The Wilder The Better: Zoo Animal Painting Techniques

Giraffes, gorillas, sea lions, stingrays, red river hogs, bears, tigers and more! The Zoo’s Art Gone Wild animal art show features original art pieces painted by a variety of animal ambassadors during voluntary enrichment sessions that address an animal's social, psychological and physical needs.

Have you ever wondered what techniques our featured animal artists use to get artsy at the Zoo? Here at the wildest place in Oklahoma City, our animals create artwork with a wild style to benefit the Zoo’s conservation efforts! Some animal artists use traditional paint brushes while others choose untraditional techniques and paint with their flippers, trunks, paws, tails and even noses!

CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS: The Zoo’s California sea lions use their noses and traditional paintbrushes to paint with the help of their trainers during enrichment sessions.

When painting with paintbrushes, our sea lions hold a brush loosely in their mouths and move their heads from side-to-side to create brush strokes on canvases in front of them!

Using their wet noses, our sea lions gently press their faces onto small canvases and the result are heart-shaped kisses from our sea lions to you!

GREAT APES: As part of their enrichment program, orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas are encouraged to exhibit creativity by engaging themselves in finger-painting activities.

COUGARS, TIGERS AND BEARS:  The Zoo’s clan of carnivores paint on flat canvases using their paws and claws! Visitors of Art Gone Wild have noticed hair and paw prints on our carnivores’ paintings! We say, the wilder the better!

BIRDS: Our Salmon-crested cockatoo is a painting mastermind. Zeppy has the talent of Vincent van Gogh and his beak doesn’t prevent him from enjoying this enriching activity. In fact, Zeppy will hold the paintbrush with his beak while painting his unique works of art. Seriously, he’s like Picasso with a beak.

The Zoo's Art Gone Wild exhibition gives guests the opportunity to view and purchase these masterpieces, with all net proceeds benefiting one of the Zoo’s local conservation initiatives.

The Zoo has partnered with Myriad Botanical Gardens for its seventh annual Art Gone Wild animal art show. The art exhibition has been on display since August 1 and was originally scheduled to end on August 31. However, because of the positive responses from guests, Myriad Gardens requested for the Zoo to extend the exhibit for a second time! The Zoo’s animal art show will now continue until October 20 in the Crystal Bridge, south lobby. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

– Candice Rennels, marketing and public relations manager


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