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Sip & Stroll, summer admission promotion, new Zoo attractions available, summer camps

The Shawnee News-Star
ZOO

OKC ZOO ATTRACTIONS OPEN/SUMMER SEASON SCHEDULE

Take in all the sights, sounds and unique experiences the OKC Zoo has to offer. Now open for the summer season, guests can enjoy their favorite Zoo attractions plus, a few new ones. Attraction capacity will be limited daily to allow social distancing among guests. Guests can pre-purchase tickets for all Zoo attractions when they make their online reservation at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets. OKC Zoo rides and attractions are operational weather permitting and schedules are subject to change without notice.

NEW! Flamingo Mingle: Flock to the fun and experience the excitement of feeding the Zoo’s American flamingos. Flamingo Mingle feedings occur daily, weather-permitting, in the Children’s Zoo habitat from 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m. Cost is $7 per person.

NOW AVAILABLE! Elephant Express Tram: Enjoy the view as you tour the Zoo with non-stop rides from the Entry Plaza to Sanctuary Asia! Rides offered Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All day bracelets are $6 per person. Children two and under free.

Camel Rides: Guests can add to their zooventure with a camel ride on one of two dromedary camels, Bill, Fred or Mongo. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $6 per person. Children under 6 must be accompanied by a paying adult. Other rules are posted at the habitat.

Centennial Choo Choo:  Make tracks to the choo choo! Open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per person. Children two and under free.

Endangered Species Carousel: Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $3 per person.

Explorikeet Feedings (Children’s Zoo): Flock to the fun with our colorful lorikeets! Daily feeding opportunities available Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost is $4 per person. This attraction closes for a “bird break” from 1-1:30 p.m.

Giraffe Feeding Platform: Be spotted feeding our gentle giants! Daily feeding opportunities from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m. Cost is $5 per person.

Sea Lion Presentations: “Sea” this season’s new presentation, Ocean Commotion, to connect with and learn about the Zoo’s popular pinnipeds in a fun, engaging way! Daily presentations at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Zoo’s Sea Lion Presentation Stadium. Cost is $5 per person. Children two and under are free.

Stingray Bay: Add a splash of fun to your Zoo day with a stop at Stingray Bay! Cost is $4 per person. Children two and under are free. Open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

After four decades, the OKC Zoo is phasing out the custom made $1 tokens used for popular Zoo attractions including the Centennial Choo Choo, Endangered Species Carousel and Elephant Express Tram, as they are not as commonly used as digital payments. Tokens will be accepted for the Zoo’s choo choo, carousel and tram through June 30, 2020 and will continue to be honored at all restaurants and gift shops through September 2023.  

NOW AVAILABLE: TURN OF THE SEASON, OKC ZOO KEYS ARE BACK

Sponsored by Oklahoma’s Own News9, OKC Zoo Keys is an all-new reimaging of a classic Zoo activity that began in the 1960s. Guests of all ages can unlock recorded messages from more than 20 displays throughout the Zoo. This retro attraction features information about the Zoo’s signature species and conservation efforts and spoken by some of News9’s most popular anchors and meteorologists. Each key is made from the same molds used to make keys for the OKC Zoo in the 1960s. In fact, vintage keys will also work to unlock the new conservation messages! Cost is $4 per key. Zoo Keys are available for purchase daily at the Guest Services office, stroller window (Entry Plaza) and Explorikeet habitat in the Children’s Zoo.

NOW THROUGH THURSDAY, AUGUST 13: ADVENTURE AWAITS WITH SIP & STROLL, THE OKC ZOO’S NEW, 21+ EVENING EVENT SERIES

The Oklahoma City Zoo’s new Sip & Stroll is your passport to local fun with a global twist! Join the fun every Thursday evening now through August 13, from 6 to 10 p.m., for Sip & Stroll presented by Will & Wiley Hard Seltzer, 1800 Tequila, Kraken Rum and Bubly Sparkling Water. Guests 21-and-older, limited to 900 guests per night, are invited to explore an outdoor path that spans almost the entire Zoo to discover wondrous wildlife along the way. Cool off at one of six water holes to experience featured drinks inspired by animals and habitats from around the world including Belize, Rwanda and India. Guests will also enjoy culinary favorites from Best of Oklahoma and Big Rock BBQ, as well as selections from a special outdoor grill.

Sip & Stroll admission is $17 per person and tickets are now available at okczoo.org/sipandstroll. Event entry times are spaced every 15 minutes to allow for maximum social distancing. After scheduled checked in, guests are free to stay through the duration of the event, 10 p.m. Attendees can also pre-purchase a Drink Passport at okczoo.org/sipandstroll good for one 5-oz featured drink sample at all six water holes for an additional $27 per person. Additional beverages will be available for purchase, including domestic beer, wine, mixed drinks, soda and water. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Sip & Stroll is a rain or shine event.

NOW THROUGH FRIDAY, AUGUST 14: OKC ZOO SUMMER CAMPS

Oklahoma City Zoo’s Summer Camps are in session with more fun, new programs and always, lots of animals to see! These weekly day camps connect young explorers to the Zoo’s wildlife and expert caretakers through up-close encounters with animals, themed lessons, activities, time exploring the Zoo and more. Camps are available now through Friday, August 14, 2020, for children ages 4-15. Full-day camps run Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for $275 (ZOOfriends’ members) and $300 (nonmembers). Limited half-day camps are for ages 12-15 and meet Monday–Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $145 (ZOOfriends’ members) and $160 (nonmembers).

