Here’s some news from the Oklahoma City Zoo:
The Zoo’s Education department is offering a mother’s day out program beginning in February. The program will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nature Explorers Mother’s Day Out Program will run from Feb. 15 to May 26 and is for children ages 3 and 4. (Child must be 3 or 4 on or before September 1, 2010.)
The program will promote interaction skills, self direction, language skills, intellectual growth and environmental awareness.
For more information, including a program handbook, tuition costs and registration forms, go to http://zoofieldtrips.publishpath.com/explorers.
Toddler Programs: Come experience nature in a safe and happy environment! Your toddler will delight in our animals through crafts, activities, discovery stations, animal visitors and guided zoo excursions. Ages 2-3 and 4-5. Call for dates and times.
School’s Out Safari Day Camps: Monday, Jan. 17
Looking for a unique adventure for your children while they are home on school holidays? Join us for a day loaded with arts, crafts, games, zoo tours and animal encounters. Offers flexible drop off and pick up times.
- Meet 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Zoo’s Education Building
- Cost per child per day is $35 and each additional sibling is $25
- Require advance registration (space is limited) and payment
- Snacks provided but children must bring their own lunch
- Ages 4-12 years
Saturday, Jan. 15 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Ages 3 and up
Brr! Tired of the cold weather? Our cold-loving animal friends aren’t! Join us for a cool afternoon of animal fun that is sure to warm your heart.
Oh, Pooh Bear!
Thursday, Jan. 20 or Saturday, Jan. 22 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
It’s a Pooh party! Celebrate 84 years of this willy-nilly bear. Enjoy crafts, snacks and a meet-n-greet with Pooh’s woodland friends.
Get Ready and Draw Art Classes
Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10:30 a.m to noon
Pooper Bowl Party
Saturday, Jan. 29 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
This interactive program will give families the scoop on poop through games, crafts, stories, songs, treks and other hidden surprises.
Habitat Box Teacher Workshops: Saturday, Jan. 22 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (tundra, rainforest & grassland) and Saturday, Feb. 5 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (wetland, temperature forest and desert)
Back by popular demand! These teacher make-n-take workshops allow you to create your very own set of classroom “Habitat Boxes”. Each box includes items, artifacts and curriculum specific to each habitat. You may sign up for one or both sessions. This workshop is appropriate for formal, non-formal and homeschool educators.
Saturday, Jan. 29 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
It’s a wild, wild world! Come explore some of our wild things while earning your “Sharing Your World with Wildlife” Bear Cub Achievement! (Bear Cub Scouts: 3rd grade)
You’ve Got the Whole World in Your Hands
Saturday, Jan. 29 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Our earth is in trouble and only you can save it! Join us to learn how you can help while earning your “Your Living World” Wolf Cub Achievement! (Wolf Cub Scouts: 2nd grade)
All programs require pre-registration. Call 405.425.0218 for more information or to register.
If you’re a sort-of country dweller like me, you don’t really have a good reliable neighborhood to trick-or-treat in this year. So how do you make the most of Halloween when you can’t do the traditional door-to-door candy quest? Here are some really great (and I’ve been to most of these) activities in the metro you can do with your kids this week to get in the spooky spirit:
Haunt the Zoo: We go every year. You can’t beat the Oklahoma City Zoo for Halloween. You won’t see animals, but you will see folks standing along a pumpkin-lined path handing out some yummy treats. Neat displays are set up along the way, perfect for pictures. Haunt the Zoo is 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. starting tonight and ending Sunday. Tickets are only necessary for the kids, and they’re $7 each. Click here for more information.
Storybook Forest: Spring Creek Park at Edmond’s Arcadia Lake turns into a book of fairytales as kids can walk through a forest of stories. Characters and scenes from children’s favorite books are brought to life, along with treats, hayrides, carnival games and a campfire for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Storybook Forest is open 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. daily through Sunday. Admission is $5 per child during the week, $7 on the weekend. Adults are free. Click here for more information.
Halloween Train Ride at the Oklahoma Railway Museum is a real train ride for kids wearing their costumes. Departure times Saturday are 10 and 11 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for age 15 and older, $5 for ages 3 to 14, and kids younger than 3 are free. Click here for more information.
Haunt the Harn at the Harn Homestead. Includes trick-or-treating, hayrides and more. Event is Thursday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for nonmembers, free for members. Click here for more information.
The Metropolitan Library System also has a list of free events this week:
- Bethany Library: 10 to 10:45 a.m. on Thursday is ”Halloween Fun for Little Ones” for ages 3 to 6. From 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, it’s hosting “Spooky Spook Halloween” for grades 1 to 5.
