HALLOWEEN Zoo spooks 

Oklahoma City Zoo’s annual Haunt the Zoo event welcomes trick-or-treaters of all ages.

click to enlarge OKLAHOMA CITY ZOOLOGICAL PARK AND BOTANIC GARDEN / PROVIDED
  • Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanic Garden / provided

At the end of October, Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanic Garden, 2101 NE 50th St., becomes a spooky haunt and opens its doors to ghouls both in costume and out, inviting them to trick-or-treat on their Haunt the Zoo trail.

The event, held on the last two weekends of the month (Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28), has long been a local favorite and is now in its 35th year. 

Candice Rennels, the zoo’s director of public relations, said it is the longest-running trick-or-treat event in the state. The zoo expects up to 25,000 attendees over the haunt’s four days. 

“Haunt the Zoo is just a magical time,” Rennels said. 

OKLAHOMA CITY ZOOLOGICAL PARK AND BOTANIC GARDEN / PROVIDED
  • Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanic Garden / provided

Two years ago, guests and zoo employees alike realized that a night event made it difficult to see the zoo’s animals. As a result, the festivities were moved to the daytime and now take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so visitors can go at their own pace, enjoy the outdoors and experience all the zoo has to offer.

“The beauty of daytime Haunt the Zoo is that you have the whole zoo,” Rennels said. “You can take your time, and you can go out to Sanctuary Asia, see the new baby elephant, see everything that’s new there and then pick up where [you] left off trick-or-treating.”

Guests must purchase tickets for zoo entry. Trick-or-treat bags can be purchased at ticket windows on any Haunt the Zoo day. Bags are $7 for nonmembers and $6 for Oklahoma Zoological Society (ZOOfriends) members. There is no age limit.

The zoo is also offering all-inclusive Boo-It-All wristbands that cover admissions, trick-or-treat bags and rides on the zoo’s train and carousel. 

Now in its 35th year, Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanic Garden’s Haunt the Zoo attracts thousands of children and their parents. - OKLAHOMA CITY ZOOLOGICAL PARK AND BOTANIC GARDEN / PROVIDED
  • Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanic Garden / provided
  • Now in its 35th year, Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanic Garden’s Haunt the Zoo attracts thousands of children and their parents.

The Haunt the Zoo trail begins at the front entrance of the zoo and loops through many of the exhibits. Twenty-eight themed booths line the route. Booth themes this year include superheroes, sweet treats, bugs, snakes and bats, along with Halloween-appropriate stops for ghosts and mad scientists. 

In addition, this year the zoo is offering its first Haunt the Zoo: All Grown Up. Held Friday at the zoo picnic grounds, this will be an adults-only party (age 21 and up) with drinks, dancing, games and food trucks such as El Taco Box and Mutts Amazing Hot Dogs and Burgers.

Rennels said this event is made for the guests who grew up with Haunt the Zoo and now want to continue celebrating Halloween at the zoo as adults, reconnecting them with those beloved childhood memories. 

The All Grown Up party will start at 7 p.m. and run until midnight. Games will include traditional carnival-style activities like a ring-toss, mystery wall and fishing booth. 

Tickets to the All Grown Up party are $24 and can be purchased on the Oklahoma City Zoo website. The zoo expects to host up to 1,500 guests. 

Haunt the Zoo is sponsored by Bob Moore Subaru, while All Grown Up is presented by COOP Ale Works. Haunt the Zoo is a rain-or-shine event. 

Visit okczoo.org.

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