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OKC Zoo hosts annual bowling event to save wild Rhinos on July 20

The OKC Zoo Bowling for Rhinos event to support wild rhinoceros conservation is set for July 20 at 7 p.m. at Heritage Lanes, 11917 N. Penn, in Oklahoma City. Photo courtesy OKC Zoo.
The OKC Zoo Bowling for Rhinos event to support wild rhinoceros conservation is set for July 20 at 7 p.m. at Heritage Lanes, 11917 N. Penn, in Oklahoma City. Photo courtesy OKC Zoo.

By Darla Shelden
Contributing Writer

This month you can help save wild rhinoceros populations with the roll of a bowling ball. The Oklahoma City Zoo’s chapter of the American Association of Zoo Keepers (AAZK) will host the 19th annual Bowling for Rhinos on Saturday, July 20.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. at Heritage Lanes, 11917 N. Penn, in Oklahoma City.

A fee of $25 per person includes shoe rental, three games of bowling, food, a T-shirt along with door prize opportunities.

“Bowling for Rhinos is an incredible event,” said Laura Bottaro, Oklahoma City Zoo curator. “It successfully raises awareness about the plight wild rhinos face in a fun and interactive way. To think that children and adults are helping save wild rhinos with the roll of a bowling ball is awesome.

“Community support for Bowling for Rhinos continues to grow and the funds raised go directly to protecting and caring for rhino populations in Africa and Asia.

“The involvement is local but the impact is global. Together, we are saving these amazing animals.”

The AAZK realized that zookeepers around the world are conservation oriented and want to help save Rhinos and their habitats. However, they lack the funds to make any significant impact. Through this need, Bowling For Rhinos, a national bowl-a-thon was born.

Bowling for Rhinos is an annual fundraiser that supports rhino conservation in Asia and Africa. The fate of these gentle giants is in jeopardy unless conservation actions are made to protect them.

Only five species of rhino exist today, compared to the 100 species that once roamed the Earth, and all are considered endangered.

Endangered means there is still time to help and Bowling for Rhinos is doing just that.

Approximately 60 organizations in the U.S. and Canada pair with AAZK to support Bowling for Rhinos and to date total funds raised is over $4.3 million with all proceeds directly benefiting rhinos in the wild.

“The Zoo and its AAZK chapter have raised over $247,000 through its events, making us one of the largest contributors to Bowling for Rhinos. Oklahoma City’s local involvement has a global impact,” said Candice Rennels, OKC Zoo Marketing and Public Relations Manager.

The mission of the AAZK is to advance excellence in the animal keeping profession, foster effective communication beneficial to animal care, support deserving conservation projects, and promote the preservation of our natural resources and animal life.

Proceeds will go to wildlife preserves in Kenya, Java, and Sumatra. 100 percent of all funds raised goes toward saving the Black, White, Great Indian, Javan, and Sumatran Rhinos. AAZK and the Oklahoma City Zoo value and appreciate the public’s support and participation in this event.

The OKC Zoo has four rhinoceros in its collection, two Black rhinos and two Great Indian rhinos.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is a member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35. Hours of operation from July 1 through August 26 are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily.
On Saturdays now through September 7, the Zoo stays open until 8 p.m. with exhibit buildings closing at 7:45 p.m. All guests must exit Zoo grounds at closing.

Zoo admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

This is a family friendly event and teams and individuals of all levels of bowling experience are welcome.

If you do not wish to bowl but would like to support the cause, or sponsor a team, donations can be made online at or send them to “AAZK Bowling for Rhinos,” 2101 N.E. 50, Oklahoma City, OK, 73111.

Registrations the night of the event will be accepted. To learn more or to pre-register call 405-424-3344 or visit

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