By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Oklahoma City Zoo offers fun and bargains for the winter holidays. During Two-For-One Tuesdays, guests can buy one Zoo admission ticket and get one free (of equal or lesser value) each Tuesday in December, January and February. The Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Save $10 when you purchase or renew a ZOOfriends’ membership during December. The offer excludes Junior memberships. Purchase online at zoofriends.org, by phone at (405) 425-0618 or in the ZOOfriends’ membership office located in the Global Plaza.
Animal adoptions make great holiday gifts for Zoo lovers on your list. Contributions from these symbolic adoptions support the health, enrichment and nutritional needs of all the animals at the Zoo. With each $45 donation, recipients receive their choice of a plush elephant or otter, adoption certificate, a fact sheet about their adopted animal and name recognition on the Zoofriends’ website for one year.
The Zoo’s behind-the-scenes program, Wild Encounters, enables guests to get up close and personal with black bears, sea lions and elephants. All ages are welcome. Maximum group size is 10 people, and children must be accompanied by an adult. Wild Encounters can be purchased in Guest Relations daily. Tickets are sold on a per person basis for each encounter.
Black Bear encounters meet daily at 9:45 a.m. at the swift fox habitat; $35/member, $40/nonmember. Sea Lions encounters meet daily at 11:30 a.m. at the sidewalk ramp across from Canopy Restaurant; $35/member, $40 for nonmember. And Elephant encounters meet daily at 2:45 p.m. at the elephant habitat entrance; $45/member, $50/nonmember.
Zoo’s Keeper Connections offers an opportunity to learn more about your favorite Zoo animals from the people dedicated to caring for them. Keeper Connections are held daily at posted areas throughout the Zoo grounds, weather permitting, and are free with paid Zoo admission. Schedules are available in Guest Services or on the Zoo’s event calendar at www.okczoo.org.
Santa himself will be stopping by the Zoo to deliver treats to animals in the Children’s Zoo Barnyard area on Tuesday, December 13, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Guests can enjoy free hot chocolate and donuts in the Children’s Zoo while supplies last. Santa will be available for pictures in the Canopy Restaurant.
This year the “Edzoocation” team will host “Winter in the Woods” on Thursday, December 15 from 2-3 p.m. The event includes interactive learning experiences and up close encounters with the animal ambassadors. The cost, $7 (member), $9 (non-member), includes one adult per child, sibling 3 and under are free. Additional adults are $1. Zoo admission included.
During Santa’s Workshop–Zoo Style, on Saturday, December 17, from 10 -11:30 a.m. guests ages 4 and up will make Christmas cookies and gifts for the zoo animals and those on their gift own list. This event includes possible allergens. The cost is $12 (member), $15 (non-member). For more information, call 405-425-0218 or visit www.okczoo.org.
The Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop is the place for one-stop shopping for all your holiday gift buying needs. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Safari Gift Shop located in the Global Plaza, features plush animals, children’s books, educational toys and games and home décor. Discover locally made and designed apparel options, such as tees and sweatshirts.
The gift shop provides complimentary giftwrapping for all purchases made in December, parking is free and Zoo admission is not required. Zoo gift cards also make great gifts and can be used for any need in the park. Zoofriends’ members will receive a 25 percent discount through December 31. This discount only applies to non-sale items.
Original artwork, created by the Zoo’s resident animal artists with assistance from their keepers, can make wonderful holiday gifts. Select from masterpieces by birds, bears, elephants, gorillas, sea lions, and snakes. All proceeds support Zoo conservation initiatives. To view and purchase paintings, visit the Guest Services office open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
School’s Out Day Camps at the Zoo provide a fun and exciting educational opportunity for kids 4 to 11. Dates include December 21, 22, 23, and 28, 29, 30. Half day costs $25 and full day is $45. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. For more information, call (405) 425-0218 or visit www.okczoo.org.
The Zoo will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25 and New Year’s Day, January 1. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.
To learn more about these and other happenings, call 405-424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.