To provide a safe Summer Camp experience for our Zoo campers, capacity is limited to 10 participants per program and extended care will not be available this season. Advance registration and payment are required. To register online or learn more about the Zoo’s Summer Camps, visit www.okczoo.org/summer-camps or call the Zoo’s education department at (405) 425-0218.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 1: OKC ZOO’S RIDE IT ALL WRISTBANDS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

Enjoy unlimited rides on the OKC Zoo’s Endangered Species Carousel, Centennial Choo Choo train and Elephant Express Tram with a Ride It All wristband. This exclusive ticket which includes general Zoo admission is now available for purchase. Daily capacity for all Zoo rides will be limited to ensure appropriate social distancing among guests. All rides will be cleaned and sanitized between each stop. The Elephant Express tram route will take guests between the Entry Plaza and Sanctuary Asia and includes a narrated tour by the Zoo’s knowledgeable and experienced drivers along the way. Due to the popularity of all rides, guests with Ride It All wristbands may experience brief lines at each attraction. Lines should dissipate quickly. 

The price for a Ride It All wristband which includes general admission is $22 for adults 12-64 and $19 for kids ages 3-11 and seniors age 65+. Guests presenting a valid military ID will receive a price of $19/person for all ages.  ZOOfriends members can purchase a RIDE IT ALL for $10/person for all ages.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 1 THROUGH FRIDAY, JULY 31: JOIN THE OKC ZOO AND TAKE THE PLASTIC FREE ECOCHALLENGE

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden wants you to kick your single-use plastic habit as part of a global Plastic Free EcoChallenge. Disposable plastic items like grocery bags, straws and bottles are creating huge ecological harm, especially in oceans and other aquatic habitats. This includes our streams, rivers and lakes in Oklahoma where plastic trash is a common sight. The challenge runs Wednesday, July 1 through Friday, July 31, and is open to the public. Participants will earn eco-points for using less plastic, recycling, switching to reusable items and for pledging to make other eco-friendly changes. Sign up to join the OKC Zoo team at https://plasticfree.ecochallenge.org/teams/oklahoma-city-zoo. Let’s make the planet a better place together!

SUNDAY, JULY 5 THROUGH MONDAY, AUGUST 31:  OKC ZOO SUMMER PROMOTION, $2 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION AFTER 2 PM!

This summer, double up on the Zoo fun! Beginning Sunday, July 5 and continuing through Monday, August 31, 2020, the Oklahoma City Zoo is offering a special summer promotion and guests will receive $2 off any regular general admission ticket purchased after 2 p.m. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Enjoy your afternoons exploring all the Zoo has to see and do! Advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members and can be purchased at www.okczoo.org/tickets. Zoo admission is limited daily to ensure adequate social distancing among guests.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 8:  OKC ZOO’S STATEWIDE LIBRARY PROGRAM, READ FOR ADVENTURE, BEGINS

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is launching its statewide literacy program, Read for Adventure, for its third year with an exciting change! Sponsored by OG&E, this year’s program features a new, original children’s book, Juniper’s Butterfly Garden, which follows a child’s journey as she learns about monarch butterflies and how she can help conserve this important pollinator. Monarch butterflies migrate annually through Oklahoma on their journey from central Mexico to southern Canada and both the OKC Zoo and OG&E are dedicated to conserving vital habitats for this native species.

The Read for Adventure program is aimed at promoting literacy statewide and invites Oklahoma library card holders to check out Juniper’s Butterfly Garden, from any participating public library location within the state, to receive a voucher redeemable for FREE general admission to the OKC Zoo for up to four people (child, adult or senior). Vouchers are redeemable through June 30, 2021. For a list of participating libraries, visit www.okczoo.org/readforadventure.

ONGOING: OKC ZOO’S WILD ENCOUNTERS

The Oklahoma City Zoo’s Wild Encounters enable wildlife fans to get up close and personal with grizzly bears, Galapagos tortoises, sea lions and Asian elephants! Wild Encounters are premium experiences that let you see some of your favorite Zoo animals in up-close ways like never before. Connect with our expert caretakers and learn about the animals they care for each and every day and the Zoo’s efforts to conserve their wild counterparts. Wild Encounters are available daily and each experience comes with a souvenir lanyard! These encounters are also ideal gifts for any occasion. There is a maximum of six people per encounter and participants must wear masks. Prices range from $40–$50 per person depending on the encounter. ZOOfriends’ members receive discount per encounter. For additional information about Wild Encounters or to make a reservation, contact Guest Services at (405) 425-0262.

ONGOING: OKC ZOO POO AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

Bring your garden to life with OKC ZOO POO, the Oklahoma City Zoo’s premium compost! Sourced from organic plant material and many of your favorite Zoo animals including the Asian elephants, Indian rhinos, giraffe and various hoofstock, OKC ZOO POO is a must have for any gardening project. OKC ZOO POO is available for purchase at the Zoo's Guest Services office, located in the Entry Plaza. Two sizes are currently available: a small bag for $3.99 and a large bag with a reusable tote bag and a packet of pollinator seeds for $14.99. To learn more, call (405) 425-0262 or visit okczoo.org.

ONGOING: OKC ZOO’S CONSERVATION WRISTBANDS

Commemorate your Oklahoma City Zoo visit with the perfect memento, a conservation wristband. These fun, brightly colored wristbands are available to purchase at the OKC Zoo’s stroller window in the Entry Plaza for $2 each, with all proceeds benefitting the Zoo’s local and global conservation efforts. Choose from 10 different animal designs including butterfly, elephant, flamingo, giraffe, gorilla, honeybee, lion, red panda, rhino and turtle.

Go wild at the Oklahoma City Zoo! The Zoo is open daily at 8 a.m. and advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.okczoo.org/tickets and are limited each day to ensure adequate social distancing between guests. Some of the Zoo’s indoor habitat are still closed to minimize potential transmission of COVID-19. The Zoo is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2020.

Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay up-to-date with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming Oklahoma Zoological Society members at ZOOfriends.org. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.