The Zoo’s guessing grizzlies showcase their weather predicting skills plus, family-friendly activities, animal enrichment, Facebook Live videos, photo opportunities and more
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden takes a uniquely wild approach to Groundhog Day and celebrates with its bears! It’s time again for the OKC Zoo’s Groundhog Day ambassadors, grizzly bear brothers, Will and Wiley, to try their paws at predicting the changing seasons to determine if winter is here to stay or spring is on its way. In anticipation of Groundhog Day and next week’s forecast for some warmer weather, the OKC Zoo will be open to the public on Tuesday, February 2, and Wednesday, February 3. Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at www.okczoo.org/tickets.
The Zoo’s Groundhog Day event, presented by Bob Moore Subaru, includes a themed enrichment activity for the bears to engage with as they put their forecasting skills to the test. Since the Zoo is not home to groundhogs, the bears step in as official Groundhog Day prognosticators. Make plans to attend this year’s Groundhog Day event happening from 10 a.m. to noon at the Zoo’s Oklahoma Trails, Big Rivers building. Activities are free with Zoo admission and include:
- Kids Activity with Prizes: Zoo goers 11 and under will learn about bear behaviors as they explore Oklahoma Trails. They will also be able to make their own weather prediction, spring or winter. Activity cards will be available at the event information table at the entrance of Oklahoma Trails.
- Facebook Live Chats with the Zoo’s carnivore caretakers at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
- The OKC Zoo’s designated “town crier” will read the official proclamation adding a festive element in the spirit of early Groundhog Day traditions. (10:15 a.m., Big Rivers Building)
- Animal Enrichment for the Zoo’s grizzly and black bears beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing throughout the day at the grizzly and black bear habitats.
- Conservation Education Station: View bio-facts, discover fun facts about the world’s bear species, be encouraged to create your own bear den for a chance to win a wild encounter, and discover how the Zoo is contributing to bear conservation.
- Photo opportunities sponsored by Bob Moore Subaru.
- #Make Your Own Den Social Media Challenge: Event participants and Zoo fans at home are invited to share their inventive, cozy bear dens on social media for a chance to win a Grizzly Bear Wild Encounter for four. Follow the Zoo on Facebook and Instagram to learn more.
OKC Zoo’s Groundhog Day Highlights:
- The OKC Zoo is home to black bears, Maynard and Woody; and grizzly bear brothers, Will and Wiley.
- Throughout its history, the OKC Zoo has enlisted the help of several Groundhog Day delegates including a bison, prairie dog and pot-bellied pigs.
- Bears were originally used to predict the weather in Europe but, when the population of bears decreased, a badger or “groundhog” filled in. Hence the name, Groundhog Day.
Let the bears predict! 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.