By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – With the winter season approaching, the Oklahoma City Zoo has a lot going on during November and December this year.
The Zoo’s monthly Toddler Education program offers kids the opportunity to learn about animals through crafts, activities, discovery stations and more. November’s program, Pokey Porcupines will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8 and 15.
The Zoo will offer toddler Sneaky Snakes programs on Thursday, Dec. 13 and 20. Both Pokey Porcupines and Sneaky Snakes events will be held from 10 – 11 a.m. at the OKC Zoo’s Rosser Conservation Education Center. Pre-registration and pre-payment for each event is required. For more details, call 405-425-0218.
In recognition of Veterans Day, Sunday, Nov. 11, the Oklahoma City Zoo will offer free admission to all active duty, active reserves and retirees. Military ID or proof of service is required. Regular zoo hours apply.
The OKC Zoo is partnering with the American Red Cross to host two blood drives on Saturday, Nov. 24 and Saturday, Dec. 22. Oklahomans will have the opportunity to donate blood and receive two Zoo vouchers. Each voucher is good for one free admission ticket (adult, child or senior) to the Zoo.
The blood drives will be held in the Zoo’s education center, at the east end of the parking lot from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To learn more, visit redcrossblood.org.
From now through Dec. 31, you can save $10 with the purchase or renewal of a ZOOfriends membership. Memberships provide unlimited admission to the OKC Zoo for an entire year as well as many other benefits. Membership proceeds go to support the Zoo, its animals and conservation efforts. Memberships can be purchased online.
During the month of November, join the OKC Zoo’s Give for Gorillas Cellphone Challenge by donating used cellphones and old electronics to support gorilla conservation efforts. Small electronics frequently contain coltan, the mining of which threatens gorillas and many other endangered species’ habitats. Items accepted include smartphones, cell phones, handheld gaming systems, tablets, iPods and iPads plus any chargers or accessories that come with these devices.
Items not accepted include laptops, portable CD players and digital cameras. All proceeds from the Eco-Cell Phone Recycling Program directly benefits the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, one of the OKC Zoo’s global conservation partners.
All donating participants will be entered to win prizes such as a ZOOfriends family membership or animal created art. Entry forms are located in the Guest Services office where devices may be dropped off during regular business hours. Visit the website for more information.
In November and December, the OKC Zoo’s education team is offering a number of Boy and Girl Scout programs for young explorers and nature enthusiasts of all ages.
Recently, one of the OKC Zoo animal ambassadors ransacked one of the Zoo’s classrooms looking for their favorite snacks. On Friday, Nov. 16, a Boy Scout “Zoo Done It?!” overnight event will allow kids to use their investigative skills to learn about animals, meet the suspects, and collect evidence to figure out ‘who done it.’ Boy Scouts can solve the case starting at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, Dec. 15, the Girl Scout “Zoo Done It?!” event will take place at 7 p.m. This overnight adventure will help satisfy requirements for “Detective” Badge for Juniors and “Special Agent” Badge for Cadettes. All levels are welcome.
Both Boys and Girls Scout events cost: $35/Scout, $20/Adult. Evening snack and light breakfast will be provided, and zoo admission included. Pre-registration and pre-payment for each event is required. To learn more, call 405-425-0218 or visit okczoo.org. Register online at okczoo.org/boy-scouts and okczoo.org/girl-scouts.
The OKC Zoo has now implemented new hours for its rides and attractions for the winter months. Check out the Zoo’s updated schedule, which includes the keeper connections, giraffe feedings and more, at okczoo.org.
Nov. 19 through 21, the OKC Zoo’s School’s Out Day Camps, for children ages 4–11, will focus on connecting kids with and caring for wildlife. Snacks are provided, but campers must bring their lunch. Advanced registration and payment required. All campers are required to bring a copy of their immunizations. Camps run 8:30 – 5:15 p.m. Drop-off is at the OKC Zoo’s Rosser Conservation Education Center from 8:20 – 8:30 a.m. Cost per child, per day is $40 for members and $45 for non-members.
December Day Camps will be offered Thursday, Dec. 20; Friday, Dec. 21; Thursday, Dec. 27; and Friday, Dec. 28. For more information, call at 405-425-0218.
On Cyber Monday, Nov. 26, ZOOfriends will offer special savings on new purchases or renewals of OKC Zoo memberships. For this one day only, Nov. 26, those purchasing or renewing receive an extra month of membership FREE. This discount only applies to memberships purchased online at zoofriends.org.
On Friday, Dec. 7, Santa Claus will be delivering enrichment presents to his wildlife friends at the OKC Zoo from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Some of the Zoo’s animals will receive animal approved presents plus tasty treats including popcorn balls and animal-friendly holiday cookies. Bring your camera, because after Santa makes his deliveries he will be available in the Lotus Pavilion for guests to photograph.
From now through Dec. 31, share your love of wildlife with everyone on your Christmas list with a gift of an animal adoption. This year, guests can choose between four iconic species from the Zoo’s newly opened Sanctuary Asia habitat: Indian rhino, Asian elephant, red panda or Komodo dragon.
With each $45 donation, recipients get a plush toy, an adoption certificate, animal fact sheet, name recognition on ZOOfriends’ website. Net proceeds from each animal adoption benefit The Oklahoma Zoological Society, which helps to provide funding for OKC Zoo animals’ daily care needs and enrichment items.
To adopt an animal, call 405-425-0618, or visit the ZOOfriends’ membership office located in the Zoo’s Global Plaza, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Daily Keeper Connections allow guests to meet Zoo caretakers and learn more about their favorite animals. The Zoo’s caretakers are everyday conservationists dedicated to protecting and preserving our planet’s wildlife and wild places. They have a wealth of information to share about the Zoo’s amazing animals. Keeper Connection signs are posted throughout the Zoo.
Schedules are available on the zoo map and online. Zoo admission required.
The Zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 22 and Christmas Day, Dec. 25.
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, visit okczoo.org.