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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the state experienced warmer temperatures than normal, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden set a new monthly attendance record for November.

In November, the zoo recorded 68,838 total visitors of all ages between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30, 2021. The previous attendance record was set in 2019 with 44,683.

Organizers say the unseasonable temperatures and the Predator Pass habitat, which is home to male cheetah brothers and three African painted dogs, played a role in the increase.

However, they say the biggest increase is due to the OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS. So far, more than 32,000 people have experienced the zoo’s light program since Nov. 6.

“We’re thrilled by both the turnout to the OKC Zoo and the positive feedback we’re receiving from guests,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, executive director/CEO for the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. “We greatly appreciate the glowing reviews and requests that this become a continual holiday tradition for Oklahoma City.”

OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS features both a driving tour and a separate walk-thru experience. Guests drive through the park along a one-mile course to see more than 50 larger-than-life themed light sculptures. After the tour, guests can park and re-enter the zoo for the walk-thru portion.

The walking experience leads guests through the main entry plaza for an immersive light and music performance played every 15 minutes. Guests can continue to explore the Children’s Zoo transformed with more light displays, illuminated swings, interactive light displays, s’more making and access to DINO SAFARI, now lit with holiday lights. Every Thursday through Sunday from 6 to 10 p.m. until December 25, guests can participate in additional holiday activities including cookie decorating and photos with Santa Claus!    

Advance online reservations are required for OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS driving tours. No drive-up purchases will be allowed. Tickets are limited to ensure optimal guest experience. Admission for the drive-thru experience is $50/vehicle for ZOOfriends members or $60/vehicle (non-members) this fee includes up to 4 walk-thru admission tickets. Admission for the walk-thru only is $10/guest ages 3 and up for ZOOfriends members or $12/guest ages 3 and up (non-members). OKC ZOO SAFARI LIGHTS is open from 5:30 to 11 p.m. nightly including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with the last entry no later than 10:30 p.m.