- Capitol Hill Library: From 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday is “Halloween @ the Haunted Hill” for all ages.
- Downtown Library: From 1:30 to 5:40 p.m. Sunday is the “Classic Horror Film Marathon” for all ages.
- Ralph Ellison Library: “Pumpkin Carving for Teens” is 5 to 6 p.m. Tuesday. The library’s fall festival is noon to 4 p.m. Saturday for all ages.
- Warr Acres Library: “Dress Up Party for Preschoolers” is tonight from 6:30 to 7:30. Kids should be in costume.
Be sure to check wimgo.com for more Halloween event listings and have a great, safe week!
Education programs abound at the Oklahoma City Zoo. And as a Zoo Friends member, I enjoy as much of these with my 4-year-old as I can. It’s a great perk for members and nonmembers alike so get ready for some fall fun with the kids!
Toddler and preschooler programs include a live animal presentation, craft, story time, songs and more. Classes are 10 to 11 a.m. and cost $12 for a child with adult Zoo Friends member, or $15 for child with adult nonmember. Additional fees apply for siblings.
Age 2: Mother Goose, Sept. 2 or 4
Age 3: R is for Rhino, Aug. 19 or 21
S is for Sea Lion, Sept. 16 or 18
Ages 4-5: Flying High, Aug. 28
Billy Goats Gruff, Sept. 25
School’s Out Safari Day Camps
If you would like somewhere fun and educational your child can enjoy during fall break or other fall days off from school, the zoo has you covered. Classes are for ages 4-12 and meet from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the zoo’s Education Building. Cost per day is $30 per child, siblings $20 each. Advance registration and payment are required, and spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Snacks will be provided, but children must bring their own lunch.
Dates are: Sept. 6, 7 and 24 and Oct. 21 and 22.
An upcoming family program is “Sink Your Teeth into Sharks!” and is Aug. 28 from 2 to 3 p.m. Your family can learn all about the world of sharks. Adults are free with paid child registration. Cost per child is $15 for zoo members, $18 for nonmembers. Program is for children ages 4-12.
Have any little artists in your family? Then come join local artist Lance Kelly and learn to draw animals. Basic drawing concepts are reviewed, followed by live sketching of zoo animals. Class meets in the education building and is $20 per class for one person, $5 for each additional family member. Classes are for ages 7 and older and meet from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Class dates and animal topics are:
Sept. 25: Grizzly Bear
Oct. 23: Bison
Nov. 13, Turkey
For more information or to register for any of these programs, go to okczoo.recware.com or call 425-0218.
If you’re like me, you may be trying to find somewhere to put your preschooler this summer if their day care is closed for a week or you have a sitter going on summer vacation. Believe it or not, there are actually some pretty interesting camp options for the 3- to 4-year-old set.
Here are some of the camps being offered this summer (costs vary-click on websites or call for more information):
Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 1 – Aug. 13
Preschoolers travel through time and learn performing arts basics. Camps conclude with a performance. Other camps available for up to age 12.
Casady School Summer by the Lake, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 7 – Aug. 13
Over 100 programs are available from pre-K to high school.
Fine Arts Institute of Edmond
Dates: June 7-Aug. 13
All types of artistic camp classes for age 2 through 8th grade.
Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 7-Aug. 6
43 themed camps offered for ages 4 to 15.
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, Norman
Dates: June 7 – Aug. 6
Summer Explorers program is for ages 4 to 14.
Ginger’s Kindermusik, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 21-25 or July 19-23
Themed camps for children from birth to age 7 and piano keyboard camps for ages 7-8.
Mad Science of Central Oklahoma, various locations
Dates: June 21 – Aug. 6
Camps for kids age 4 to 12 include Secret Agent Lab, Science AdventureQuest and Little Agents Academy.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
Dates: June 1 – Aug. 6
Themed camps for ages 4 to 16 focus on permanent exhibits and special exhibits.
Heritage Hall Day Camp, Oklahoma City
Dates: June 1-July 23
Camps for ages 3 and older include enrichment, creativity, technology and sports options.
Victory School of the Arts, Warr Acres
Dates: June 21 – Aug. 7
Classes offered for age 3 and older in all types of dance, tumbling and guitar.
Unpluggits Playstudio, Edmond
Dates: June and July
Camp sessions have a superhero or dinosaur theme.
If you know of any other fun summer camps available for preschoolers, comment here or email me.
We’ve been patiently waiting for more than two years. We’ve seen the signs change … “Children’s Zoo coming in Fall of 2009.” “Children’s Zoo coming in Spring of 2010.”
