Spring brings new Paint the Wild series, Spring Break Staycation, annual student art contest, animal enrichment event, education programs and more!
NOW THROUGH SUNDAY, MARCH 7: OKC ZOO CONTINUES TO HONOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS AND EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WITH FREE GENERAL ADMISSION
For all you do, the Zoo thanks you. The Oklahoma City Zoo will continue to honor all healthcare workers and emergency responders with free general admission through Sunday, March 7. The Zoo is also offering 50% off of general admission for up to four immediate family members of qualifying individuals on date of visit. Healthcare workers and emergency responders must present a valid work ID or badge at the Zoo’s ticket window upon arrival to receive complimentary admission for themselves and discounts for up to four accompanying guests. Advance reservations are not required. While at the Zoo, healthcare workers and emergency responders will also enjoy additional discounts, with proof of a valid work ID or badge, including 10% off concessions and merchandise at the Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop and $10 off all available Wild Encounter behind-the-scenes experiences. Plus, they will save $10 off any ZOOfriends membership level, new or renewal. Memberships must be purchased in-person at the ZOOfriends membership office located in the Zoo’s entry plaza. To learn more, visit okczoo.org or call (405) 425-0262.
MARCH AND APRIL: OKC ZOO’S NEW PAINT THE WILD SERIES
Color your world wild with the Oklahoma City Zoo’s new Paint the Wild series. This brand-new series offers Zoo fans, 12 and older, a creative way to connect with the Zoo’s animal family and caretakers. Paint the Wild kick-offs off with a virtual event in March and participants can register for in-person painting events held every weekend in April at the Zoo.
Paint the Wild Virtual Event
Find your artistic vibe with this virtual event featuring social media sensation, Puddles! Enjoy painting a portrait of the Zoo’s popular fishing cat, Puddles, from the comfort of home. Registration includes an art kit with a canvas and paint (brushes can be added for a fee) plus, a video tutorial delivered straight to your inbox! Tickets on sale Monday, March 8 through Sunday, March 14. Paint the Wild kits will be available for pick up at the Zoo from Friday, March 19 through Sunday, March 28, and paintings can be created anytime! Cost per person for kit with brushes: $40 (members) and $45 for (nonmembers) / kits without brushes: $30 (members) and $35 (nonmembers). Kits can be shipped for an additional cost. Tickets will be available for purchase on the Zoo’s website starting Monday, March 8.
Paint the Wild In-Person Events
These engaging events invite participants to paint different animals in picturesque areas of the Zoo and conclude with a caretaker chat. With painting instruction led by Pinot's Palette of Norman, guests select one date per weekend to come and learn how to paint like a pro! The same painting will be taught on both Saturday and Sunday with a new animal featured each weekend. Add a VIP experience to your painting experience to enjoy early entry to the event and see the featured animal up-close. The VIP experiences are limited to 20 guests per event date. Paint the Wild dates and featured animal paintings:
- Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4: Asian Elephant Painting (Lotus Pavilion at Sanctuary Asia)
- Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11: Bison Painting (Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital)
- Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18: Sea Lion Painting (Sea Lion Stadium)
- Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24: Flamingo Painting (Roughneck Pavilion by Zoo Lake)
Paint the Wild in-person events run 2–5 p.m. VIP experiences are prior to the painting instruction from 1:30–2:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale Monday, March 8 for ZOOfriends members and Monday, March 15 for the public. Cost per person for general admission, $50 (members) / $72 (nonmembers) or VIP admission, $70 (members) / $92 (nonmembers) and includes Zoo admission for nonmembers. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferrable. Due to limited capacity, ticket reservations may not change after purchase and must be purchased in advance. Capacity varies by date and location. Events will be held rain or shine. Tickets will be available for purchase on the Zoo’s website starting Monday, March 8.
OKC ZOO SPRING BREAK ATTRACTION SCHEDULE
Take your Zoo day to the next level with these popular Oklahoma City Zoo attractions! The following schedule begins Monday, March 8, and is subject to change without notice. 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 www.okczoo.org/tickets or purchase them in the park. All rides and attractions are operational weather permitting.
- Camel Rides: This seasonal attraction returns to the Zoo. Enjoy a ride on a dromedary camel during your visit. Cost is $6 per person and rides will take place from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily. Children under 6 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Other rules are posted at the habitat. Camel rides are not included in Ride-It-All packages.
- Centennial Choo Choo: Rides offered daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per person. Children two and under free.
- Elephant Express Tram: Sit back and relax as you tour the Zoo! Rides travel from the Entry Plaza to Sanctuary Asia and are offered daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All day bracelets are $6 per person. Children two and under free.
