By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The Oklahoma library program “Read for Adventure,” sponsored by the OKC Zoo and the OKC Metropolitan Library System, returns for 2019-2020, providing free admission to OKC Zoo.
The free “Read for Adventure” combines literacy, exploration and fun to create an entertaining and educational weekend or summer activity for Oklahoma families.
The community program was created to promote literacy within families, increase engagement with the outdoors and provide an outlet for helpful, nature-inspired discoveries.
To get involved, visit your local public library to check out the original children’s book, Our Day at the Zoo. Upon returning the book to the library, you will receive a voucher granting up to four guests free admission to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden.
After a successful 2017 pilot program with Metropolitan Library System, “Read for Adventure” went statewide last year, reaching all 247 public libraries in Oklahoma and resulting in 4,443 vouchers being redeemed for admission to the OKC Zoo.
With each voucher admitting up to four people, more than 17,500 Oklahomans visited the Zoo at no cost.
“Read for Adventure” redemptions came from 54 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties (70 percent). In March 2019 alone, more than 7,424 guests came to the Zoo as a result of “Read for Adventure”.
“We know that literacy is fundamental to understanding the world around us and that understanding is the critical first step toward creating positive change for the future,” said Dwight Lawson, executive director of the Oklahoma City Zoo. “As a conservation organization, the OKC Zoo is dedicated to preserving wildlife and wild places for current and future generations.”
“If half of the redemptions were for children and half for adults, that would translate to an in-kind valuation of $170,000 for the 2018-2019 term,” Lawson said.
“Read for Adventure”, is based on the book “Our Day at the Zoo” written by Kristin Williamson and illustrated by Rick George, both Metro Library staff members.
Story concepts were inspired by a field trip to the OKC Zoo by Positive Tomorrows, a school for students experiencing homelessness. The children toured the Zoo and talked about the animals they saw and what they were doing. A theme evolved from their conversations: “If I were a zoo animal, this is what I would do.”
The “Read for Adventure” program will continue through March 31, 2020. Zoo ticket vouchers are valid through March 31, 2020. To find a public library near you, click here.
Oklahomans are encouraged to go wild this summer with the “Read for Adventure” program and experience their own day at the Zoo, Lawson added.
Zoo 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 events, call 405-424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.