Friday, March 12, that day finally came. The Oklahoma City Zoo opened their new Children’s Zoo, located on the zoo grounds.
First tip: Do not try to find an entrance near the Canopy Food Court. You will have to come all the way back to the main entrance to take the route to the right down to that area.
Second tip: When you find yourself just inside the Children’s Zoo, be sure to duck down before entering the tunnels. They are made for the kiddos, so don’t hit your head. There are some neat things to check out in the tunnels. Bugs, scorpions, other creepy-crawlies, so don’t miss them. When you come out on the other side, there is a big slide for the kids and a path to come up to everything else.
The best part: the Barnyard. Although you only get to really pet the donkeys the zoo staff brings out, seeing the other animals up close is fun for the kids. Children get to brush the donkeys outside of the barn and go inside to see the bunnies, goats, sheep and hogs. If your children are really small, you may have to lift them up to get a good look at the animals.
A really neat exhibit is Explorikeet Adventure. You enter in a little area where lorikeets are flying around, landing on your arm, your head, everywhere. My son, who is 3, was a little scared but thought it was hilarious when I bent down to talk to him and all of sudden I had a bird on my head and one on my back.
Third tip: Don’t stand directly under the lorikeet tree. They tend to poop … a lot. And they’re not looking at where it’s going to land.
All in all, the new Children’s Zoo is a lot of fun, especially for younger kids. They’ll have a blast, guaranteed.
And while you’re at the zoo, be sure to check out the very cute, 2-month-old baby giraffe.
For more information, go to www.okczoo.com.
The time around the holidays is when the Oklahoma City offers some of its most fun things to do. Don’t let the cold scare you away … you’ll enjoy great events, specials and you won’t be fighting the crowds.
Here are some upcoming events at the zoo:
Nov. 25 – Free day. No admission fee! Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 27 – Feast for the Beasts. Some animals will be feasting on traditional Thanksgiving dishes from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
December through February – Free zoo admission every Monday!
Dec. 1 – 24 – Deck the Zoo. Bring and edible wildlife ornament and get admission to the zoo for only $1!
Dec. 5, 12 and 19 – Cupcakes with Santa. Kids can decorate their own holiday cupcake. They’ll create some unique holiday crafts and end the day with a visit from Santa himself. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Cost for children age 3 and older is $20 for ZooFriends members, $22 for nonmembers. Adults are free with a paid child. Pre-registration is required and must be made one week prior to the event. Register online at http://okczoo.recware.com or call 425-0218.
Dec. 5 – Wreath making class. Everything to make a holiday wreath will be provided. Cost is $20 for ZooFriends members, $25 for nonmembers and the class is for age 16 and older. Register at the same site or phone number listed above.
Dec. 7 – Coffee Connections. This is a new, FREE program for ages 16 and older from 9 to 10 a.m. Meet at the Rosser Conservation Education Center to learn about the zoo and its happenings while sipping a cup of joe.
Dec. 14 – Santa is stopping by the zoo to delivery goodies to the animals from 10 to 11 a.m. Guests in the Canopy Restaurant can enjoy free hot chocolate and doughnuts and get pictures with Santa. Activity is free, no reservations are required.
Dec. 29, 30 – Winter day camps are available for ages 4-11. They are from 9 a.m. to noon and cost $20 for ZooFriends members, $25 for nonmembers. Snacks will be provided, but bring a lunch. Advance registration and payment are required. Enroll at http://okczoo.recware.com or call 425-0218.
For more information about upcoming zoo events, go to www.okczoo.com.
It was the weekend we have been patiently waiting for … the opening of the exhibit “Dinosaurs Unearthed” at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
Saturday morning, my son had a toddler class at the zoo and even though temps were in the 30s, we still made the trek down to see the dinos after his class. He hesitated to go in at first, hearing the growling of these massive beasts from outside the exhibit tent. But after a little coaxing, he walked in, astonished at what greeted him.
The exhibit has huge, seemingly life-size dinos, skeletons, bones and even a sand pit for the kids to play in, to find dino footprints. All the favorites were featured – the triceratops, stegosaurus and of course, the T-Rex. They were animatronic models (think Jurassic Park) and some could even be controlled by the kids.
If I had to sum up this exhibit in one word, it would be AMAZING. I highly recommend a visit to the zoo to see these dinos. The exhibit is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily and runs through June 30. It is free with paid zoo admission. I’m sure we’ll be spending many weekends among the dinosaurs between now and the end of the June.
For more information about the exhibit and other events at the zoo, go to www.okczoo.com.