- Endangered Species Carousel: Carousel rides are available daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per person.
- Explorikeet Feedings (Children’s Zoo): Fly by the Children’s Zoo to feed the lorikeets. Spring break schedule (March 12–21): Feeding opportunities available daily from 9 a.m. to Noon and 1 p.m. to 4:30 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: Flamingo Mingle feedings occur daily in the Children’s Zoo habitat from 9:30-10:30 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: Meet and feed the Zoo’s gentle giants! Spring break schedule (March 12–21): Daily feeding opportunities from 11 a.m. to noon and 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: Our Indian rhinos are ready to meet you! Spring break schedule (March 12–21): Feedings occur daily 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: Don’t miss these educational and engaging presentations featuring the Zoo’s California sea lions and harbor seals! Spring break schedule (March 12–21): Presentations 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Zoo’s Sea Lion Presentation Stadium. Cost is $5 per person. Children two and under are free.
- Stingray Bay: Stingray Bay provides up-close encounters and feeding opportunities with one of the most majestic creatures of the sea, stingrays! Cost is $4 per person to enter. Spring break schedule (March 12–21): Open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with feeding opportunities available from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1:30 to 2 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.
MONDAY, MARCH 8 THROUGH FRIDAY, APRIL 30: OKC ZOO AND PEPSO VENDING MACHINE ART CONTEST
Think big and go wild for recycling! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Pepsi are calling on Oklahoma’s students, K-12, to participate in the Pepsi Vending Machine Art Contest for an opportunity to win prizes and have their original art design displayed on a Pepsi vending machine at the Zoo. Incorporating the contest theme, Go Wild for Recycling, students are asked to use their artistic talents to inspire others to recycle and contribute to a healthy environment. Contest entries become property of the OKC Zoo and must be postmarked by Friday, April 30, 2021. Each of the contest’s grand prize winners (K-5 and 6-12) will have their design replicated on the cover of a Pepsi machine at the Zoo to be admired by guests for a year! Winners from all award categories will receive a certificate and have their designs on display at the OKC Zoo. Contest details and entry forms will be available on March 8 on the Zoo’s website, okczoo.org.
FRIDAY, MARCH 12 THROUGH SUNDAY, MARCH 21: OKC ZOO’S SPRING BREAK STAYCATION
This spring, make plans to get out and explore the wild with the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Spring Break Staycation. The OKC Zoo is partnering with News 9 and VisitOKC to provide you with an amazing holiday staycation that is only a drive away! With the OKC Zoo’s Spring Break Staycation, stay one night at any participating Oklahoma City metro area hotel from Friday, March 12 through Sunday, March 21, 2021, and when you do, you will receive 50% off of general admission to the OKC Zoo for up to four people! Come stay and play in the heart of Oklahoma City then explore the OKC Zoo where you can enjoy the outdoors while discovering the world’s wildlife plus, unique Zoo attractions and experiences! Zoo vouchers will be distributed upon check-in at participating hotels. Limit of one voucher per room. Multiple nights do not equal multiple vouchers. Advance Zoo ticket reservations are not required for this promotion. Participants will redeem vouchers at the Zoo’s ticket window. For a list of participating hotels, visit okczoo.org/springbreak.
FRIDAY, MARCH 19: OKC ZOO’S SPRING ANIMAL ENRICHMENT EVENT
The Zoo is in bloom and the aromas of spring are zooming about! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is celebrating the incoming season and hosting a Spring Animal Enrichment Event in which some of the Zoo’s animals will receive scent-focused enrichment. Join us on Friday, March 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and watch as certain animals put their trunks, snouts, beaks and noses, to the test to discover uniquely scented items and treats created for them by their caretakers. Introducing various smells such as spices, perfumes, flowers or other animal scents encourages natural behaviors while providing new stimuli for our animals to enjoy. Guests will also have an opportunity to talk with the Zoo’s expert team members to learn more about the Zoo’s enrichment program. This event is free with Zoo admission. Handouts with Spring Enrichment Event schedule will be available at the Zoo’s Guest Services and ZOOfriends offices in the entry plaza. The schedule will also be available on the Zoo’s Facebook page.
MARCH: OKC ZOO’S EDUCATION PROGRAMS
For additional information about these and other programs, contact the Zoo’s Education department at (405) 425-0218 or visit www.okczoo.org.
