OKC Zoo plans events for World Turtle Day

OKC Zoo
Sunday in World Turtle Day.  This is Max at the OKC Zoo.
Sunday is World Turtle Day.

Join the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden and Bob Moore Subaru on World Turtle Day®, Sunday, May 23, in shellebration of our planet’s shelled species.

World Turtle Day activities will take place near the Zoo’s Herpetarium and Wetlands Walkway habitat from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Event goers will enjoy a special scavenger safari for kids, bio-facts, animal ambassadors and photo opportunities, hosted by Bob Moore Subaru. Watch as caretakers provide the Zoo’s Galapagos tortoises with special enrichment treats at 10:30 a.m. at the tortoise habitat located inside the Children’s Zoo. The Zoo will also be sharing live “turtle talks” on Facebook at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. These talks, led by the Zoo’s expert caretakers, will highlight the diverse population of turtles and tortoises that call the Zoo home, as well as focus on what the Zoo is doing to contribute to the conservation of these beloved creatures and their habitat both locally and globally.

The American Tortoise Rescue created and established World Turtle Day in 2000 to increase global awareness and respect for one of the world’s oldest creatures, and to highlight the importance of protecting their native habitats. These iconic animals have roamed Earth for 200 million years, but sadly, global turtle and tortoise populations are rapidly declining due to threats from the exotic pet trade, overharvesting for food and habitat destruction. The OKC Zoo is home to 30 vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered species of turtles. The Zoo recently welcomed 11 young alligator snapping turtles to their temporary home in the Zoo’s Underground habitat, located inside the Children’s Zoo. Hatched at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, the turtles are a part of their head start program to raise, rear and introduce alligator snapping turtles back into their native habitat in Oklahoma.

Kids 11 and under will have tons of fun as they participate in the World Turtle Day scavenger safari, looking for and learning about the turtles and tortoises found in the Zoo’s Wetlands Walkway habitat located near the Herpetarium. Scavenger safari cards will be available from Zoo team members at the event information table. Kids can turn in completed cards for a prize.

Turtle and tortoise lovers will have the opportunity to purchase a turtle conservation wristband during the event. These turtley awesome wristbands will be available for purchase at the event site. Cost is $2 per wristband with all proceeds supporting the Zoo’s conservation initiatives. 

The OKC Zoo is a proud conservation partner of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) and actively supports the organization’s goal of zero turtle extinctions. With projects in turtle hotspots around the world, including Belize, Madagascar, India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar, the TSA is a recognized force for turtle conservation globally. Efforts are specific to the area, the local issues, and the turtle species. TSA has also established the Turtle Survival Center, a large breeding center in South Carolina. The center is home to hundreds of turtles representing 30 of the world’s most critically endangered species.

End your World Turtle Day experience on a high note, attend the OKCPHIL’s special performance of “Peter and the Wolf and More” at The Zoo Amphitheater. The E.L. and Thelma Gaylord Discovery Concert is back for the first time this season with a wild twist. Conductor Mathew Troy, the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Phil the Penguin will welcome families Sunday, May 23, to The Zoo Amphitheater for a 2 p.m. performance of “Peter and the Wolf and More!” This one-hour performance, will include a special visit from the Zoo’s animal ambassador, Zeppy, a Salmon-crested cockatoo, and special guests “Professor Matt” and “Gerty” from Lyric Theater Kids’ Clubhouse. Admission is $5/person, with FREE admission for children 5 and under! Plus, you can bring in food, drink and picnic lunches for this special performance. Lawn chairs and blankets are also allowed. Reserved tickets are limited and available for purchase at okcphil.org/zoo on a first-come, first-served basis.

Scute to the Zoo for World Turtle Day! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Purchase advance tickets at www.okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. 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 connected with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.