By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
The Oklahoma City Zoo is bringing back memories for many people by installing five MOLD-A-MATIC souvenir machines.
Originally appearing in the Zoo in the early 1970’s, these popular machines became a guest favorite.
The MOLD-A-Matic produces a miniature animal replica behind a plexiglass window within 60 seconds while you wait. According an OKC Zoo press release, the machines had deteriorated from extreme weather exposure over decades and from producing tens of thousands of souvenirs. The last souvenir machine was removed from the Zoo in 2010.
The zoo has refurbished five MOLD-A-MATIC machines, featuring the description “The Magic Souvenir Maker” and has placed them throughout the Zoo. Each machine produces a different animal using the original souvenir molds, which include a gorilla, grizzly bear, hippopotamus, elephant and giraffe.
The figurines are produced in the original array of colors featuring the “OKC Zoo” stamp at the base signifying its origin.
“We’re thrilled to bring these MOLD-A-MATIC machines to the Oklahoma City Zoo. The sight, sound and even the smell of these refurbished souvenir makers create an unforgettable experience for guests who remember them fondly and for a new generation to discover and collect,” said Bill Dockum, director of guest experience.
The machines were placed around the Zoo on the afternoon of February 10. Social media carried the news to thousands and within ten days, over 2,300 units had been sold.
A video was posted on the Zoo’s Facebook page on Thursday, February 23, announcing the return of MOLD-A-MATICS. It soon became the Zoo’s most watched video with more than 40,000 views in 14 hours, the release stated.
Each MOLD-A-MATIC souvenir costs $3. The machines have been modernized to accept both cash and credit cards.
With less than 200 machines believed to be in operation today, these nostalgic souvenirs are a favorite among collectors of all ages. Some of the original productions have been sold for more than $200.
This reporter had the chance to experience the MOLD-A-MATIC machine first hand last month, which brought back recollections of fond childhood visits to the OKC Zoo. The animal replicas are a great souvenir for kids and adults alike that are sure to bring back warm memories of good times at the Zoo.
Zoo hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.
To learn more about MOLD-A-Matics and other Zoo happenings, call 405-424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.