Media Contact

Candice Rennels | (405) 425-0298 |

OKC Zoo News Releases


The Oklahoma City Zoo and Pepsi are excited to announce the winners of this year’s annual Pepsi Vending Machine Art Contest. This spring, Oklahoma students in kindergarten through 12th grade were invited to enter the annual art contest and share compelling ideas about recycling, while illustrating how doing so supports healthy habitats for all living things. Since its inception in 2004, this contest continues to provide a unique and engaging opportunity for Oklahoma’s students to raise awareness for environmental concerns and conservation by combining their passions of art and nature.

Incorporating this year’s contest theme, RECYCLING: Make It Second Nature, students shared their ideas to promote recycling for the chance to have their original design featured on a Pepsi vending machine for an entire year at the OKC Zoo, and win additional prizes from OKC Outlets and the Zoo. Contest designs were judged on creativity, originality, meeting art specifications and relevance to the contest theme. A total of 507 entries were submitted from students representing 35 Oklahoma cities/towns. Students were able to submit their entries through their school, homeschool, civic group or on their own.

“Like the OKC Zoo, Pepsi is committed to conservation education and encouraging Oklahoma’s youth to take a personal interest in environmental concerns like recycling and realize that their ideas and actions can have a direct impact on helping protect wildlife and wild places,” said Candice Rennels, OKC Zoo director of public relations.

The OKC Zoo is dedicated to the preservation of wildlife and their natural habitats through local and global conservation partnerships, education, awareness, research and in-park initiatives, such as recycling. Zoo guests can help make a difference by recycling plastic water bottles, soda cans, bringing their own reusable water bottle, following the recycling signs and packing snacks that have minimal plastic.


Both Grand Prize recipients will receive a $300 gift card from an OKC Outlet store and a certificate. Their winning artwork will be the cover design on a Pepsi vending machine located in the Zoo’s entry plaza for a year.

     Grand Prize (K-5): Tate Clawson, 2nd grade, Stilwell, Dahlonegah Elementary School, Levita Unger’s class.

     Grand Prize (6-12): Madeline Kendall, 10th grade, Blanchard, homeschool.

Both Second Prize recipients will receive a ZOOfriends membership and a certificate. Their designs will be on display at the OKC Zoo.

    Second Prize (K-5): Violet Kendall, 3rd grade, Blanchard, homeschool.

    Second Prize (6-12): Joscelyn Williams, 6th grade, Edmond, homeschool.

Zoo Director’s Top Honor Roll Awards

Honor Roll recipients will receive a certificate and their designs will be on display at the OKC Zoo.

     AZA Choice: Fabian Ramirez, 11th grade, Guthrie, Guthrie High School, Lindsey Baker’s class.

     Can-Do Attitude: Emery Cannon, 3rd grade, Elk City, Cheyenne Elementary School, Leigh Ann King’s class.

     Conservation Champion: Payton Coats, 11th grade, Yukon, Yukon High School

     Earth Day Hero: Brock Bailey, 11th grade, Collinsville, homeschool

     H2O Honor: Meredith Simmons, 5th grade, Edmond, Deer Creek Intermediate School, Bonnie Gull’s class.

     Nature Navigator: Phoenix Garner, 8th grade, Yukon, Yukon Middle School, Emily Meek’s class

     Party for the Planet™:  Juniper Jennings, Kindergarten, Norman, Terra Verde Elementary School, Julie Eberle’s class

     Rally for Recycling:  Clairen Casey, 2nd grade, Edmond, Deer Creek Prairie Vale Elementary School, Denise Austin’s class

     Sustainability Superstar: Danielle Burrows, 10th grade, Blanchard, Blanchard High School, Barbara Menefee’s class

     Wildlife Protector: Makenna Schlotthauer, 12th grade, Purcell, Purcell High School

This year’s contest winners will be recognized in a virtual award presentation, hosted by the OKC Zoo and Pepsi, later this month.

Beat the summer heat and enjoy an early morning visit to the Oklahoma City Zoo now open at 8 a.m. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is open daily and advance tickets are required for all guests and ZOOfriends members wanting to visit. Tickets can be purchased at and are limited each day to ensure adequate social distancing between guests. The Zoo is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. now through Labor Day, Monday, September 7, 2020.

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 up-to-date with the Zoo on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming Oklahoma Zoological Society members at To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit


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