Beyond the front gates of the Oklahoma City Zoo is a wild oasis complete with fun, adventure and educational experiences you’ll never forget. Here, we valuephotography as an essential piece of what helps us tell the Zoo story. Photographygrants us the ability to document our legacy of amazing milestones and breathtaking moments throughout Zoo history.
Investing the Time
Thanks to our many gracious photography volunteers, we are able to share the Zoo with Zoo fans every day on our various social media platforms. Their passion for wildlife is an inspiring trait, which can be experienced by those who glance at the special moments they capture while visiting the Zoo—often for long periods of time.
Gillian Lang is one of the Zoo’s long-time volunteer photographers. Lang began taking photos of our animals in 2006, shortly after she moved from New Hampshire to Oklahoma. Lang found herself taking photos to pass the time and became hooked. She visited the Zoo often and remembers her 6-year-old son, Cameron, who is now a 16-year old Junior Curator at the Zoo, using the animal exhibit signs to practice his reading skills while she honed her photography skills.
Sharing the Story
Lang’s eye for photography is a true gift, and her willingness to share the photos with the Zoo is an absolute treasure to our Zoo staff and fans. “I enjoy sharing these photos with people who also love our Zoo but especially the keepers who work hard to take care of the animals and don't always get to see what is going on in their part of the Zoo. I love spending time connecting with the animals. Sometimes they are watching me as much as I am watching them.”
Lang’s love for photography has resulted in a gallery of approximately 250,000 photos of the Zoo’s animals and plants over the course of 11 years. She has gotten to know the names and nature of our animals by heart and has developed a deep passion for animal conservation. Cameron and daughter Hannah have become equally as passionate about wildlife conservation.
Capturing the Memories
Because of the many volunteers and staff members, like Lang, who donate their time to help us capture memorable Zoo moments, we can continue connecting our guests and fans to our animals even after Zoo hours and in between visits. Other notable volunteer photographers include Lena Kofoed, Andrea Wright, Steve Jones, Brooklyn Murphy and the Zoo’s own Director of Veterinary Services Dr. Jennifer D’Agostino. She recently displayed some of her photos for purchase in the Zoo’s Guest Services’ office and donated all proceeds to the Oklahoma City Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers.
Thank you to all of our volunteer photographers for continuing to encourage and inspire thousands of Zoo guests to care for, connect with and conserve the wild animals of our world. Keep on clicking!
If you are an aspiring wildlife photographer or simply have a passion for animals, the Zoo is an excellent place to practice your skills. We will gladly share any submitted photos with attached photo credit on our social media accounts. If you would like to submit a photo taken during a Zoo visit, please e-mail email@example.com. We also encourage our guests to share photos of their experiences at the Zoo on social media using hashtag #FanimalFriday for a chance to be featured on our Instagram and Facebook pages.
– Sabrina Clinkenbeard, Zoo social media coordinator