by Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The OKC Zoo has a schedule of family fun activities planned for the 2019 summer season. The season will offer taxpayer appreciation day, summer camps, concerts, animal conservation events and more.
On Sunday, July 14, the OKC Zoo will host World Chimp Day, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., sponsored by Bob Moore Subaru. World Chimp Day is a global celebration to raise awareness and generate support for chimpanzees, which are listed as endangered in the wild. The OKC Zoo is home to seven chimps, each with their own individual personalities and attitudes. World Chimp Day activities are free with regular Zoo admission and include an information station with bio-facts, activities for kids, photo booth and a special chimp enrichment activity around 1:30 p.m.
The OKC Zoo will host an American Red Cross Blood Drive at Rosser Conservation Education Center on Saturday, July 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those who donate will receive a large bag of OKC Zoo Poo compost, plus one voucher good for one free admission ticket (adult, child or senior) to the Zoo. For more details about donating blood and the requirements to give, visit redcrossblood.org.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Oklahoma Forestry Services will celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday on Friday, July 26, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., in the Big Rivers Habitat building. The event will include firefighters, fire prevention information, and fun Smokey giveaways – featuring Smokey himself. Participants can take a selfie with Smokey Bear and learn about how “Only you can prevent wildfires”. Smokey Bear’s birthday party activities are free with regular admission.
On Saturday, July 27, the Zoo will hold its 24th annual conservation fundraiser, Bowling for Rhinos (BFR) event from 6 – 9 p.m., at Oklahoma City’s Heritage Lanes, 11917 N. Pennsylvania Avenue to help save wild rhinoceros populations. Registration begins at 5 p.m. All proceeds from the event benefit rhino conservation in Asia and Africa. Individual tickets include shoe rental, three games of bowling, food, a T-shirt and door prize opportunities. Teams are also welcome to participate. Spectator tickets will include a T-shirt and door prize opportunities only. For event details, visit the Zoo’s Facebook page.
The 2019 Zoo Amphitheater concert schedule will feature the following performances: Sunday, July 28, Alice Cooper/Halestorm; Thursday, August 1, Bush/Live; and on Friday, August 23, Casey Donahew. To learn more about concert listings or for ticket information, visit thezooamphitheatre.com.
Celebrate International Cat Day at the OKC Zoo on Thursday, August 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. sponsored locally by Bob Moore Subaru. The event will raise awareness about the vulnerable and critically endangered cat species. International Cat Day activities are free with regular Zoo admission.
On Monday, August 12, World Elephant Day, hosted by Bob Moore Subaru, will support Asian and African elephants which are facing numerous threats in the wild. A day of fun and educational activities is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Information displays, conservation education games, crafts and other activities will be on-site at the OKC Zoo’s elephant habitat. World Elephant Day activities are free with regular Zoo admission.
The Oklahoma Zoological Society (ZOOfriends) is currently accepting submissions for its annual Capture the Wild photo contest. Click here to submit your best OKC Zoo photo for a chance to win great prizes. Entries accepted until July 31.
Submissions are now open for the fourth annual Summer Savings Adventure Sweepstakes sponsored by the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP) and the Oklahoma City Zoo. One Oklahoma child will win $5,529 toward an OCSP college savings account. Participation is open to parents, grandparents or legal guardians who are at least 21 and have a child or grandchild who is an Oklahoma resident 16 or younger. The winner will be randomly selected and announced after the sweepstakes concludes on Wednesday, July 31. Additional sweepstakes details are available at ok4saving.org/SSA.
From now through Friday, August 9, young explorers ages 4 – 15, can attend the Zoo’s week-long summer Day Camps. These weekly themed camps focus on all things zoo-related from animal training to veterinary care. Campers will enjoy activities such as exploring the Zoo, exhibit tours, animal visits, keeper chats, water play, and Zoo rides and attractions. Daily snacks are provided. Full-day camps run Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $275 (ZOOfriends’ members) and $300 (nonmembers). Half-day camps for ages 4-5 (only) meet Monday–Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $145 (ZOOfriends’ members) and $160 (nonmembers). Space is limited and early enrollment is suggested. To register online, visit www.okczoo.org/camps.
The OKC Zoo’s Summer Education Programs offer a way for wildlife fans of all ages to feel connected to the Zoo’s animals through entertaining, educational experiences. Pre-registration is required in advance of program date.
Parents and their little ones will enjoy learning about Zoo animals through lessons, crafts, discovery stations, and/or guided Zoo tours through Toddle Cub Clubs, available from 10 – 11 a.m. Ages 2-5 years welcome. Cost per child/adult pair is $12 (member) and $15 (non-member). For more information, click here.
On Friday, August 9, from 7 p.m. to Saturday at 9 a.m., the Family Zoo’d Overnight will feature competition in a series of animal challenges while exploring biodiversity at the Rosser Conservation Education Center. An evening snack and light breakfast will be provided, and Zoo admission included. Ages 18 and up. Cost: $35/adult.
On Monday, August 12 through Friday, August 15, the OKC Zoo’s School’s Out Day Camp offers a variety of activities including Zoo tours, up-close animal visits, crafts and games. Snacks are provided, but campers must bring their lunch. Ages 4-11 welcome. Advanced registration and payment required. All campers are required to bring a copy of their immunizations. Camp runs 8:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m. Drop-off at Education Center from 8-8:30 a.m. Cost per child per day is $40 (ZOOfriends members) or $45 (non-members).
New this year, the OKC Zoo will feature the Binocular Borrow program presented by Dean McGee Eye Institute. Guests will have the opportunity to borrow a pair branded binoculars during their visit at no cost. To participate, guests will bring a valid photo ID to the Zoo’s guest services office in the entry plaza and complete a quick information form. Your photo ID will be returned when the binoculars are brought back to the office. One valid photo ID is required for each pair of binoculars. Participation is free with Zoo admission.
Also presented by Dean McGee Eye Institute, Eye Spy Safari is a great way for young zoo fans to learn about the OKC Zoo’s animals and the challenges threatening their wild counterparts. Participants can locate all seven Eye Spy stations in the Zoo, and scratch off their card to reveal the secret word. Completed cards can be returned to the Zoo’s Safari Gift Shop for a prize. Eye Spy Safari cards are available at the Zoo’s Guest Services and ZOOfriends’ offices. Participation is free with Zoo admission.
OKC Zoo offers daily opportunities for guests to engage with its animal keepers called “Ask A Keeper”. These free, informal chats allow guests to ask questions about the Zoo’s wildlife and their counterparts in nature from the experts themselves. Zoo animal keepers are everyday heroes dedicated to protecting and conserving our world’s wildlife and wild places. “Ask A Keeper” signage will be posted on the Zoo grounds.
OKC Zoo guests can experience a Camel Ride on one of three dromedary camels, Fred, Bill or Mongo. The $6 tickets to ride may be purchased on-site at the camel ride area. Rides will take place daily from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (weather permitting) and children under 6 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Camel rides are not included in the Zoo-It-All or Ride-It-All packages.
The Oklahoma City Zoo Wild Encounters allow guests to see some of their favorite Zoo animals up-close by following expert animal keepers backstage to learn more about the animal’s individual personality and story. Wild Encounters are available daily and each experience comes with a souvenir lanyard. Participants must be 6 years of age or older. Prices range from $41–$79 per person depending on the encounter. ZOOfriends’ members receive $11 discount per encounter. Contact Guest Services at 405-425-0262 for reservations.
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 happenings, call 405-424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.