by Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma City Zoo is offering lots of fun ways to spend time during the 2017 winter holiday season.
Now through December 31 save on Zoofriends memberships and Safari Gift Shop discounts. Purchase or renew a ZOOfriends membership during the month and save $10. Memberships provide unlimited admission to the OKC Zoo for an entire year as well as many other benefits. During December ZOOfriends members will receive 25 percent off all purchases made at the OKC Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop. Each gift shop purchase supports the Zoo, its animals and conservation efforts. To learn more or to purchase a membership, visit zoofriends.org.
Also this month, share your love of wildlife with everyone on your list with a gift of an Animal Adoption. With each $45 donation, recipients get an adoption certificate, animal fact sheet, name recognition on ZOOfriends’ website and a plush hippo, okapi or lion that you can hold, snuggle and pass on to future generations. The ZOOfriends’ hippo adoption plush option is only available for a limited time. Net proceeds from each animal adoption benefit The Oklahoma Zoological Society. To adopt an animal, call 405-425-0618, or stop by the ZOOfriends’ membership office located in the Zoo’s Global Plaza, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
At noon on Saturday, December 9, the annual Gayla Peevey, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” sing-a-long will take place at 11:30 a.m. in the Rosser Education Conservation Auditorium. Gayla will help the Zoo a big holiday surprise that you don’t want to miss. Refreshments, provided by Salt & Surrey catering, will be served while they last. Holiday Hippo t-shirts will be available for purchase at the Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop in the Global Plaza during the month of December. The event is free for all ages. Zoo admission is not required, but seating is limited.
On Thursday, Dec. 14, the Zoo Toddler Education Program, Dazzling Deer will include animal crafts, activities, discovery stations and more. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. The event will take place from 10 – 11 a.m. at the Rosser Conservation Education Center. For more details, call 405-425-0218 or visit okczoo.org.
A Zoo style Santa’s Workshop will be held on Saturday, Dec.16. From 10 – 11:30 a.m. Celebrate this holiday season by making Christmas cookies and gifts for Zoo animals and those on your gift list. Ages 4 and up. Adults must accompany children. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. For more details, call 405-425-0218.
The 2017 OKC Zoo’s School’s Out Day Camps, for kids ages 4-11, will focus on connecting with and caring for wildlife. Snacks will be provided, but campers must bring their lunch. Program dates include: December 18 – 22 and 27 – 29. Half-day camps run 8:30 – 12:30 p.m. Full-day camps run 8:30–5:15 p.m. Drop-off at the Zoo’s Education Center is from 8:20 – 8:30 a.m. Cost per child, per day is $25 half-day and $45 full-day. Advance registration and payment is required. All campers are required to bring a copy of their immunizations. For more information, visit okczoo.org.
Volunteers are needed this month to plant tulips for Zoo Blooms 2018, which takes place in March/April next year. Tasks include raking, placing bulbs in prepared holes and covering the holes up with mulch. Volunteers will not be required to lift more than 10 pounds. The OKC Zoo will provide free coffee and water. Each volunteer will receive two free tickets to the OKC Zoo to use in 2018. Volunteers are asked to bring their own garden gloves. Morning (8 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and afternoon (12 p.m. – 4 p.m.) shifts on Tuesdays and Thursdays are available from now through December 21. Register online at okczoo.org/zoo-blooms-volunteers.
Discover things you never knew about wildlife and wild places with the Zoo’s Keeper Connections. These daily presentations offer an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about your favorite Zoo animals from the people dedicated to caring for them, the keepers. Keeper Connections are held daily at posted areas throughout Zoo grounds, weather permitting, and are free with paid Zoo admission. Schedules are available in Guest Services or online at okczoo.org.
With the seasonal change, the OKC Zoo has implemented new hours for its rides and attractions. Check out the Zoo’s updated schedule, which includes the wallaby walkabout, keeper connections, Centennial Choo Choo train, giraffe feedings and more, at okczoo.org.
The Zoo is closed on Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25, but will be OPEN during normal business hours on New Year’s Day, Monday, Jan. 1.
Zoo 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 online, visit okczoo.org.