Zoo celebrates new yearly attendance record for 2021 with 1,088,599 visitors, top monthly attendance for December with 115,028 visitors!


The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden ended 2021 on an exciting note with the success of two attendance records including an incredible 1,088,599 visitors for the 2021 calendar year as well as a new monthly attendance record for December with 115,028 total guests visiting the Zoo between December 1 and 31, 2021. This new visitation total for last month shatters the previous December attendance record of 26,383 guests set in 2011.

The dramatic increase in December’s visitation can be partially attributed to the unusually mild temperatures and the Zoo’s new holiday light experience, OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS. To date, 126,663 people have experienced the Zoo’s unique nighttime light program since it opened on November 6, 2021.  In addition to a stellar December, the Zoo’s attendance was strong throughout the year, with new attendance records set for almost all of the Zoo’s annual events including Haunt the Zoo for Halloween, ZOObrew and the highly-popular traveling exhibit, DINO SAFARI.

In 2021 more than 120,000 visitors age three and older received free or discounted admission into the Zoo through one of many programs and partnerships designed to make the Zoo as accessible as possible for all Oklahomans. Discounted admission programs include those for active or retired members of the military, for OKC Allied Arts card holders and for groups of 15 or more who reserve in advance. Free admission programs have been developed with several partners including Curbside Chronicle, American Red Cross of Oklahoma and Oklahoma’s public libraries. The Zoo offered free weekday afternoons in August which welcomed more than 16,000 visitors.

“We’re extremely grateful to all of the guests who visited us last year and for all of our promotional partners who help make the Zoo experience possible for so many,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, executive director/CEO for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. “Our goal for 2022 and beyond is for even more guests to connect with the extraordinary wildlife in our care and to be inspired to conserve them for the future.”

The Zoo was thrilled to bring a seasonal light event back to the community and provide a new opportunity for visitors to experience wildlife together. 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 an array of animals (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.

This weekend marks the final dates to experience the Zoo’s seasonal attractions, OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS and DINO SAFARI, as both attractions close on Sunday, January 9, 2022.

OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS is open nightly from 5:30 to 11 p.m. with the last entry at 10:30 p.m. Advance online reservations are required for driving tours. No drive-up purchases will be allowed. 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). Tickets for the final days of OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS are limited and can be purchased at www.okczoo.org/tickets.     

Zoo guests also have the opportunity to explore DINO SAFARI this weekend for free. Be in awe as you trek through the Zoo’s Pollinator Garden to see life-sized animatronic dinosaurs that demonstrate movement and sounds like the prehistoric creatures. Admission to DINO SAFARI is free with general Zoo admission for guests of all ages through Sunday, January 9.

Make it a happy ZOO year in 2022! The Oklahoma City Zoo is in its winter hours and open Thursdays through Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. The park is closed to the public during daytime hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Purchase advance tickets for general admission at www.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.