Here’s just a taste of what you can see at the exhibit:
My son’s birthday isn’t until April but I already feel behind the 8-ball on planning it. I know, I know … it isn’t like it’s a wedding, needing months of preparation. But I get anxious that my favorite venues will be booked and I’ll be left entertaining 15 toddlers and their parents in a 2-bedroom apartment. So I thought if there were other parents like me, they may find a ‘guide’ useful for everything from picking a place to party favors.
First up – picking a venue. I’ve been doing a bit of research on some neat places in the metro-area that parents can have great birthday parties for young kids. Here are a few:
1. The zoo. The Oklahoma City Zoo has indoor and outdoor facilities that can be reserved for parties and other functions. There are classrooms in the Education Center, an area in the Canopy Restaurant and outdoor picnic tables. If your child has a birthday in a warmer weather month, this is a great place to go. Kids can see the animals as a group and take rides on the train and tram. For more information go to www.okczoo.com and click on “Facility Rental.”
2. Indoor play gyms. We picked Gymboree last year and it was a blast. The staff basically does all the entertaining and toddlers have a great time participating in games and indoor gym equipment. And the best part? No cleanup. The kids get to eat their cake on the floor while sitting on a big parachute. Another place that offers indoor climbing fun is The Little Gym and for inflatable fun, try Pump it Up or Bouncin’ Craze.
3. The classic pizza-and-game spots. Who could forget Chuck E. Cheese? I remember spending a few great birthday parties there. And there are a few in the metro-area offering food, games and more. Although I think these may be more suitable for kids age 5 and older, anyone can have fun here. Another is Incredible Pizza on Northwest Expressway. They have a big buffet and different-themed eating rooms. They also have bowling, miniature golf and go-karts in addition to the many arcade games. Celebration Station and Andy Alligator’s also have indoor/outdoor fun and games, for older toddlers/kids.
4. Trains. Kids love trains. Just ask my son. There are a couple of really neat venues that offer real train rides as part of the party fun. The Oklahoma Railway Museum is open for parties from April to October. They have two packages – one with and one without a train ride (but really, what’s the fun without a ride?) And for the party, they can either seat kids in the waiting room at the depot or in a 1921 caboose. Also, just east of the metro-area, is L.O.C.O. which is a Locomotive Operators of Central Oklahoma. They operate miniature trains that kids can ride on at their park. They also give free rides the first Sunday of every month from 1-4 p.m. if you want to check them out.
5. Parks. There are a number of metro-area parks that have picnic facilities and playground equipment. Some in the summer have splash pads so kids can wear their swimsuits and stay cool. It’s an inexpensive fun alternative to other venues, and it keeps the mess out of your house. For a list of city parks and their amenities, go to http://www.okc.gov/Parks/. You’ll also find out about programs and other opportunities for fun they offer.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. As I come across more between now and April, I’ll be posting them on this blog. And if you have any birthday party suggestions, please let me know! I’d love to list them so other parents can have it as a resource. Comment below or email me.
Those of us celebrating this fun holiday with a toddler, may be thinking “My child is too young for trick-or-treating, but I can’t let the day go by without some festivities to create that picture perfect moment of my little one in full costume.”
Here are some ideas that might be a bit more toddler-friendly than trick-or-treating.
Have a get together at your house. This works especially if you have other friends with toddlers. They can have food and games just for them.
Go to the zoo. The Oklahoma City Zoo sponsors “Haunt the Zoo” every year, and we go … every year. You won’t see the exhibits, but you’ll meet alot of friendly zoo employees who will be giving out all kinds of goodies. They also provide plenty of picture opportunities. Go to www.okczoo.com for more information.
Festivals. There are plenty around the metro. It seems that every church, YMCA and other community center is hosting a fall festival or carnival. Take advantage of these, as many are free and they’re a fun, safe alternative to trick-or-treating.
Hand out candy. Dress your toddler up in their costume and let them pass out candy to visiting trick-or-treaters. Chances are, they’ll just love the opportunity to show off their costume to neighbors. And you’ll get to watch Halloween specials on TV.
And if you do decide to brave the neighborhood for goodies, just be sure to follow the basic rules of trick-or-treating:
-Wear light-colored clothing and/or reflective tape on costumes. Don’t cross streets between parked cars.
-Go in a group, and while it is still light out. Use flashlights if it’s dark. Don’t go to any house that has the lights turned off.
-Inspect all candy carefully and discard anything that has a torn or missing wrapper or could have been tampered with in any way.
If you have any more good safety tips or suggestions for Halloween, post them here or email email@example.com and I’ll post them for you.