By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – As fall approaches, October brings lots of family fun activities to the Oklahoma City Zoo.
The Zoo will once again feature a Giant Pumpkin for the Halloween season. This year’s prized pumpkin weighs a massive 820 pounds and hails from Claremore, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma-grown gourd will be on display in the OKC Zoo’s Global Plaza throughout the month of October. The pumpkin is a festive orange color, making for some truly gourd-geous photo opportunities. If you share your pumpkin pics on social media, be sure to tag the Zoo with #okczoo.
Flutter out to the Zoo to tag nature’s winged wonders – monarch butterflies – from Sunday, October 1 through Friday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in the Zoo’s butterfly garden. Guests of all ages are invited to participate in the OKC Zoo’s annual Monarch Butterfly Tagging event through Monarch Watch’s citizen science program. This program provides conservationists with valuable information about monarchs including their migration pathways and population growth. In the case of rain, butterfly tagging will be cancelled. This activity is free with Zoo admission.
The annual OKC Zoo Pumpkin Drive will take place from October 1 – 8. Guests that bring a pumpkin larger than their head to the OKC Zoo will receive free same-day admission. The limit is one free admission per person. Donated pumpkins will be used to decorate Haunt the Zoo.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will be hosting its annual Fall Plant Sale on Friday, October 6 through Sunday, October 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day in the Global Plaza. The sale will include multicolored pansies, violas and unusual plants from the OKC Zoo’s botanical collection. The Zoo’s horticulture team will be available to answer questions and provide tips about fall gardening and landscaping.
On Saturday, October 7, the Zoo will host a special #Caturday event to celebrate and raise awareness about the Zoo’s large and small cats. The Zoo’s carnivore caretakers will host information booths and kids’ activities in the tiger and small cat building at Cat Forest. Keeper connections/animal enrichment activities will be held at 10:30 a.m. (tigers), 11:30 a.m. (jaguar) and 2 p.m. (fishing cat/ocelot).
The OKC Zoo will join the OKC Metro Chapter of the OSU Alumni Association to invite the public to dress up in orange party clothes and celebrate Pistol Pete’s 94th Birthday on Sunday, October 8. The first 200 Pokes’ fans to arrive wearing Oklahoma State University colors will have the chance to share birthday cake with Pete at 2 p.m. and receive a gift from the OKC Metro Chapter of the OSU Alumni Association, while supplies last. Activities will take place in the OKC Zoo’s Global Plaza, admission required to enter the Zoo. To learn more, click here.
On Saturday, October 14, Bedford Camera and Nikon will present “Borrow a Lens Day” at the Zoo. Courtesy of Bedford Camera and Video, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests can borrow a camera and hone their photography skills while capturing photos of the Zoo’s lush gardens and wildlife habitats. Guests must provide a valid driver’s license to borrow a lens. Admission to the Zoo required.
The Zoo’s popular annual Pumpkin Chomp and Stomp event will be held on Friday, October 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Zoo’s animal care team will prepare enrichment items for various animals to “chomp and stomp” to celebrate the pumpkin season. A schedule of enrichment times will be available to guest on the day of the event and online at www.okczoo.org.
On Friday, October 20, the Oklahoma City Zoo will host Creature and Cocktails the most frighteningly fun, 21 and older, Halloween party of the year from 7 – 10 p.m. Presented by the Oklahoma Zoological Society and Oklahoma Gazette, this spook-tacular event includes food, a live DJ, games, a costume contest, tours of the OKC Zoo’s “haunted” Herpetarium, and festive libations. The costume contest will consist of 3 categories: Group, Pairs, and Individual. Tickets are $45 per person and additional drinks will be available for purchase. Designated driver tickets are $15 per person. Visit www.ZOOfriends.org for tickets and contest rules or call (405) 425-0618. Net proceeds will benefit the Zoo’s conservation initiatives.
The Oklahoma City Zoo will hold its 34th annual Haunt the Zoo, presented by Kohl’s Cares and the Children’s Hospital Volunteers. New this year, Haunt the Zoo will become a daytime event in order to accommodate the large number of expected guests. Haunt the Zoo will take place during the day over the course of two weekends: Saturday/Sunday, October 21-22 and Saturday/Sunday, October 28-29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Haunt the Zoo goers can explore the trick-or-treat trail and the Zoo at their own pace while collecting candy from festive volunteers at 25 family-friendly themed booths. Event goers are encouraged to wear costumes (adults, too), but nothing too scary.
In addition to general admission, guests can purchase Trick-or-Treat bags for $7 per person, or $6 for ZOOfriends members. The Zoo will offer Boo-It-All passes (all of the Zoo-it-All benefits plus trick-or-treating) for children/seniors for $29, $33 for adults, or $22 for ZOOfriends’ members. Ride the Centennial Choo Choo, which will be transformed into a ghoulish Ghost Train, for $3. Haunt the Zoo tickets are required for all guests age 2 and up, and are available at www.okczoo.org.
The Zoo is looking for enthusiastic volunteers as young as 8 years old (with an adult chaperone) to assist with this year’s Haunt the Zoo. For more information, contact [email protected].
Pack your jammies and learn about the Zoo’s most Halloween-iest critters during the Zoo’s Haunt the Zoo Overnight event from 7 p.m. Saturday, October 28 to 9 a.m. Sunday, October 29. The cost is $35 per child, $20 per adult. Tickets include an evening snack, night and morning hikes, breakfast, Zoo admission and a Haunt the Zoo trick-or-treat bag the following day, as well as a pumpkin themed activity. Ages 4 and up are welcome – accompanied by a parent. To register, click here.
OKC Zoo’s Daily Keeper Connections will help guests connect with their favorite animals and the keepers who care for them. The Zoo’s animal keepers are dedicated to protecting and preserving the plant’s wildlife and wild places. They will share their wealth of information as they show off the Zoo’s amazing animals. Keeper Connection signs are posted throughout the Zoo. Schedules are available in Guest Services and online at www.okczoo.org. Zoo admission required.
Save the Date for these upcoming November Zoo happenings:
Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge (November 1-30): The OKC Zoo is calling on you to help save gorillas by donating old used cell phones to the Give for Gorillas Cell Phone Challenge. Learn more at www.okczoo.org.
Veteran’s Day (Saturday, November 11, 9 AM-5 PM): In honor of Veteran’s Day, the OKC Zoo is proud to offer free admission to all active duty, active reserves and retirees. Military ID or proof of service is required
Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 23): The Zoo is closed.
The OKC Zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $11 for adults, and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.okczoo.org.