It’s that holly, ZOO-lly time of year with wild gift ideas, Pop-Up shopping fun, animal enrichment activities, Education programs and more!
NOW THROUGH SPRING: OKC ZOO’S WINTER HOURS
Effective December 1, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will be open to the public Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no public access on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through spring. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at okczoo.org/tickets.
DECEMBER: OKC CULTURE BOX AVAILABLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS, AT THE ZOO
Seven of Oklahoma City’s most popular cultural institutions have come together to create the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday wish list – the Oklahoma City Culture Box. Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma History Center, Oklahoma Contemporary, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum and Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden designed this one-of-a-kind gift recipients won’t forget!
The hand-assembled box includes valuable items from each institution as well as unique souvenirs. Each OKC Culture Box is priced at $50 and include contents that have a retail value of more than $200. Boxes are limited with each of the seven institutions selling just 35 boxes. Boxes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All proceeds for the sale of OKC Culture Boxes will remain at the institution that sold them. Go wild and purchase an OKC Culture Box (or two!) from the OKC Zoo, available in the Guest Services office during regular park hours. Masks are required for all guests 11 and older upon entry into Guest Services.
NOW THROUGH CHRISTMAS EVE, THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24: DISCOVER OKC ZOO’S HOLIDAY POP-UP SHOP AT PENN SQUARE MALL AND SAFARI GIFT SHOP
This holiday season, shop budget-friendly finds for all at both the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop and its new Pop-Up Shop at Penn Square Mall.
- Pop-Up Shop: Open now through Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24, the Zoo’s Pop-Up Shop offers ZOOfriends memberships and exclusive items including premium Adventure Packs and Family Membership Packs. Shoppers can also pickup wildly fun stocking stuffers including wildlife plush, custom Zoo ornaments, Zoo Keys and OKC ZOO POO – for those on the nice or naughty list! The Zoo’s Pop-Up Shop is located in the mall’s center court by Santa. For Pop-Shop hours, click here. ZOOfriends memberships and Adventure Packs will also be available at the Zoo in the Guest Services office during regular park hours. Masks are required for all guests 11 and older upon entry into Guest Services.
- Safari Gift Shop: There’s more in store this gift-giving season at the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop. The Safari Gift Shop has something for everyone on your list, including original Zoo apparel, eco-friendly and sustainable items, enriching toys and books for kids, home décor and more. Make it a hippo-happy holiday and shop the Zoo’s impressive collection of hippo gifts including ornaments, plush and this year’s hippo shirt! These fan favorites are back with a festive new design. Celebrate the Zoo’s connection to the iconic holiday song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” with these limited-edition shirts, available in adult and youth sizes. During December, ZOOfriends members will enjoy 20% off everything, including clearance items. The Safari Gift Shop is open daily during regular Zoo hours. Zoo Admission is not required to shop.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 14 THROUGH CHRISTMAS DAY, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25: OKC ZOO’S HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN, ANIMAL ENRICHMENT ACTIVITY
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Holiday Countdown is here to fill your days with yuletide cheer! The Zoo is putting a wild twist on the 12 Days of Christmas and hosting a festive Holiday Countdown featuring its animal family. During this animal enrichment activity, some of your favorite animals including the Asian elephants, mountain lions, orangutans, sea lions and more, will receive special “presents” and edible treats created by their caretakers. Follow all the fun on the Zoo’s social media! The countdown begins Monday, December 14 and continues through Christmas Day, Friday, December 25.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 18: OKC ZOO HOSTS PARENTS NIGHT OUT PROGRAM
Need to get some last-minute holiday shopping done? The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Parents Night Out Program is here for you. Hosted by the OKC Zoo’s education team, kiddos will enjoy program activities including 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: 4-11 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 https://www.okczoo.org/overnight-programs.
MONDAY, DEC. 21–WEDNESDAY, DEC. 23; MONDAY, DEC. 28–WEDNESDAY, DEC. 30; MONDAY, JAN. 4 AND MONDAY, JAN. 18: OKC ZOO’S SCHOOL’S OUT DAY CAMPS
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s School’s Out Day Camps offer a unique educational experience for your young students during school breaks and holidays. These daily themed camps include engaging activities, in-park exploration, up-close animal ambassador visits and more. December and January camp dates and themes are:
- Monday, December 21, Self Defense 101: To spray or not to spray, that is the question—well if you're a skunk. Discover the fascinating ways that animals defend themselves from danger!
- Tuesday, December 22, Holiday Hurray: The holidays means new structures to play on, novel food items and gifts from friends like you! Help us put the hurray in our Zoo residents' holiday season.
- Wednesday, December 23, Radical Red Pandas: Racoon, bear, or something else altogether? Come learn why the red panda is a radical animal that stands out from the rest!
- Monday, December 28, Friendly Fish: Don't let this one slip by – come explore the scaly world of fish! It's sure to be FINtastic!
- Tuesday, December 29, Beautiful Birds: With bright, flashy colors, birds sure do know how to stand out! Explore why birds are so colorful…and sometimes not!
- Wednesday, December 30, Scales and Tails: Sssslither and stomp your way to the Zoo to be immersed in the amazing world of reptiles!
- Monday, January 4, Slippery Salamanders: Is it a frog? Is it a lizard? No, it's a SALAMANDER! Find out what makes these mysterious creatures so amazing as we explore their amphibious lives.
- Monday, January 18, SHELLEBRATION!: Don’t miss out on the shellebration! Join us as we explore all things turtle and tortoise!