- SCHOOLS OUT DAY CAMPS FOR SPRING BREAK 2021: ZOOLOGY IN ACTION
Your kiddos will go wild for a week of fun and adventure with Zoo camp! Enrollment is now open for the Zoo’s Schools Out Day Camp for spring break. Campers will enjoy daily activities that correspond with the camp’s week-long theme, Zoology In Action, plus, in-park exploration, up-close animal ambassador visits and more. Spring break camps are set for Monday, March 15, through Friday, March 19. Schools Out Day Camps are available for children ages 4–12. 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. 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 https://www.okczoo.org/spring-break or call (405) 425-0218.
- SATURDAY, MARCH 20: FAMILY CAMP OUT, AFRICAN SAFARI ADVENTURE
From s’mores to roars, this camping adventure has it all! Journey to the jungles and savannas of Africa for an unforgettable safari under the stars in the safe and unique setting of the Zoo. Campers will pitch their own tent on Zoo grounds, go for an evening hike through the park, snack on s’mores, enjoy animal themed stories and snooze under the stars. This program includes an animal presentation, a light breakfast plus, Zoo admission for the next day. Participants must provide their own tent and gear. Program is ideal for ages 4 and older. Children must have an adult enrolled with them. Cost is $40 per person. Program capacity is limited to ensure safe social distancing so register early at https://www.okczoo.org/overnight-programs.
- FRIDAY, MARCH 26: PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT
Oklahoma City Zoo’s Parents Night Out is a win-win for your kiddos and 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: 4–12 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 https://www.okczoo.org/after-hours.
ONGOING: GORILLAS ON THE LINE CELLPHONE CHALLENGE
The smallest action can have a big impact and that’s true when you donate a cellphone to help save gorillas. Join the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden in its efforts to protect wild gorillas and their habitat by donating old or used cellphones to the Gorillas on the Line Cell Phone Challenge now through Friday, September 24, 2021. Small electronics frequently contain a substance called coltan, and 80 percent of the world's coltan supply is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, also home to many gorillas. Mining for coltan threatens the habitats of gorillas, chimpanzees, okapi and other endangered species. The coltan from these donated devices is re-used and reduces the need to mine for the compound in gorilla habitats. Go above and beyond for gorillas by donating cellphones or small electronics now through Friday, September 24, and receive a free general Zoo admission ticket! Schools, organizations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to collect as many cell phones and electronics as they can in support of gorilla conservation. Donated items can be dropped off for recycling in the Zoo’s Guest Services office in the entry plaza. Masks are required for all guests 11 and older upon entry into Guest Services.
ONGOING: OKC ZOO HIRING FOR PART-TIME POSITIONS
Give your career some adventure! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is now hiring for dozens of spring and summer, part-time positions throughout the Zoo for its 2021 season. The OKC Zoo is hiring for four different groups and each have their own application process. Positions include OKC Zoo brand ambassadors, ride operators, tram drivers, zipline guides, cooks, and ZOOfriends membership and retail associates. Team members must be quick-thinking, organized, courteous, knowledgeable, able to follow clear directions, outgoing and friendly. The ability to speak with guests, answer guest questions and provide solutions to problems is essential. Pay ranges from $10.25 per hour and up with great benefits. To learn more about these employment opportunities or to apply, visit https://www.okczoo.org/jobs.
ONGOING: LIVING CLASSROOM GRANT PROGRAM
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, in partnership with Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma Monarch and Pollinator Collaborative and National Wildlife Federation, invites Oklahoma City metro area schools, K-12, to apply for the OKC Living Classroom Grant Program and help increase habitat for monarchs and other pollinators by creating gardens at their schools. In the last 20 years, monarch populations have dropped by over 80 percent. The main problem afflicting monarchs is habitat loss throughout their migration and breeding range. Migrating monarchs travel through Oklahoma in the spring and fall as they make their way between central Mexico and southern Canada. Thus, creating and protecting monarch habitat in Oklahoma is critical for this iconic butterfly’s survival. Now through Thursday, April 1, 2021, all public, private and charter K-12 schools in Oklahoma City metro areas, are eligible to apply for the OKC Living Classroom Grant Program. A maximum of five grants will be awarded by Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Recipient schools will receive amounts up to $1,500 to purchase garden supplies.
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 at the Zoo. 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. Peruse the Zoo’s newest selection of animal paintings on display in the Zoo’s Guest Services office located in the entry plaza during regular hours. Painting prices range from $35 to $300, depending on size. All net proceeds benefit one of the Zoo’s local conservation initiatives. Masks are required for all guests 11 and older upon entry into Guest Services. To learn more, call (405) 425-0262.
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. 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.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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.