Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden
Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden Logo (2002-present)
|Date opened||1902 (Wheeler Park Zoo)|
1920 (as Lincoln Park Zoo)
|Location||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Land area||119 acres (48 ha)|
|No. of animals||1,900 |
|No. of species||512 |
|Annual visitors||1,046,000 |
The zoo covers 119 acres (48 ha) and is home to more than 1,900 animals. It is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The Oklahoma City Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums.
- Expedition Asia (9.5 acres or 3.8 hectares): an Asian-themed section; which, right now, is home to the zoo's herd of Asian elephants. The elephant habitat is located in the southeast area of the zoo by Great EscApe, the state-of-the-art exhibit includes three spacious outdoor yards, pools, a waterfall, shade structures and barn with amenities including views into the barn from a raised boardwalk.
- The Children's Zoo: a place where children can explore and play, while connecting with nature and animals. Featuring flamingos, goats, monkeys, a play stream, and lorikeets.
- Great EscAPE (6 acres or 2.4 hectares): includes two troops of gorillas, one family of orangutans, and a community of chimpanzees, in tropical rainforest plantings.
- Cat Forest/Lion Overlook (4.2 acres or 1.7 hectares): contains species of big and small cats including African lions, tigers, and snow leopards, with more than 4,000 plants replicating native environments.
- Oklahoma Trails: Its total area is 7.7 acres or 3.1 hectares featuring animals native to Oklahoma, including black bears, alligators, bison, beavers, and over two dozen snakes. It includes a walk-in bird exhibit and a barn, which houses bats, skunks, and owls.
- Aquaticus: more than 1,500 aquatic creatures, including California sea lions and coral.
- Butterfly Garden (21,000 square feet or 2,000 square metres): this lush outdoor garden area has a range of butterflies, including the monarch butterfly, the painted lady, the giant swallowtail, and the eastern black swallowtail, within an environment of more than 15,000 plants.
- Island Life: representative species from around the world including Galápagos tortoises, Caribbean flamingos, Abaco Island boas, San Esteban Island chuckwalla lizards, as well as a herpetarium with over 80 exhibits.
Other attractions within the zoo include Safari Voyage boats, the giraffe feeding platform, the Safari Tram, the Endangered Species Carousel, the Sea Lion Show, the Centennial Choo Choo, the Jungle Gym Playground and swan paddleboats.
Surrounding the zoo are the Zoo Amphitheater, Lincoln Park, Northeast Lake and the Lincoln Park Golf Course. The zoo is located Oklahoma City's Adventure District at the crossroads of I-35 and I-44. Other attractions in the Adventure District are the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly called the Omniplex), the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame, and Remington Park Racing/Casino.
- Dolphinarium: The zoo kept bottlenose dolphins from 1986 until 2001. To prevent further dolphin deaths, the dolphins were returned to Mississippi, and the exhibit now hosts sea lions.
- Monkey Island: Located at the entrance, monkeys would play, eat, and even sleep on a specially made island that was dug down into the ground. Opened in 1935 and dismantled in 1998. The decision was made to get rid of it because zoo visitors would either drop or throw hazardous materials on to the island, and the monkeys would choke. The island was closed and filled in. Today, there is a plaza at the entrance, with a gift shop, a restaurant, and the ZooFriends' office surround a floor where monkey island once was. From 1935-1985, there was a ship on the island.
- Primate House: Built in the 1950s. The apes were kept there until 1993. In 1993, the apes were given a more natural habitat. The building was torn down and the Canopy Food Court was built in its place.
Malee was an Asian elephant born April 15, 2011, weighing 300 pounds, the child of one of the Oklahoma City Zoo's elephants, Asha, and a male elephant named Sneezy who lives at the Tulsa Zoo. The Zoo held birthday parties for her every year. On September 30, 2015, zookeepers noticed discoloration of her trunk. After two failed treatments, she died at 4 AM CST on October 1, 2015. The cause of death was determined to be elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus, which the other elephants at the zoo aside from her sister Achara also had.
- Stephens 2006, pp. 9
- Stephens 2006, pp. 37
- "Currently Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "List of Accredited Museums" (PDF). aam-us.org. American Alliance of Museums. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013.
- "Great EscApe". okczoo.com. Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "Cat Forest/Lion Overlook". okczoo.com. Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "Oklahoma Trails". okczoo.com. Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "Noble Aquatic Center: Aquaticus". okczoo.com. Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "Butterfly Garden". okczoo.com. Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "Island Life". okczoo.com. Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Retrieved 7 January 2010.
- "Malee's 1st Birthday Bash at the OKC Zoo" (Press release). OKC Zoo. April 6, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- "OKC Zoo planning second Birthday Bash" (Press release). OKC Zoo. April 8, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
- Patterson, Matt (October 1, 2015). "Virus eyed in death of Malee, zoo's 4-year-old elephant". The Oklahoman. Archived from the original on April 23, 2016. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- Amy Dee Stephens (2006). Oklahoma City Zoo: 1902-1959. Charleston, S.C: Arcadia. ISBN 0-7385-4049-8.