By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Come celebrate your love for all things wild this February with OKC Zoo animals. ZOOfriends memberships provide free admission to the OKC Zoo all year plus additional perks and discounts. Memberships start at $35, which support the care of the Zoo’s animals, fund education programming and conservation initiatives and supports the overall expansion and growth of the Zoo. Purchase online at zoofriends.org or contact the ZOOfriends office at 405-425-0618 for more information.
Make a wild impression on your Valentine with an original OKC Zoo Animal Painting. As part of the Zoo’s enrichment program, elephants, sea lions, gorillas, and snakes paint with assistance from their caregivers to create the perfect Valentine gift. Paintings can be selected at Zoo Guest Services Office, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proceeds go to support the Zoo’s conservation projects. For more information, call 405-425-0262
Purchase a special Valentine gift for all animal lovers through a Zoo Animal Adoption. This symbolic gift supports the health, enrichment and nutritional needs of all animals at the OKC Zoo. With each $45 donation, recipients receive their choice of a plush rhino, tiger or gorilla, adoption certificate, a fact sheet about their adopted animal and name recognition on the ZOOfriends’ website for one year. Adoptions can be purchased in the ZOOfriends’ membership office or call 405-425-0618.
The OKC Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop offers a wild selection of children’s books and toys, green or recycled gifts and home décor. Many items available for purchase support local and global conservation. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
On Friday, Feb. 2, OKC Zoo official Groundhog Day ambassadors, grizzly brother Will and Wiley will make their animal prediction about the changing seasons. Free with admission, activities will begin at 10 a.m. in the Big Rivers building in the Zoo’s Oklahoma Trails. Guests will enjoy free hot chocolate and treats while supplies last. For more details, call 405-425-0262.
Join the OKC Zoo on Friday, February 9 for a special Valentine’s Day Enrichment event as select Zoo animals receive special enrichment treats made with love by their caretakers. The party takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free with Zoo admission. The day’s enrichment schedule will be available on your zoo map.
During February the Zoo will offer two School’s Out Day Camps on Friday, Feb. 9 and Monday, Feb. 19. These camps include wild adventures for children ages 4–11. Snacks are provided, but campers must bring their lunch. Advanced registration and payment required. All campers must bring a copy of their immunizations. Half-day camps run 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Full-day camps run 8:30 a.m. to 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.
On Saturday, Feb. 10, during the Family Education Program – We Heart ❤ Animals, visitors can create Valentine’s gifts for the OKC Zoo’s animals and loved ones from 10–11:30 a.m. in the Zoo’s Rosser Conservation Education Center. All ages welcome. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Possible allergen alert. Cost per child is $12 (member) and $15 (non-member).
Thursday, Feb. 15 through Saturday, March 31, the OKC Zoo and Dr. Pepper will host the annual Vending Machine Art Contest themed, “2018 is the Year of the Bird: Celebrate our World’s Winged Wonders.” All K-12 Oklahoma students are eligible to win prizes and the chance to have their original art displayed on a Dr Pepper vending machine at the Zoo. Participation is free and submissions must be postmarked by March 31. For more details, call Candice Rennels at 405-425-0298.
The OKC Zoo and Botanical Garden will host its inaugural Great Backyard Bird Count on Saturday, Feb. 17 and Monday, Feb. 19. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., both days, this global citizen science project invites guests to count native birds and help create a real-time look at wild bird populations. Activities include an on-grounds bird scavenger safari. All ages are welcome. All activities are free with Zoo admission.
Bring the entire family to experience the Three Bears Family Overnight Program on Friday, February 23, from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. Guests will enjoy a guided night tour and evening snack, along with creating a bear craft. Bring bedding that is “just right” for sleeping in the Big Rivers building — next to the bear exhibit. The morning will includes a light breakfast. Ages: 4 and up (parent must accompany child). Cost: $35/child, $20/adult. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular 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.
To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.