By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – Spring has officially arrived at the OKC Zoo bringing a variety of things to do and see.
“Zoo Blooms” is the first official gardening event, running from April 1-30. Guests will enjoy seeing the ‘waves of blossoms from the 105,000 tulip and daffodil bulbs, planted throughout the Zoo.
“We’ve strategically planted thousands of bulbs in specific color combinations and patterns to complement the Zoo’s landscape and amaze our guests,” said Barry Downer, Zoo deputy director/COO. While some tulips may only bloom for three weeks, bulbs were selected to ensure new blooms will appear every week in waves of new colors from now through May.”
This month, the Zoo is partnering with Cirque du Soleil, which is bringing its newest show “OVO” to Oklahoma City April 6 – 9 at Chesapeake Arena. A special free OVO bug themed acrobatic performance will be held on Wednesday, April 5, at 11 a.m. in the Zoo’s Global Plaza. During this event, ZOOfriends’ members can receive $10 off select tickets for the performances at Chesapeake Arena.
All Zoo rides and attractions are now operational weather permitting, including the ever-popular Centennial Choo Choo, which runs daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per person. Children two and under free.
Visit the Children’s Barn for a free outdoor, tactile experience with rare animal species, including miniature donkeys, Nigerian dwarf goats, Tunis sheep, rare rabbits and chickens. Open daily, weather permitting, from 9 – 4:30 p.m.
Elephant Express offers daily rides from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with stops at four Zoo locations. All day bracelets are $6 per person. Children two and under free. The Endangered Species Carousel is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per person.
The Giraffe Feeding Platform is open daily from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per person. The Noble Aquatic Center “Aquaticus” will offer Sea Lion shows daily at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Cost is $4 per person. Children two and under are free.
Touch and feed a Stingray at the Zoo’s Stingray Bay. Cost is $3 per person with paid Zoo admission. Children two and under are free. Stingray Feedings are an additional $3 fee at 10 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. Open daily.
Zoo ambassadors will take guests on a guided, one-hour walking tour of Zoo animals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. $4 adult; $2 child. Tours can be purchased on day of visit with regular admission. Limit is 15 guests per tour.
One of the Zoo’s newest arrivals is the Wallabies. Related to kangaroos, guests of all ages can explore the wallabies’ walk-through habitat daily from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Free with Zoo admission.
Check out Wild Encounters, the Zoo’s behind-the-scenes experiences with grizzly bears, flamingos, sea lions, Galapagos tortoises, Asian elephants and rhinos. The visit is up close and personal. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Additional fees range from $35 – $45 for members and $40 – $50 for nonmembers. Call 405-425-0262 for reservations.
The Nature Explorers Preschool will begin open enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year on April 14. Open houses will be held on Thursday, April 6, from 6:30 – 8 p.m. and Saturday, April 8, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Education Center. Call Jordan Long at 405-425-0218 for details.
Experience the Zoo’s Easter Enrichment Day on Thursday, April 13, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. when select Zoo animals explore special Easter treats made by their caretakers. For more information, call 405-425-0262.
Also on April 13, Toddler Cub Clubs will be held from 10 -11 a.m. where kids, ages 2 -5 can learn about Zoo animals through lessons, crafts, discovery stations, and/or guided Zoo tours. Cost per child/adult pair is $12 (member) and $15 (non-member). To learn more, call 405-425-0218.
A Paw-Jama Party animal-themed family evening will be held on Friday, April 14, beginning at 6 p.m. Meet a different animal each session. For more information, call 405-425-0218.
Celebrate Earth day on Saturday, April 22 with the Zoo’s “Party for the Planet” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Activities include live entertainment, free Keeper Connections and an adventure safari for children 11 and under. The Zoo and Dr Pepper will announce the winners of this year’s Dr Pepper Vending Machine Art Contest at 2 p.m. For more details call 405-425-0262.
The Zoo’s Horticulture team will host two, free Earth Day Garden Tours featuring the Water Conservation Garden on April 22 at 10 a.m. and 1p.m. Meet in the Global Plaza near the Guest Services office.
On Saturday, April 29, learn about plants and wildlife, while earning a Nature and Wildlife Badge. Tenderhearts meet from 10 a.m. – noon and Explorers meet from 2 – 4 p.m. Cost for participants is $12, non-participating siblings $5, adults $1 children (ages 4 and up). For more details, call 405-425-0218.
To learn more about these and other happenings, call 405-424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.