Media Contact

Candice Rennels | (405) 425-0298 |

OKC Zoo News Releases


The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden and Pepsi are excited to announce the winners of this year’s Pepsi Vending Machine Art contest. This past spring, Oklahoma students in kindergarten through grade 12 were invited to enter the annual art contest and share their creative ideas about recycling, while illustrating the positive impact recycling can have on wildlife and wild places. The contest was started in 2004, and continues to provide Oklahoma students a unique experience to raise awareness for environmental concerns and conservation by combining their passions of art and nature.

Using this year’s contest theme, Wild About Recycling, students shared their ideas about recycling for the chance to have their designs 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 theme. A total of 752 entries were submitted from students representing 31 Oklahoma cities/towns.

“This annual partnership between OKC Zoo and Pepsi is a great way to engage Oklahoma’s youths to get involved with recycling, while encouraging expression and creativity,” said Candice Rennels, OKC Zoo’s director of public relations.

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


  • Grand Prize (K-5): Andrew Lim, 5th grade, Edmond, Deer Creek 4th and 5th Center.

  • Grand Prize (6-12): Thomas Buchanan, 11th grade, Newalla, Harrah High School.

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.

  • Second Prize (K-5): John Paul M. Zenone, Kindergarten, Luther, homeschool.

  • Second Prize (6-12):  Tegan Watson, 11th grade, Fletcher, Elgin High School, Ruth Crittendon’s class.

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


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: Jaylee Soukup, 12th grade, Ardmore, Plainview High School, Greg Dudley’s class.

  • Can Do Attitude: Ashlynn Chia, 7th grade, Norman, Whittier Middle School, Cynthia Charboneau’s class.

  • Conservation Champion: Amelia Lim, 4th grade, Edmond, Deer Creek 4th and 5th Center.

  • Habitat Hero: Kenah Downing, 8th grade, Piedmont, Middle School of Piedmont, Melody Carney’s class.

  • H2O Honor: Mekko Frejo-Bobo, 5th grade, Moore, Red Oak Elementary School, Claire Henthorn-Pate’s class.

  • Nature Navigator: Claire Cobble, 3rd grade, Moore, Wayland Bonds Elementary School, Ms. Hughes’s class.

  • Green Dream: Sarah Shawver, 8th grade, Weatherford, homeschool. 

  • Rally for Recycling:  Elizabeth Tham, 6th grade, Edmond, Heartland Middle School, Sara Larsen’s class.

  • Sustainability Superstar: Brock Bailey, 12th grade, Collinsville, homeschool.

  • Wildlife Protector: Fabian Ramirez Esparza, 12th grade, Guthrie, Guthrie High School, Lindsey Baker’s class.


Contest winners will be recognized in an award presentation, hosted by the OKC Zoo and Pepsi, later this month, at which time their art designs will be debuted. 

The Oklahoma City Zoo is currently in its summer hours and open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. Purchase advance tickets at and avoid the entry lines. A summer deal just for you, the Zoo is offering free general admission for guests, weekday afternoons during August 2-6; 9-13 and 16-20. Advance reservations are required at for all guests and ZOOfriends members wanting to visit, capacity is limited to six people per reservation.

Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, 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 connected with the Zoo on FacebookTwitterInstagramTikTokLinktree and by visiting our blog stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. To learn more about Zoo happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit



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