School’s Out Day Camps are available for children ages 4–11. 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. with after-care provided from 4:30-5:30 p.m. for $10/day. at the OKC Zoo’s Rosser Conservation Education Center. Campers must bring their lunch and snacks. Space is limited and advance registration is required. To register, visit okczoo.org/schools-out or call (405) 425-0218.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 25: CHRISTMAS DAY, THE OKC ZOO IS CLOSED.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 1: NEW YEAR’S DAY, THE ZOO IS OPEN.
ONGOING: ART GONE WILD, ART MADE BY THE OKC ZOO’S ANIMALS FOR ANIMALS
Art Gone Wild, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s collection of original animal paintings, are available for purchase this holiday season. As part of the Zoo’s enrichment program, many animals including elephants, sea lions, tigers and more paint during enrichment sessions with assistance from their caregivers. Painting prices range from $35 to $300, depending on size. All net proceeds benefit one of the Zoo’s local conservation initiatives. Art Gone Wild is on display in the Zoo’s Guest Services office located in the entry plaza during regular Zoo hours. Masks are required for all guests 11 and older upon entry into Guest Services. To learn more, call (405) 425-0262.
ONGOING: SEASONAL HOURS FOR OKC ZOO RIDES, ATTRACTIONS
A winter adventureland awaits with the Oklahoma City Zoo’s unique rides and attractions. Capacity is limited for all rides and attractions to maintain adequate social distancing among guests. Guests can pre-purchase tickets for these experiences when they make their online reservation at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets or purchase them in the park. All rides and attractions are operational weather permitting and schedules are subject to change without notice.
- Centennial Choo Choo: Choo Choo rides are available weekends (Fri., Sat. and Sun.) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $3 per person. Children two and under free.
- Elephant Express Tram: Embark on a guided Zoo tour as you travel from the Entry Plaza to Sanctuary Asia. Rides offered Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. All day bracelets are $6 per person. Children two and under free.
- Endangered Species Carousel: Carousel rides are available Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $3 per person.
- Explorikeet Feedings (Children’s Zoo): Discover the hands-on fun of feeding our lorikeets! Opportunities available Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $4 per person. Participants age 3+ must wear a mask during this up-close animal encounter for the protection of guests and staff.
- Flamingo Mingle: Have you met our flamingo flock? Flamingo Mingle feedings occur Thursday through Monday, weather-permitting, in the Children’s Zoo habitat from 10-11 a.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m. Cost is $7 per person. Children age 2 and under are not permitted. Participants age 3+ must wear a mask during this up-close animal encounter for the protection of guests and staff.
- Giraffe Feeding Platform: Be spotted feeding our gentle giants! Weekend (Fri., Sat. and Sun.) feeding opportunities from 2 to 3 p.m. Cost is $5 per person. Children age 2 and under are not permitted. Participants age 3+ must wear a mask during this up-close animal encounter for the protection of guests and staff.
- Rhino Feedings: For one of the most magical experiences in the OKC Zoo, make plans to feed one of the Zoo’s Indian rhinos! Feeding opportunities available weekends (Fri., Sat. and Sun.) at 11:30 a.m. at Sanctuary Asia. Cost is $10 per person. Children age 2 and under are not permitted. Participants age 3+ must wear a mask during this up-close animal encounter for the protection of guests and staff. Additional rules are posted at the habitat.
- Sea Lion Presentations: Go wild for these educational and engaging presentations featuring the Zoo’s California sea lions and harbor seals! Weekend (Fri., Sat. and Sun.) presentations at 1 p.m. at the Zoo’s Sea Lion Presentation Stadium. Cost is $5 per person. Children two and under are free.
- Stingray Bay: Waves of fun await at Stingray Bay with up-close encounters and feeding opportunities with these majestic creatures. Cost is $4 per person to enter. Stingray feedings are 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., while supplies last, for an additional $3 per person. Participants age 3+ must wear a mask during this up-close animal encounter for the protection of guests and staff. Stingray Bay is open Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
ONGOING: OKC ZOO’S STATEWIDE LIBRARY PROGRAM, READ FOR ADVENTURE, BRINGS OKLAHOMANS TOGETHER THROUGH READING, FREE ZOO TICKETS
Read for Adventure, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s statewide library program, inspires Oklahoma families to connect through reading and caring about wildlife and wild places. Sponsored by OG&E, this year’s program features an original children’s book, Juniper’s Butterfly Garden, encourages kids to read with the story of a child’s journey as she learns about monarch butterflies. 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 are redeemable through June 30, 2021. For a list of participating libraries, visit www.okczoo.org/readforadventure.
ONGOING: OKC ZOO’S WILD ENCOUNTERS
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Wild Encounters provide you with a memorable experience as you enjoy an exclusive look behind the Zoo scene! See some of your favorite animals up-close like never before. Meet our expert caretakers and learn about the animals they care for and the Zoo’s efforts to conserve their wild counterparts. Wild Encounters are available Thursday through Monday and include a souvenir lanyard. Wild Encounters are also a great gift idea for the holidays! There is a maximum of ten people per encounter and participants must wear masks. Prices range from $40–$50 per person depending on the encounter. Children age 2 and under are not permitted. Participants age 3+ must wear a mask during this up-close animal encounter for the protection of guests and staff. ZOOfriends’ members receive discount per encounter. For additional information about Wild Encounters or to make a reservation, contact Guest Services at (405) 425-0262.
Sending you wild wishes for a happy Zoo year! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open Thursday through Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with no public access on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at www.okczoo.org/tickets. Zoo tickets are limited each day to maintain social distancing among guests.
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 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. Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.