Zoo welcomes 68,838 visitors with significant attendance boost coming from new OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS experience.


The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden set a new monthly attendance record for November with 68,838 total visitors of all ages coming in to the OKC Zoo between November 1 and 30, 2021. This new visitation total shatters the previous November attendance record of 44,683 guests set in 2019.

The dramatic increase in visitation can be partially attributed to the unusually mild temperatures and the recently opened wildlife habitat Predator Pass, home to the Zoo’s newest wildlife, male cheetah brothers, Boomer and Pete, and three African painted dogs. However, the biggest source of new visitors is the Zoo’s new holiday light experience OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS. 32,491 people have experienced the Zoo’s nighttime light program since it opened on November 6.

“We’re thrilled by both the turnout to the OKC Zoo and the positive feedback we’re receiving from guests,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, executive director/CEO for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. “We greatly appreciate the glowing reviews and requests that this become a continual holiday tradition for Oklahoma City.”

For the first time in 29 years, the Zoo has opened its gates for a holiday light event designed to engage visitors to experience the wonder of wildlife illuminated! OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS features both a driving tour and a separate walk-thru experience. For the drive-thru portion, guests literally drive through the park starting at the back entrance near the Zoo Amphitheatre and continue along a 1-mile course to see more than 50 larger-than-life themed light sculptures featuring wonderous wildlife (real and mythical). After the driving tour, guests can park and re-enter the Zoo for the walk-thru portion. The walking experience leads guests through the main entry plaza for an immersive light and music performance played every 15 minutes. Guests can continue to explore the Children’s Zoo transformed with more light displays, illuminated swings, interactive light displays, s’more making and access to DINO SAFARI, now lit with holiday lights. Every Thursday through Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. until December 25, guests can participate in additional holiday activities including cookie decorating and photos with Santa Claus!    

Advance online reservations are required for OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS driving tours. No drive-up purchases will be allowed. Tickets are limited to ensure optimal guest experience. Admission for the drive-thru experience is $50/vehicle for ZOOfriends members or $60/vehicle (non-members) this fee includes up to 4 walk-thru admission tickets. Admission for the walk-thru only is $10/guest ages 3 and up for ZOOfriends members or $12/guest ages 3 and up (non-members). OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS is open from 5:30 to 11 p.m. nightly including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with the last entry no later than 10:30 p.m. Prepare for this holly, jolly time of year and purchase your tickets for OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS today at okczoo.org/safari-lights.                                                                                                                                           

Make it a ZOOper holiday season! The Oklahoma City Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except for Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25, with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Beginning Tuesday, December 7, and continuing through Wednesday, February 9, the Zoo will be closed during daytime hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Regular Zoo hours apply Mondays through Thursdays. OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS will remain open nightly from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Purchase advance tickets for general Zoo admission and SAFARI LIGHTS at okczoo.org/tickets.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagramLinktree 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.