Popular program continues to engage Oklahoma families through reading fun, conservation education and recreation with complimentary Zoo admission!

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden’s statewide library program, Read for Adventure, continues to grow in popularity providing a unique activity that inspires young Oklahomans to embrace their love of reading and nature while enjoying wild benefits including free admission to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Sponsored by Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Read for Adventure encourages family togetherness and connects participants to the importance of taking conservation action for monarch butterflies and other pollinators plus native habitat through the program’s original children’s book, Juniper’s Butterfly Garden–A Small Start for a Better World. Beginning, June 19, library card holders are encouraged to check out Juniper’s Butterfly Garden, from any participating Oklahoma public or tribal library location, and upon returning the book the they will receive a voucher redeemable for free general admission to the OKC Zoo for up to four people (child, adult or senior).

Read for Adventure is in its seventh season and to date, over 61,000 Oklahomans have had the opportunity to visit and enjoy the OKC Zoo at no cost through the program.

“We are extremely grateful to OG&E and our library partners for their support of Read for Adventure and commitment to helping us provide engaging and memorable experiences for Oklahomans to connect with wildlife and wild places,” said Dwight Lawson, OKC Zoo’s executive director and CEO. “This program has introduced thousands to the importance of taking time for learning, recreation and embracing an appreciation for nature.”

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Oklahoma City Zoo once again with such a fun and educational program for young Oklahomans,” said Lindsay Laird, OG&E Manager of Community Outreach & Engagement. “The Read for Adventure program provides a creative way to inspire readers statewide while teaching the vital role of pollinators in our environment and the importance of protecting them in our community.”

Read for Adventure’s original children’s book, Juniper’s Butterfly Garden, was written by Oklahoma City resident and OKC Zoo’s Creative Services Manager, Autumn Heigle, and illustrated by Nadia Ronquillo. Heigle was inspired by the Zoo’s commitment to monarch conservation when writing this story about a child’s passion and determination to help monarch butterflies by creating habitat space for these vital pollinators. Readers will also find resources in the back of the book about planting a garden for monarchs and other pollinators and their migratory path through Oklahoma. 

The iconic monarch butterfly is one of the most celebrated butterflies in North America, but it’s a species in trouble. Insect pollinator populations, including monarchs, around the world are in sharp decline, because of habitat loss and widespread pesticide use. The monarch butterfly population has declined by 90 percent in the last 20 years because of habitat loss. All pollinators play a vital role in the health of the environment so protecting them needs to be a united effort. Migrating monarchs funnel through Oklahoma in the spring and fall. Thus, creating and protecting monarch habitat in Oklahoma is critical for this iconic butterfly’s survival. The OKC Zoo and OG&E recognize the importance of these pollinators and the urgency of restoring their population and protecting their seasonal habitat, and Read for Adventure shares with Oklahomans how they can help monarchs thrive by planting habitat for them in their own yards, community or school gardens. 

Read for Adventure is ongoing through Friday, March 31, 2024. Zoo admission vouchers are redeemable through June 30, 2024. Vouchers can be redeemed at the Zoo’s ticket windows. For additional details about Read for Adventure including a downloadable coloring page and list of participating libraries, visit www.okczoo.org/readforadventure.

Spread your wings and get ready to Read for Adventure! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry at 4 p.m. 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 admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Support your love and passion for wildlife and wild places with a ZOOfriends Membership Passport to the OKC Zoo. There’s a membership level for every kind of explorer with amazing benefits plus, you are supporting the OKC Zoo, its animals, programs and conservation efforts. Memberships can be purchased at okczoo.org/membership. Stay connected with the Zoo on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories.