OKC Zoo is celebrating 100 years of wildlife and wild memories at Lincoln Park with gifts for you! Friday, June 7, 2024 marks the centennial anniversary that the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden first opened at its current location at Lincoln Park, and the Zoo invites fans from near and far to partake in special activities planned for the weekend of Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9.

The OKC Zoo was first established in downtown Oklahoma City’s Wheeler Park area and designated as Oklahoma’s first zoo in 1902. Unfortunately, the location in Wheeler Park frequently flooded from the Oklahoma River, forcing the Zoo to temporarily close in 1923. Zoo officials made the decision to temporally shelter at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds before relocating to its permanent location at Lincoln Park in Northeast Oklahoma City, and officially reopened the Zoo on June 7, 1924, exactly 100 years ago this Friday! From its humble beginnings with one white-tailed deer, the OKC Zoo now spans 130 acres, cares for more than 1,000 animals, and brings people from around the world together to connect with wildlife and wild places.

“We’re thrilled to commemorate this anniversary at Lincoln Park and bring the community together to celebrate,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, executive director/CEO for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. “The Zoo’s growth and achievements in advanced animal care and conservation, as well as world-class expansions like Expedition Africa, would not be possible without our supporters and we are grateful to all who continue to help move us forward.”



  • OKC ZOO MEMBERSHIP SALE: From Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9, only, the Zoo is hosting a flash membership sale and offering the ZOOfriends Passport for four for $100, a savings of $49. Memberships are good for 12 months and provide the member with free general admission into the Zoo for four people as well as discounts on the Zoo’s behind-the-scenes experiences, Wild Encounters, VIP tours, special events, gift shop purchases, concessions, summer camps and more. Members also receive discounted admission to hundreds of Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited zoos and aquariums. This sale is available only online at www.okczoo.org/membership and expires midnight on Sunday, June 9.


  • OKC ZOO KEY GIVEAWAYS: The first 500 families to visit the Zoo on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9 will receive a complimentary OKC Zoo Key. A popular activity since the 1960s, these interactive keys are a fun way to learn about the Zoo’s wildlife as you unlock recorded messages from the Zoo’s partners at Oklahoma’s Own News 9. Giveaways start at 9 a.m. both days and keys will be distributed from the ticket check in station in the Zoo’s Entry Plaza. One key per family. Retro OKC Zoo Keys also work on the current displays.


  • VINTAGE POSTCARD PHOTO-OPS: Enjoy a view of the Zoo from yesteryear with this series of enlarged vintage postcard photo banners. These banners are not only the perfect photo-op but they depict iconic Zoo scenes from a then-and-now perspective complete with short histories and located in the exact locations where they were first illustrated or photographed nearly a century ago! Guests will be in awe by how much the Zoo has grown over the years. Share your pics with the Zoo on our social channels @okczoo.


  • ANIMAL ENRICHMENT: The Zoo’s animal family is getting in on the centennial festivities, too! Watch as select Zoo animals enjoy special enrichment provided for them by their caretakers on Friday, June 7. The enrichment schedule will be shared on the Zoo’s social channels @okczoo and includes:
    • 10 a.m.: Chimpanzees (Great EscApe)
    • 10 a.m.: Honey badgers (Expedition Africa)
    • 11 a.m.: Red river hogs (Expedition Africa)
    • 11:30 a.m.: African painted dogs (Predator Pass)
    • 2 p.m.: Asian elephants (Sanctuary Asia)


Adding to the anniversary activities, guests are encouraged to explore the recently opened Expedition Africa. At more than 12 acres in size, Expedition Africa, presented by Inasmuch Foundation, is the OKC Zoo’s largest ever expansion and includes new habitats, building renovations, and an elevated guest experience. Located in the heart of the Zoo, the expansion is home to more than sixty species native to the African continent, including hyenas, wildebeests, the fan-favorite giraffe herd, and more.

The newly renovated Love’s Pachyderm Building in Expedition Africa is a sight to see and home to some of the Zoo’s most eye-catching residents. The building joined the National Register of Historic Places in 2021 and retains its Midcentury Modern architecture with an enhanced and visitor-friendly interior housing African lungfish, dwarf mongooses, naked mole rats, and more. It also includes a tremendous climate-controlled events space available for any occasion. The Pachyderm building was originally constructed in the 1960s to house the Zoo’s elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotamuses.

Another popular Zoo attraction is the ZooZeum, the only history museum of its kind in the nation. Located in a historic 1930s building at the Zoo’s Sanctuary Asia habitat, the Patricia and Byron J. Gambulos ZooZeum, highlights the Zoo’s unique history with informative displays, videos, and one-of-a-kind artifacts. Stop by and stroll down memory “zoo” lane!

Help make OKC Zoo history and join in the anniversary activities happening, June 7 through 9! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Through Labor Day, Monday, September 2, the Zoo is open daily at 8:30 a.m. for ZOOfriends with current memberships. 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, and Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Zoo 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.

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, X, Instagram, Linktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.