents Day Out, “Holiday Helpers” program on Saturday, December 3. Let your youngsters become Santa’s helpers for our Zoo animals while you finish your holiday shopping. Program activities include a themed lesson, the opportunity to make enrichment for select Zoo animals, a tour through the park, crafts, a movie and pizza lunch. Program capacity is limited to 15 kids to ensure safe social distancing. Ages: 4-12 years old. Program starts at 9 a.m. with pick up as late as 1 p.m. Prices are $30/child, $25/additional child (members) and $40/child, $35/additional child (nonmembers). Space is limited so enroll your kiddo(s) today at NEW: Parents Day Out (okczoo.org).
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6 THROUGH WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8: OKC ZOO WINTER HOURS EFFECTIVE
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s winter hours begin Tuesday, December 6 and the OKC Zoo will be closed during the day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with no public access to the park through Wednesday, February 8, 2023. Fans are welcome to the visit the Zoo Thursdays through Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS will remain open nightly from 5:30 to 11 p.m. through Sunday, January 1, 2023 including holidays with the last entry no later than 10 p.m.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10: OKLAHOMA BLOOD INSTITUTE DRIVE AT THE OKC ZOO
Everyone knows blood donors stay on the “nice” list! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Oklahoma Blood Institute are coming together this holiday season to boost blood supply for Oklahomans and are calling on you to help. Take time to attend this blood drive being hosted at the OKC Zoo’s Education Center on Saturday, December 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All donors will receive their choice of a festive, limited-edition, long-sleeve T-shirt and an admission voucher to the OKC Zoo. Zoo vouchers may be used throughout the remainder of the year. To make an appointment visit www.obi.org.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2023: OKC ZOO PARENTS NIGHT OUT
The Oklahoma City Zoo is hosting a Parents Night Out on Friday, January 13, 2023. Our dedicated education team is ready to give you a break and provide your little ones with an engaging experience during our Parents Night Out program. Program activities include a Zoo-themed lesson, craft activity, pizza dinner, a nighttime tour on grounds and a movie. Program capacity is limited to 15 kids to ensure safe social distancing. Ages: 4-12 years old. Program starts at 6 p.m. with pick up as late as 10 p.m. Prices are $30/child, $25/additional child (members) and $40/child, $35/additional child (nonmembers). Enroll your kiddo(s) today at Parents Night Out (okczoo.org).
CHRISTMAS DAY, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 25: OKC ZOO IS CLOSED FOR THE DAY BUT OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS IS OPEN
The OKC Zoo’s wildly festive light event, OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS presented by OG&E, is bigger and better than ever, and will be open on Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, from 5:30 to 11 p.m. with the last entry at 10 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made at okczoo.org/safari-lights. The Zoo is closed to guests during the day on December 25.
NEW YEAR’S DAY, SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2023: OKC ZOO IS OPEN AND FINAL NIGHT OF SAFARI LIGHTS
Welcome 2023 in a wild way and plan a day at the Oklahoma City Zoo! The OKC Zoo is open on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry at 4 p.m. Additionally, Sunday, January 1 is the final night to discover OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS presented by OG&E and open from 5:30 to 11 p.m. with the last entry at 10 p.m. Reservations are required and can be made at okczoo.org/safari-lights.
ONGOING OKC ZOO HAPPENINGS
ONGOING: ART GONE WILD–ART MADE BY THE OKC ZOO’S ANIMALS FOR ANIMALS
Art Gone Wild, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s selection of animal artwork, is available year-round and ideal for any occasion especially the holidays. Discover a new selection of paintings featuring festive colors and created by some of your favorite animal artists! With assistance from their caretakers, the Zoo’s talented animal artists have created an array of paintings available for purchase. Art Gone Wild is part of the Zoo’s enrichment program and the paints are safe for the animals to use as they are non-toxic and washable. Art Gone Wild pieces are available to view and purchase in the Zoo’s Guest Services office located in the Entry Plaza, open during regular park hours. Original pieces range from $35 to $300, depending on size. All net proceeds benefit one of the Zoo’s conservation initiatives.
WINTER ATTRACTION HOURS FOR OKC ZOO FAVORITES
Go wild for the Oklahoma City Zoo’s one-of-a-kind rides and attractions. With the seasonal change, the Zoo has implemented revised hours for many of its experiences. Tickets can be in advance online at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets or in the park. All rides and attractions are operational weather permitting and schedules are subject to change without notice.
- Children’s Zoo Barnyard (Children’s Zoo) is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Elephant Express Tram: Take the tram for a relaxing, informative tour of the Zoo. Rides offered daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All day bracelets are $6 per person. Children two and under free.
- Elephant Presentations are free to attend and take place at Sanctuary Asia, elephant habitat at 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
- Endangered Species Carousel: Carousel rides are available daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $3 per person.
- Explorikeet Feedings (Children’s Zoo): These feathered favorites are waiting to meet you! Feeding opportunities are available daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $4 per person.
- Flamingo Mingle feedings occur daily, weather-permitting, in the Children’s Zoo habitat from 11-11:30 a.m. and 3:30-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Cost is $7 per person. Children age 2 and under are not permitted.
- Giraffe Feeding Platform: Connect with our giraffe herd on a new level! Weekend (Sat. and Sun.) feeding opportunities offered from 2 to 3 p.m. Cost is $5 per person.
- Rhino Feedings: Discover this memorable experience with one of the most magical residents at the Zoo – an Indian rhino! Feeding opportunities available weekends (Thurs.–Sun.) from 11:30 a.m. to noon. at Sanctuary Asia. Cost is $10 per person.
- Stingray Bay: Our stingrays will bring a smile to your face! Stingray Bay is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $4 per person to enter. Stingray feedings occur Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while supplies last, for an additional $3 per person.
OKC ZOO SELLING DIGITAL ART NFTs CREATED BY ITS MALE ORANGUTAN FOR CONSERVATION
Purchase a piece of art history that will help raise awareness and funds for wild orangutan conservation. The Oklahoma City Zoo’s critically endangered male Sumatran orangutan, Elok, 21, has created digital art available for purchase as a non-fungible token (NFT) via an international auction. All pieces of The Elok Collection are viewable and available for purchase through the online auction site OpenSea.io. This novel creative endeavor is the result of the design team at Megafauna Studios, Becky Scheel and Mathieu Kuhne, reaching out to the OKC Zoo’s Director of Conservation Science, Dr. Rebecca Snyder, to propose a new form of digital animal enrichment. Animal enrichment is the term used to describe any stimuli given to animals in human care that stimulates their senses and activates natural behaviors as well as behavioral diversity. All three species of orangutans—Sumatran, Bornean and Tapanuli—are critically endangered, making conservation fundraising efforts like this crucial. Elok’s artwork is available on the world’s largest NFT market place, OpenSea.io. Net proceeds from the sale will be collected by Oklahoma Zoological Society, the non-profit organization that supports the Oklahoma City Zoo. The OKC Zoo will then allocate the funds to non-profit science-based conservation organizations working to protect wild orangutans and other endangered species. For more information about this digital venture, the Zoo has created a webpage www.okczoo.org/nft featuring photos, videos and answers to frequently asked questions.
VOLUNTEER ON THE WILD SIDE: GROUP VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AT THE OKC ZOO
The Oklahoma City Zoo offers exciting group volunteer opportunities during the fall and winter seasons. Corporations, colleagues, school groups, friends or families are invited to come out to the OKC Zoo to assist with special projects such as yardwork, gardening, cleaning, painting, craft/event preparations and more. These are ideal opportunities for groups of 3 to 30 individuals ages 16 and older. All participants will be required to complete a waiver of liability before the projects and school groups must provide contact information for a faculty advisor. To learn more or register a volunteer group, visit www.okczoo.org/groupvolunteers.
OKC ZOO’S STATEWIDE LIBRARY PROGRAM, READ FOR ADVENTURE, CONTINUES FOR ANOTHER SEASON PROVIDING OKLAHOMANS WITH FREE GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS TO THE ZOO
Read for Adventure, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s statewide library program, brings Oklahoma families to together while building an appreciation for reading and nature. Sponsored by OG&E, this popular program connects kids to the Read for Adventure feature book, Juniper’s Butterfly Garden, the story of a child’s discovery of monarch butterflies and why it’s important to protect them. Monarchs migrate annually through Oklahoma on their journey from central Mexico to southern Canada and both the OKC Zoo and OG&E are committed to conserving vital habitats that benefit all pollinators. The Read for Adventure program is aimed at promoting literacy statewide and invites library card holders to check out Juniper’s Butterfly Garden, from any participating public and tribal library location within the state, to receive a voucher redeemable for FREE general admission to the OKC Zoo for up to four people (child, adult or senior). Vouchers expire June 30, 2023. For a list of participating libraries, visit www.okczoo.org/readforadventure.
OKC ZOO’S HIGHLIGHTS WILDLIFE OF THE WEEK
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Wildlife of the Week features bring the wow! Each week, the OKC Zoo shares exciting and educational facts about its animal family with its Wildlife of the Week program. The Zoo will focus on a new animal species weekly on its Facebook page, @okczoo. Guests can also discover the Wildlife of the Week by scanning a QR code on the back of the Zoo’s park map or by visiting www.okczoo.org/wow.
OKC ZOO’S WILD ENCOUNTERS BEHIND THE SCENES EXPERIENCES
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Wild Encounters are a wild way to connect with some of your favorite Zoo animals. These ZOO-nique experiences offer wildlife fans an up-close encounter with Asian elephants, bison, rhinos and a brand-new opportunity featuring the Zoo’s Komodo dragons available beginning Sunday, December 3. Meet the OKC Zoo’s expert caretakers while learning about the animals they care for and how the Zoo is working to protect their wild counterparts. The Zoo’s Wild Encounters are available daily and each experience comes with a souvenir lanyard. Groups are limited and prices range from $40–$50 per person depending on the encounter. ZOOfriends’ members receive discount per encounter. For additional information about Wild Encounters or to make a reservation, contact Guest Services at (405) 425-0262.
OKC ZOO’S DAILY CARETAKER CHATS
Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the Oklahoma City Zoo’s animal family from the expert themselves, our caretakers. Hear from these dedicated and passionate individuals as they share about the amazing wildlife they care for each and every day. These daily chats are free with regular Zoo admission and include:
- Carnivores (Lion Overlook), 10 a.m.
- Galapagos tortoises (Children’s Zoo), 10:30 a.m.
- Great apes (Great EscApe), 10:30 a.m.
- Asian elephants (Sanctuary Asia’s Boardwalk), Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m.
- Cassowaries (Sanctuary Asia near Lotus Pavilion), 3 p.m.
The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. The Zoo will be closed to the public during the daytime on Thanksgiving, Christmas and Tuesdays and Wednesdays between December 6 and February 8, 2023. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular daytime admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Membership has its perks! As a ZOOfriends member of the Oklahoma City Zoo, enjoy free admission all year-long, plus many additional benefits and discounts. You will also be supporting the Zoo’s animal family, education programming and conservation initiatives both locally and globally. Join or renew today at www.okczoo.org/membership.
Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.