OKC Zoo's Grossology program offers kids viscous adventures 

Grossology participants enjoy hands-on activities like getting dirty with worms, meeting the zoo’s animal ambassadors and more. | Photo OKC Zoo / provided
  • Grossology participants enjoy hands-on activities like getting dirty with worms, meeting the zoo’s animal ambassadors and more. | Photo OKC Zoo / provided

Families can ewwww and ahh while they learn about lizards, rabbits, hippos and more at Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden’s animal-related Grossology program 10-11 a.m. Saturday in Rosser Conservation Education Center, 2000 Remington Place.

Zoo animals present a variety of opportunities for families to learn about unique ways animals evolve and adapt to survive in their environments, said zoo education director Rachael Robinson.

“Owls eat a bunch of crazy things, but they can’t digest bones,” Robinson said. “They produce owl pellets in their gizzards, and then they regurgitate them. We’re going to dissect the owl pellets and look through them to learn about the animal.”

The pellets contain materials like skulls, teeth, claws and feathers that could damage an owl’s digestive track. Robinson said rabbits also eat some of their own poop, called cecotropia or night feces.

Grossology features hands-on projects for children like creating their own versions of mammalian and reptilian emanations.

“We also plan to create some slime,” Robinson said. “Hippos create a pink ooze that protects them from bacteria and sun damage both in and outside of the water. The horned lizard can also shoot blood out of its eye to distract predators that has a weird taste that they don’t like.”

Examining adaptive traits like these help children connect with and learn about animals and conservation.

“This is science we’re talking about, but we’re using a different take on it to get families interested,” Robinson said. “Kids love the sense of humor involved … and adults will see the excitement and passion that children have for animals.”

Grossology registration is $12-$15 and open to children ages 4 and older.

More to experience

Afterward, guests are encouraged to head into the zoo and explore.

“There are a lot of new and exciting things to see and experience this spring,” said Candice Rennels, zoo marketing and public relations manager. “We now have some new residents, three wallabies, who are featured in a new habitat in the Children’s Zoo.”

Three more of the kangaroo-like marsupials will join the wallabies later this summer, Rennels said. They have been out of the zoo’s collection since 2001.

“They’re a very energetic species, and they’ll hop up and say hello to you,” she added.

She said the zoo now has giraffe feedings and several baby and young animals, including Achara the two-year old elephant, Ketara the male giraffe (born in December) and a sea lion named Phoenix who turns 1 in June.

Visit okczoo.org or call 405-424-3344.


Grossology

10-11 a.m. Saturday

Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden | 2000 Remington Place

okczoo.org

405-424-3344

$12-$15


Upcoming events

April 1: The Zoo’s a Garden Too, 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

April 4: Read Across Oklahoma, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

April 7: First Friday Garden Tour, 10 a.m.

April 8: Building a Butterfly Garden, 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

April 14: Paw-jama Party, 6 p.m.

April 20: EdZOOcation LIVE! Series, Flower Power, 2-3 p.m.

April 22: Earth Day & Party for the Planet, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

April 22: Garden Tour of Water Conservation Garden, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.


Print headline: Ewww-some fun, Oklahoma City Zoological Park and Botanical Garden’s Grossology program offers kids viscous adventures

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